ShopSmart magazine sent secret shoppers to check prices at Office Depot, Staples, Target, and Walmart. And the bargains weren't always where you'd expect. You might think an office-supply store is the best place to go, but often it wasn't. In fact, Staples and Office Depot tied for the highest prices on most items.
Store-brand, two-pocket folders at Staples cost a $1.01, compared with Walmart's 48 cents.
How about notebooks? Mead, Five-Star, one-subject notebooks at Staples go for $6.02, but Walmart has them for $2.76.
And notebook paper? Norcom brand packages of 150 sheets at Office Depot were $3.01. At Walmart, you'll pay just 82 cents.
In fact, Walmart had the least-expensive prices on the most items?and in many cases, Target was right behind them.
ShopSmart says as a general rule look for store brands. They can save you almost 75 percent. ShopSmart also suggests asking for a price match if you see a better deal somewhere else. Office Depot, Staples, Target, and Walmart all have price-matching policies. Just bring an ad to the store from your local paper, or call it up on your smart phone to get the better price.