While many teachers have basic budgets and students are asked to bring items like notebooks, pencils and tissues to school, it’s still common for teachers to spend some of their own cash on classroom supplies. In fact, NPR’s education team reported teachers are spending more than $250 a year on things like supplies, organizational items and classroom décor. Some teachers even reported spending as much as $1,000 a year.
If you’re a teacher gearing up to stock your classroom and don't want to overspend, here are some of the best ways to do that.
1. See what you already have
The best way for anyone to save money is to not buy things they don’t need, right? So, before you head to the store to stock up on essentials, check old totes, storage closets and your classroom for unused supplies or items you could reuse. Each item you don’t have to buy will add up to big savings.
2. Get those freebies
There are plenty of free things you can get for education purposes. In fact, you can read about some of the most notable back-to-school freebies for families and teachers here.
3. Shop sales
There are plenty of back-to-school ads showing up with your newspaper or available online. A little research can get you to the right retailer for your needs, whether you're looking for markers, crayons, rulers or other major school supplies.
4. Sign up for emails
Some retailers may offer deals exclusively for people who sign up for their weekly newsletter.
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5. Price match when you can
Some stores “price match” sales prices from their competitors. Just bring the sale ads along as you shop. This strategy takes some additional effort and organization, but it will keep you from driving to several different stores, saving you on expensive gas, too.
6. Wait for clearance
School supplies go on sale right before the school year starts, but they also drop again once classes are in session. If you can wait on some of the supplies you need, you can easily find back-to-school basics and classroom décor at clearance prices. The deals usually get better the longer you wait, so it can pay to wait to stock up on items you don't need right away.
7. Make a wish list
Think of this as a back-to-school registry. This wish list allows others to see what you need in case they want to donate. By using a tool like Amazon Wish List or Teacher Wish List, you can update your classroom needs throughout the year, too. Creating a list like this will not only help you keep track of what you need, but it can help prevent you from ending up with 100 packs of crayons and no pencils.
Trying to figure out other ways to save money so you can get your students what they need? Here are 25 ways you can start saving money right now.