Teachers are spending way too much on their own classrooms in order to get students to supplies and educational experience they need. It’s a problem that needs to be fixed, but until then, teachers are left with few other options. However, there are a few handy tips you can use as a teacher to make sure every child in your class gets a top-notch education despite some struggles with funding. Here are some of the top ways for teachers to save money on school supplies.
Most teachers see their lesson plans for the upcoming school year with a bit of excitement and dread at the same time. That’s because while the lessons are fun, it’s no fun to lack the supplies you need to complete them. But before you panic and run to the store, take inventory of absolutely everything you have. Think of all the spare pens and pencils you have lying around at home and in your classroom. What about markers? Crayons? Glue sticks? Notebooks?
All these items add up quickly at the store, so every penny you can save by reusing an item you already have is totally worth it. Show your students that it’s okay to utilize used or imperfect supplies in an effort to achieve their goals.
Use Social Media
Guess who else has a lot of spare supplies lying around? Just about everyone you know. Many people end up tossing out notebooks, colored pencils and other supplies just because they no longer have any use for them and don’t know where to take them to donate.
Become your friends’ donation center by asking on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or other social media sites you use if anyone has spare supplies they’d like to donate. You can maybe even scrounge up some great books for your students to read or other fun supplies that will make your classroom more dynamic without blowing your budget. Ask around, and offer to pick up items from people who live nearby. The easier you make for them to donate, the more likely they’ll be to give.
Sign Up for Sale Alerts
Teachers know that back-to-school sales are great for grabbing supplies at good deals. But it’s also smart to sign up for sale alerts from some of your favorite stores. Whether it’s Target, Walmart, Office Max, Staples or a combination of a bunch of local businesses, it’s smart to find out when the big sales are happening so you can stock up. And don’t forget to think outside the box by including places like Toys R Us (which offers some great sales on art supplies a couple times a year) and craft stores like Hobby Lobby or Michael’s.
If you pay attention to when your must-have items go on sale, it’s must easier to add a few extra supplies to your class without having to overspend on your already limited salary. Be smart and stack coupons, watch for free shipping and know what the base price is for these items so you can recognize a good sale when it’s happening.
Go to Garage Sales
People are always looking to get rid of their old junk. But what may be trash to them could be a treasure to you. While thrift stores don’t usually carry a lot of school supplies in their stock, garage sales are another story. Many people find these types of “odds and ends” and will set them out at garage sales for deeply discounted prices – or sometimes even for free! You may be able to snatch up tons of supplies while only spending a few dollars if you hit the right sale at the right time.
And if someone doesn’t have many school supplies out at their garage sale but they look like they have lots lying around (AKA people with kids), it doesn’t do any harm to ask them. Just say you’d be willing to buy some unused notebooks, pens, pencils, art supplies, etc. off them if they have anything they want to get rid of. Most people who are hosting garage sales are deep into “purge mode” at their house and desperately want to declutter, so if they have it, they will probably be happy to sell it to you.
Make a Wish List
Finally, don’t forget about teacher wish lists. They are lots of great websites online that allow you to create special wish lists for your classroom. Share these sites with other teachers, parents, friends and family – many people would love to help out a little but don’t know how, and these lists make it easy for them to contribute. Some popular options include Amazon.com wish lists and AdoptAClassroom.org.
Use these tips to make sure your students have an amazing school year with all the supplies they need.