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WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- The start of school brings the excitement of shopping for supplies.

"I like folders so much because they could store lots of things," says Genna.

Justin says, "My favorite part about shopping for notebooks is picking through all the colors I can buy."

So, where can you find the best prices.

"Stores lure you in with great deals, like pencils for a penny. But, you have to be careful or you could wind up paying too much for the other items on your lists," says ShopSmart's Jody Rohlena.

ShopSmart magazine sent out secret shoppers to check for the best everyday deals and prices at Office Depot, Staples, Target and Walmart.

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," Rohlena says.

In fact, Staples and Office Depot tied for the highest prices on most items.

Staples' two-pocket folders cost $1.01 compared to Walmart's 48 cents.

Mead's 5-Star one-subject notebooks at Staples go for $6.02. Walmart has them for $2.76.

And Norcom brand loose leaf paper packs of 150 sheets at Office Depot were $3.01, at Walmart you'll pay just 28 cents.

Jody Rohlena says, "Walmart had the least expensive prices on the most items. And, in many cases, Target was right behind them."

ShopSmartsays a general rule is to look for store brands. They can save you nearly 75 percent.

Also, always ask 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 the add from your local paper or call it up on your smartphone to the better price.

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