Money Saving Tips and Tricks for Teachers

People like to save money whenever and wherever they can.  Teachers especially like to save money where they can.  Am I right?

I'm teaming up with the Weekend Warriors to share some teacher-y money saving tips and tricks.

Let's get started!

Don't be afraid to ask for the things you need.  Before school starts think of the supplies that will get you through the year and ask parents to donate them. I usually make my needs known at our back to school event.  I tend to ask for things like dry erase markers (for the students), paper plates, paper bags, etc. 

I also ask for things as I need them.  Think about those times when your glue stick supply has dwindled down to nothing, and your students' pencils are about two inches tall.  When this happens, I use my weekly classroom newsletter to ask parents to send in what they can.

And, I usually ask families to send in specific items for special projects, like our apple investigation and applesauce activities in September. The cost for apples by the pound adds quickly, so I ask each family to send in two apples. 

I realize that not everyone has the option of asking families to donate items, and I can respect that. But, on the flip side, this is an option for some.  I happen to teach in a school where asking for these types of things is typically not an issue or a burden.  When I ask (and I don't ask all the time), it is with a hopeful heart, and not an expectant one.  I am grateful for whatever is sent in and I always take the time to express my gratitude. :)

Do it yourself.  A little DIY can go a long way!  Maybe your students have personal whiteboards and whiteboard markers, but no eraser. If purchasing erasers isn't in your budget, then create one yourself!  You could glue a pom pom to the end of the marker or buy a few pieces of felt from the craft store and cut it up into smaller pieces.

I recently found myself in need of a new place value pocket chart.  The ones I found were about $12-17 and there weren't any styles that matched my classroom.  I like my stuff to match. #sorrynotsorry So, I made my own!

To make my own, I bought three little pails from the dollar section at Target and a pack of coffee stirrers at Walmart. I used a chalkboard marker (which I already had) to label the buckets and tied some zebra ribbon to the handles (had that too). Total cost: $5.

I'm going to place a small piece of dry erase sentence strip above each bucket on the calendar so we can write how many hundreds, tens, and ones the buckets hold.

Use Goodwill, donations, and Scholastic points to build a classroom library.
  • When I first started teaching, I had no classroom library and I didn't have any Scholastic points.  And, I really didn't want to start my first year of teaching without any books for my students to read.  So, my mom and I hit up a local thrift store and I scored!  I didn't spend a lot, and I managed to start my first year off with a fully stocked library! In fact, most of those books are still a part of my library.
  • Also, ask families to send in books they might not be using any more. I did this one year, and was able to add a lot of great books to my library!  
  • And, of course, once you accrue those Scholastic points, use them!  I've added many books to my collection over the years.  

Stop collecting things (translation: Stop buying things you don't need). 
How many times have you been at the store and thought, "Ooo, that's too good of a deal to pass up.  I'm sure I can use this (insert name of whatever spectacular, special, unique, cute thing you've found) somehow." 

Chances are if you can't think of a significant purpose for something on the spot, you won't use it and you don't need it. 

Shop Smarter!
Enroll in rewards programs at your favorite stores. Even if they aren't your favorite store, but you shop there a lot, take advantage of their programs.  Walmart has a great rewards program.  It's called the Savings Catcher program.  Each time you shop, you scan your receipt using the Walmart app. It will compare the prices you paid to area competitors.  If lower prices are found, you get a refund (the price difference) in the form of Walmart gift card money!  I let my savings stockpile and use them to make my back to school purchases in the fall. 

Michaels, Starbucks, and many other major retailers have rewards programs.  Be sure to take advantage!

Now, go out and start saving yourself some money!  ;)

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  1. Love your little place value buckets and I am with you with asking parents with a hopeful heart! I have taught in every SES and there are always parents who want to help. If it is an option not a requirement that leaves the door wide open! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Yes, I work at a school where the majority of the population is low SES. Parents are ALWAYS eager to send things. Parties, experiments... they want to contribute. Great tips!

    The Super Sparkly Teacher


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