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Teachers’ Guide to Back-to-School Savings

Thursday, August 11, 2016 -- McKenna Wierman

Did you know that the average teacher spends $400 to $500 or more out of their own pocket on classroom supplies throughout the school year? Many educators go above and beyond for their students, but we understand that funds can get tight when trying to get your classroom ready for the new school year. Check out these simple tips and tricks that will help you save some cash as you embark on your back-to-school shopping spree!

For your Classroom:

  • Look for inspiration online

Nearly every household object can be repurposed or crafted into something totally different with a few hot glue sticks and some burlap. Turning paint chips into login cards for computer stations, making glue mess-free with sponges, or reusing old hand soap bottles as paint dispensers—the possibilities are endless. And thanks to the marvelous Internet machine, chances are someone has already figured out a cheap and easy way to make the classroom hacks you’re envisioning come to life and posted the instructions online in detail…for free! All you’ll really need to do it is gather your supplies and go.

  • Shop around

Don’t feel compelled to do all of your shopping at once. Back-to-school sales start around mid-summer and many retailers will try and suck you in by offering a great discount on one item in hopes that you’ll take care of all your shopping in one trip—but in reality, this will hardly save you any money. Instead, buy the items on your list as you see them go on sale. If you need help staying organized, there are plenty of back-to-school shopping apps to help you keep track of what you need and what you have, so you don’t end up buying the same thing twice. Websites such as coupons.com are also full of back-to-school saving coupons and sale announcements.

  • Go in with your friends

Another great way to save for those die-hard penny pinchers is to buy in bulk. You’ll always save in the long run by buying in bulk, and if you and your fellow teachers split your finds, you can end up saving a lot more (because honestly, were you ever going to use 200 glue sticks before they all dry out?) Try teaming up and buying with teachers of the same grade-level—sharing supplies could also help with coordinating lessons and class projects. Check out Blu School Supplies or Amazon for great bulk options and share the savings!

For your Closet:

  • Get thrifty

Secondhand stores are a great way to pick up a few closet staples without having to spend an arm and a leg. If you aren’t sure where to start looking, do a quick search of the thrift and consignment stores in your area with the help of thethriftshopper.com. Believe it or not, some thrift stores even have their own back-to-school sales and events. That being said, make sure you cull through your own closet before heading off to the consignment store—it will give you a better idea of what kind of clothes fit you, what you like to wear versus what you like to imagine you would wear, and if your wardrobe is lacking in anything. Keep in mind, though—buying clothes at a thrift store is a learned skill, and it’s not always going to be a fruitful trip. Don’t feel compelled to buy anything just because you need clothes and you’re at the store. If you don’t love it, you won’t wear it.

  • Go in for the sales

Ah, the seasonal sale. These babies are always your best friend when it gets down to the wire. Nearly every store has one, you just have to know when to strike. Some stores will have better “end of summer sales” while others will focus more on back-to-school savings, so head towards the one that suits your needs best. It would also be wise to look up if your state has a tax-free weekend, what items will be included and when it is. Finally, keep an eye on ads in your local paper, sign up for email updates from your preferred stores, and follow them on social media to hear about sales first.

For Anything and Everything:

  • Take advantage of teacher discounts

Hey there shooting star, someone has noticed how hard you’ve been working to keep that classroom in order. Turns out there are more than a few companies and businesses that offer an educator’s discount. By showing off that school I.D. a little more you could be earning discounts on books, clothes, storage containers, lunch or even a new car. Check out Brad’s Deals for discounts organized by category, My Education Discount for deals organized alphabetically, and United Federation of Teachers for even more!

We know how hard educators work to give their students the best classroom experience possible, and we want to help! Register for our Back-to-School giveaway for your chance to win one of two $300 Amazon gift cards to get your school or classroom set up for a great school year!