“How to Save Money in the Classroom” by Crystal Rapinchuk, writer of Surviving a Teacher’s Salary.
With the new school year approaching and new expenses for your classrooms looming ahead, budgets are tight for everyone! Parents included! And I know things are tight especially for those teachers in Title 1 schools! I know we personally end up purchasing school supplies for almost all of our students each year and throughout the school season. Maybe your students can’t donate monetarily but they can donate in supplies – even free ones like toilet paper tubes or leftover scraps of paper can have a wide variety of use in your classroom.
Here are just a few ways that we have saved money in our school:
- Recycle! Save anything & everything – you can always find a use for it!
- Do it yourself! Pinterest is my new best friend. You can find oodles of crafts, DIY classroom projects, free printables, and more to help stretch your budget in your classroom! This is great for creating your own learning centers, games, object lessons, etc.
- Buy it secondhand. I regularly stop by our local thrift store and yard sales to find things secondhand. I have purchased globes, microscopes, educational games, manipulatives and more at just a fraction of the cost.
- Ask the parents! Many parents are more than willing to come in and talk to the students about their job, volunteer to cut paper, or do other jobs you may need an extra hand with! If you are at a school where parental involvement is low why not go online. Set up a video conference with an author, police officer, lawyer, or even another classroom in another country! You can provide an experience many of your children may never have – for FREE!
- Swap with other teachers. Set up a “community” area that each teacher can place their items in. More resources for everyone to use mean less out of pocket expense!
- Look to local businesses. Many of our projects and activities are sponsored by local businesses. Just stop by, ask to speak to the manager, and explain what you are looking for and why. We’ve received bottled water for field day, massages for teachers, free treats to raffle, books, and many other items just from spending a few minutes talking to businesses in the community.
- Have extra time? Enter giveaways & sweepstakes to benefit your classrooms! Check out your favorite educational company’s social media pages to see what their current giveaways and promos are! Last year we won 10 boxes of cleaning supplies for our classrooms!
- Think out of the box! Our best money saving ideas have come from simply thinking out of the box! Don’t be afraid to try something new or ask someone to help out!
So sit down, think about what you might need or want throughout the school year, and then target how you will accomplish receiving these items! I suggest focusing on one or two bigger projects per year and get everyone involved in making it happen. Maybe it’s a classroom library, maybe it’s a class pet, or maybe it’s something even bigger like a field trip! Don’t forget to register your project at 99Papers.org and let all of your students, friends, and family know about it!