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From hitting the library to employee discounts, we outline steps to save money on classroom supplies. Every year, teachers spend their own money to provide a better education for their students. The average teacher spends $500, but often the cost can stretch into the thousands.To help with this exp

Sep 01, 2016

From hitting the library to employee discounts, we outline steps to save money on classroom supplies.


Every year, teachers spend their own money to provide a better education for their students. The average teacher spends $500, but often the cost can stretch into the thousands.

To help with this expense, we’ve put together a list of tips for saving money. If you have any tactics we missed, let us know in the comments!

1. Shop at Garage Sales.

This can be a great place to purchase old books and other supplies. You may even find cheap backpacks if you’re the type of teacher who buys items for students who can’t afford them.

2. Price Match Items on Sale.

Let’s say you find a sale on notebooks at Walmart, but they happen to be out of stock because the prices were insanely awesome. You missed out, right? Not quite.

There are many stores that will price match items, even if they are out of stock. You simply need to supply proof of the price. Some stores that have great price-match policies include Staples, Best Buy, Office Depot, and Target.

3. Get Free Shipping and Cash Back from Staples.

Staples has an excellent reward program for teachers that includes 5 percent cash back on everything, 10 percent back on teaching and art supplies, and free shipping for online purchases. If you combine this with tip No. 2, you can save even more!

4. Use Social Media to Your Advantage.

It never hurts to ask your friends on social media for extra goods. Believe us, people want to lend a helping hand to teachers — whether they’re fellow teachers with a surplus of supplies or a parent willing to double down on notebooks.

Finally, join neighborhood and city groups on Facebook. Post there with a request for any lightly used materials that you need and you will find people who are inclined to give.

5. Find Deals on Craigslist.

Craigslist is a great place for buying items for a fraction of the price. Some people may even be willing to give you books or materials if you explain why you need the items.

6. Check Out Your Local Library.

Head to your local library if you need to build your classroom’s little library. In fact, if you talk with a librarian, they might give you books they’re getting rid of. If you build a relationship, you might be their go-to person for used books.

Even if you can’t get them for free, some libraries sell old books for pennies on the dollar. For example, the Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix has a location in the front called “Friends of the Phoenix Public Library” where they sell used books for far below their original value.

7. Get an Employee Discount.

Unfortunately, between 15 and 20 percent of Arizona educators hold second jobs in addition to teaching. However, if you are considering a second job or summer employment, you may want to think about finding a position at a company that sells school supplies, books, or craft materials. The employee discount could be a big bonus! For example, Walmart and Target both offer 10 percent off everything in the store and Michael’s offers 30 percent off your purchase… meaning big savings. Not ready to make a commitment to a second job? No worries. Many stores offer an educator’s discount — whether continually or on special days — so be sure to scope those out when you have big purchases to make!

The beginning of the school year can feel hectic. Use these three time-saving tips to make your life easier.

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