Tips for Shopping for School Supplies Your Classroom {Save Time and Money}

For some it is the excitement of a new school year.

For others it is the fact that having the summer off equates to a surplus of hours in which to shop.

For others it is out of necessity because their school or the families they work with do not provide the materials needed to run a classroom.

Whatever the cause, teachers everywhere are filling carts with markers, glues ticks and folders. Here are some tips and a few freebies that may help save you some time and money.

  • Set a budget and stick to it. I know it’s easier said than done. Consider determining what you will spend, put that amount into an envelope and work strictly within that budget.

  • Stay out of the stores. If you don’t actually need to go buy something specific, spend your days at the beach or pool instead. At this time of year you are far more likely to make impulse purchases for your classroom. Avoid the temptation.

  • Many will price match competitors. This is important because the less stores you visit...the less you spend.

  • A lot of stores will credit you the difference if an item you buy goes on sale within 30 days. It may be best to buy everything you need all at once from a store that historically has had good sales while the supplies are plentiful and then go back with your receipt if they drop. Keep your receipt in your wallet so you have it handy if needed.

  • Per person limits on sale items don’t always apply to everyone. Some stores (Staples in particular) offer higher limits for teachers. Call ahead and ask to speak to the manager. 

  • Check for upcoming sales online.  A lot of stores put their circulars on their website well in advance.

  • Use your Smartphone to comparison shop while in the store or to pull up coupons.

  • Subscribe to Lakeshore’s texts for weekly deals.

  • Buddy up with colleagues. You can often save money by buying in bulk.

  • Work with your accountant to use your school-related purchases as tax deductions.
  • If your state offers a tax-free shopping weekend in August, take advantage of it 

Make a master list of the supplies you need in your classroom. Inventory your current supply. Create a shopping list to get only the items you will truly need.

I have created a few FREE resources to help. 

I created The Ultimate Classroom Supplies Checklist to show my gratitude to my blog and store followers a couple of years ago. I had wanted to make something that could be useful to a large population of teachers. It has since been downloaded almost 63,000 times! Crazy! It includes a master list of everything you may need for your classroom. Use it to create a list that is specific to you.

Last year, as part of my ink-saving Blackline Design series, I added another freebie to my inventory.  The greyscale shopping lists come in a variety of patterns. The Blackline Design products were created to be printed in blacn and white and reproduced on a photocopier instead of needing to be printed over and over in color. You can see all of the products in that line on the related Pinterest page.
Today, as a (not so) Flash Freebie (meaning it will be a forever freebie) I have created an editable version of the shopping checklist. I made it to go with the Back to School Organization Binder that I featured yesterday. This will allow you to make a master list of supplies you need and save it to your computer to save time and money in the future.

For more tips and ideas on organizing and managing your classroom please check out my Clutter-Free Guide along with my Teaching Procedures and Routines Workbook. This post is part of:

This item debuted as a Flash Freebie on 7.25.13 and was available from 7:00 A.M. to Forever Freebie 

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Click here for a listing of all of the Teacher Tips and Printables from The Summer of 2013.

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