How can I save on high school classroom supplies?
The above question might be the same question many teachers are asking themselves year after year, after year.
Because it’s a never-ending cycle of needing new supplies every year to help out kids learn the best they can in the classroom.
There’s nothing more exciting for me than to be in a school supply store with an empty cart waiting for me to fill it in with all the good stuff that I’m going to use for the whole school year ahead.
I’m already seeing a few new markers over there, some colorful gel pens that I have been eyeing for quite some time, and some other useful supplies that I plan on stocking up my classroom with all year long.
I was like a kid in a candy store trying to pick out the best ones for me to munch on.
But then sadly, I finally came to my senses when I was then restricted by the thought that I was on a budget and might not be able to splurge that much due to financial reasons.
Because, yes. As painful as it sounds almost all classroom supplies come out from teachers’ own pockets. This is because sometimes the support we receive from schools may not be enough to garner all the items needed by teachers to perform their role effectively.
And because teachers are passionate about their jobs, we go out of our way and go the extra mile to make it all worthwhile for our students.
And suddenly all my dreams of stocking up my classroom with plentiful of classroom supplies were suddenly TOAST.
I knew I needed to find a way to still get what I needed for my classroom supplies but in a way that’s not going to break my bank all the way. And in these times, you need to be resourceful, creative, and also think out of the box!
<<On the lookout for the best classroom supplies for high school? We listed 10 basic items every high school teacher must-have.
How Can I Save On High School Classroom Supplies? 8 Great Ways To Avoid Breaking The Bank!
1.) Declutter And Analyze What You Already Have
I know that it’s nice to have new supplies and everything, but you might be surprised as to what you already have hiding in your supply closet or station.
It’s a must for you to try and go for a supply raid first before creating your supplies list because you’ll end up minimizing your list of items that you are really in need of.
Always check what you already have so you don’t have to end up double the amount of the item that you are just needing for the whole school year. You’ll be amazed as to how many pens, pencils, papers, crayons, and other school items are hiding in your closet all this time.
2.) Always Buy In Bulk
A money-saving trick I learned from my mother when I was young was to always buy in bulk.
When you buy in bulk you’ll be saving time and money at the same time, because you’ll never have to always go for a supply run every now and then because you already have a supply ready for use anytime and any day.
You’ll be making fewer trips to the supply store because most classroom supplies are non-perishable, which makes them ideal for buying in bulk—they’ll never go bad and will still be in mint condition as long as you store them properly.
This also saves you tons of money because they do offer good deals for items that are sold in bulk. Not to mention the gas money you’ll be spending every time you go out for a supply run will be safe and sound in your pocket too!
It will require less effort from you, so you’ll be saving energy too. But not only that you’ll be leaving a less carbon footprint, which is a great way to go green!
3.) Try Supply Swaps
Did you notice any surplus supplies by the end of the school year lying around your classroom or at home? Like for example a handful of excess markers or maybe you have too many crayons at hand by the end of the year?
You can consider going for a supply swap with your co-teachers at school, kinda like a barter type of transaction. You can even join Facebook groups online that do this kind of exchange.
It’s helpful both for your pocket and going green as well! It’s like upcycling your unused materials for the good, you’ll end up helping others and you’ll get to get something good out of it too!
You can also get the parents of your students involved, as for sure they too have excess school supplies at their home too.
4.) Don’t Be Shy To Ask For Donations
One thing that teachers should keep in mind is that they are not in this alone, everyone and especially parents know the struggles that teachers are facing in this very challenging role that they face every day in school.
And a part of that is providing all the classroom materials they need every day for all the activities and exercises that need to be done in order to enrich the students learning experience.
As teachers are voluntarily spending their own money to buy classroom supplies even though they are not compensated well enough, they still do it out of goodwill just to deliver a great learning experience to their students.
It’s not a sin to try and ask parents for any kind of help to gather supplies for the classroom that their children are going to every day. Parents are also thankful for all the hard work teachers are doing just to make sure that their children receive the best form of education they can get.
You can also head on and ask family and friends too, it’s all for a good cause!
Teachers can try sorting out a class wish list, where they can let parents know which supplies are mostly needed by the classroom. The list can be created before the school year starts so that you can be up and ready full of classroom supplies before the battle begins.
5.) Target Clearance Sales
Bargains and discounts always put fun in shopping, am I right? Even with school supplies so don’t skimp on clearance sales!
Most companies use clearance sales as a way to get rid of excess inventories which means they will be selling off most of their products at a much lower price compared to regular retail prices.
You’ll be surprised with the good finds at clearance sales, you’ll be getting good deals matching up with good prices. It’s always great to buy stuff at a reduced price, especially with classroom supplies.
Especially during end of season sales, you’ll mostly find good items that were previously too expensive for you to buy that are now super affordable that you can even purchase two or three of them.
But be careful not to have so much fun with all the low prices attracting you, or you might end up
buying something that you’re not really going to use, so it’s best to still evaluate if an item is really worth buying or not.
6.) Take It To Social Media
Another great thing that you can benefit from social media is by following your favorite supply stores for any sale or discount announcement that they make which is mostly through social media these days.
Many companies try to reach their target audience through social media because everyone is on social media nowadays! So you better turn on your notification button for your favorite stores to catch up with any great sale announcements which you will surely benefit great deals from.
They sometimes even give out digital coupons to which can greatly help if you’re shopping online because everything seems to be done online these days.
But personally, I still do prefer visiting a store in person, nothing beats a hands-on experience when shopping, especially for classroom supplies because you get to really scan the items that you are getting unlike online you only see pictures and reviews as well.
7.) Know When Is The Best Time To Buy
Contrary to popular belief, August may not be the best month to go shopping for classroom materials.
You might need to aim for your target during September and October because this is usually the time when the store is trying to get rid of all the excess school supplies that did not sell-off in August.
You can also try mid-July because this is when stores are usually giving way to school supplies and will have a few sales and discounts here and there.
8.) Opt For Grants And Crowdfundings
As a last resort, if you’re really in a spot and really don’t have the financial margin to purchase supplies for your classrooms, you can opt to get Grants or crowdsource because humanity never fails, especially during tough times.
There are Grants available for educators, and the two most commonly known types of grants—the Federal Grants and Private Grants—these two types of grants can be utilized by teachers to aid them with funds for classroom supplies.
Federal grants are economic aid provided by the United States government to help educators. You can also source out all the available grants through the listing in Grants.gov—then apply a filter to get to the Education section.
If you have an eye on Crowdfunding, this is also a great way to get additional funding to help you gather important supplies for your classroom.
This is done through the donation of any amount through a large number of people—and as you can imagine with technology and social media nowadays people can connect in many ways and help each other even with just a small amount of donation—A little really goes a long way.
In preparation for the school year ahead, it can be overwhelming to curate a list of high school classroom supplies that you’ll be needing for the whole school year.
But one thing is for sure is that teachers are always trying to find ways just to save some money when buying classroom supplies. There are many tips, tricks, and hacks, but these times are here to test out resourcefulness, creativity, and practicality.
There might be financial challenges and obstacles along the way, but we know that it’s all worth the effort and we will be able to provide to our students along with happy smiles on their faces.
We just need to have a little faith and some luck along the way to overcome them, and I know for sure we will!