5 Ways Teachers Can Save Money on Classroom Expenses

Are you a teacher? Do you spend way too much money on school related items? Here are 5 smart ways teachers can save money on classroom expenses.

You love your job, and you work hard to create an engaging classroom. Unfortunately, that often includes spending money out of your own pocket. Yes, being a teacher can be expensive! Let’s discuss a few ways teachers can save money on classroom expenses.

Develop a wish list

Most people want to support teachers because they know that they play a critical role in the development of our little learners. A wish list shows parents the specific materials you need.

A lot of teachers put out wish lists at the beginning of the school year. There are even some super cute ways to display them and catch parents’ attention. For example, I love this free printable cupcake teacher wish list from Sweet Tooth Teaching.

If your school allows it, you can also create online wish lists for families and friends to fulfill for you. Amazon, Walmart, and Staples all offer wish lists, and most other stores do too. If you have one of these you could point it out again in a class newsletter any month of the school year.

Do your fair share of paperwork

If you’re not afraid of filling out some paperwork, a great way teachers can save money on classroom expenses is through tax deductions. Many individuals want to support teachers, and that goes for companies and the government too! The US government offers teachers tax deductions on unreimbursed classroom expenses, currently up to $250. Some companies go even further by offering their own discount card for educators, so ask around.

Reduce waste and use recycled materials as much as possible

Encouraging students to use only what they need not only saves you money, but it also gives you the opportunity to teach responsibility.

As teachers, many of us love paper for school materials and activities because screens surround our students far too much. However, with the use of paper and printing comes ink cartridge expenses. Instead of going with the new manufacturer’s cartridges, consider using remanufactured ink cartridges; they’re just as good at a fraction of the price.

If you teach younger kids and like to fit in some crafts, try some that re-use material from the recycling bin. For example, my Earth Day Suncatchers use upcycled plastic and cost next to nothing to make. I bet you already have a lot of ideas in your arsenal, but here is a huge list of recycled materials crafts if you want some fresh ideas that are focused on fine motor skills.

Use every coupon available and take advantage of sales

While keeping an eye out for coupons and clipping them is time-consuming, the savings can really add up.

In addition, if you can wait until after the first day of school to get supplies, take advantage of the huge discounts at retailers. There’s often a narrow window to catch those sales, and it’s such a busy time of year for teachers, but it’s worth it!

You can do the same thing for holiday and seasonal items. For example, on November 1, all the Halloween candy and decorations go on sale. The trick is to only buy what you’re sure you can use…and to store it somewhere that you’ll be able to find it in a year!

Church Garage Sales Save Time and Money

Regular garage sales can be hit or miss, but big church garage sales may be worth your time. I once picked up a wonderful reading area chair for only $5 at one of those. They’re also a great source of children’s books plus games and toys you can turn into educational items.

In fact, you may find such a treasure trove that it’s a good idea to go in with a list and a budget.

Hopefully, this information helps you save money when it comes to classroom expenses. If you have any other ideas you’d like to share, please jump in and comment below.

Happy Teaching,


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