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Back to School Shopping Tips to Save Time & Money

It's almost back to school time, which for teachers means it's time to go shopping!  Of course, you need your staples, and most of those can be found at your local Walmart, Target or Office store.  But some things can be found for FREE... if you know where to look!

Back to school shopping tips for teachers to help them save time and money

Here are a few tips for prime goodies!
  1. Pencils somehow manage to disappear in the secondary classroom.  Paying for them, even at 10 cents a pack is just too much.  Instead, stop in at your local GOLF COURSE.  Ask the golf pro of the course to donate a box of pencils.  These pencils are perfect for encouraging your students to remember to bring their own, and the one box of mini pencils without erasers will last the whole year!
  2. For classroom decor, stop by your local Lowes or Home Depot.  When materials are damaged, they discount it or offer it up for those willing to take it away.  Warped pieces of wood or paneling can serve many purposes in the classroom and appliance boxes can provide a great supply of cardboard that can be used for projects throughout the year.  Both stores also offer classroom support programs.  You will need to write a thankful letter detailing all of the materials requested, and the store manager will need a few days to submit the request to corporate.  But don't be greedy; those over $50 are often rejected, while those $25-$50 are approved easily!
  3. If your students use paint for projects, stop by your local PAINT STORE.  While you can't choose your color and the paint is not the watercolors you are used to, you can often collect the mis-matched leftovers.  You'd be surprised how much paint is mic-colored each day!
  4. If you are a Social Studies teacher, get in touch with your state Geographic Society.  They are usually affiliated with the state university, and will provide you a great variety of maps for your classroom.  Tourism agencies will also provide maps, brochures, and other goodies your students can use for research projects or for informational text practice.
  5. Stop by your local NEWSPAPER.  Besides collecting old newspapers you can use for reading or other skills practice, you can also find all the presentation paper you will ever need for Big Paper activities, group reporting or bulletin boards.  Ask for the end rolls that are leftover after the pages are printed.  Be sure to tell them it's for your classroom, and most will let you take what you can carry for FREE!
The best tip to remember is simple: Just ask!  You'll be happily amazed at the generosity of businesses all around you.  You may have to think more creatively for using the resources you collect, but in the end, your pocketbook will suffer much less!

And one last tip: Be sure to price match when you have to pay for school supplies!  Walmart and some Targets will price match with an ad, and currently Staples is offering a 110% price match for basic school supplies.  Gather up your ads and do all of your shopping at Staples to save time and money.

Back to school shopping tips for teachers to help them save time and money on their classroom needs and organization hacks. Number 5 is my favorite!

Happy Teaching!