Some U.S. retail stores say they are noticing a bump in the number of Canadian licence plates in their parking lots, as Canadian parents seek out back-to-school bargains, but are the best deals always outside Canada?

CBC News did some cross-border shopping this week, and found that not all school supplies were cheaper south of the border.

After visiting a Target store in the U.S., as well as Target stores in Coquitlam and in Vancouver, a Wal-Mart and a Staples store, a small sampling of similar products showed that while there might be significant savings by shopping in the U.S., it might not be enough to justify the time and cost of getting there.

Product / Store      Target U.S. Target Canada Wal-Mart Staples
HB pencils, 8-pack 57 cents 99 cents 10 cents* 33 cents*
Binder, 2.5 cm $1.74 $1.00 $2.00 $2.36
Crayola coloured pencils, 12-pack $0.99 $4.29 $3.00** $3.96
Basic calculator $1.00 $4.99 $3.98 $2.98
Scientific calculator $12.99 $13.99 $4.00 $7.96
Source: Prices observed by CBC News on Aug. 20, 2013
With files from the CBC's Negar Mojtahedi