Laura Carter has years of experience in educational fields and currently writes for academic writing blog. She’s keen on teaching technologies and passionate about language learning. Follow @carterlaura15 to hear more from her!
They never tell you about paying for school supplies out of your own pocket when you’re getting a degree. However, there will always be a need to purchase supplies for your classroom and lessons, and we’ve found the perfect advice with these 12 tips for new teachers to help you stay on budget and have a successful first year.
- Move it Online
Instead of sending out paper reminders or newsletters to the parents of your students, move it online. Send out email reminders and class newsletters electronically to reduce your printing and paper costs. Moving online will also reduce your paper trail which is beneficial to the environment.
Keep any scrap paper from your recycle bin and use it for future art projects or for taking notes. Not only will it keep your waste to a minimum, it will help cut down your costs when it comes time to buy art or project supplies such as colored paper or even magazines.
- Have a Fundraiser
A fundraiser is a fun and easy way to help raise the funds you need to provide for your classroom and increase your stock of much needed supplies. Whether you choose to do face painting, or selling homemade baked goods, you can easily raise the funds you need to help buy the supplies or books for your students.
- Implement Group Work
Instead of having to print out several copies of the same worksheet or assignment, print out just a few and split your classroom into groups. The group interaction will be fun and engaging for students and help them develop socially. In addition, your printing costs will be significantly lowered. The same concept applies to books that are being read in the class–instead of purchasing one for each student just get a smaller number and have your students read out loud. Therefore, it is so important to be always engaged, cooperate with each other and stay connected with your students all the time, even over the summer.
- Borrow or Buy Used Books
Each classroom needs a great library, but when you buy all the books yourself, the costs rise quickly. Instead of doling out hundreds of dollars, take advantage of the book sales at the public libraries or swap materials with a teacher next door. Furthermore, you can go to a low cost used bookstore or keep an eye out for a hot sale online.
- Purchase in Bulk
Buying supplies in bulk is a great way to get your classroom fully stocked at a lowered cost. There is a variety of bulk warehouse shops where you can use your personal membership to purchase necessary things for your classroom. Not only will you be prepared with all the pens, pencils, and colored paper you could need, but you won’t be busting your budget -especially if you have to pay for it yourself. If you do find that bulk buying is too much- either financially or product wise- talk to your fellow teachers to see if they will be interested in going in with you to split the costs and the products. Talk about a win-win.
- Ask for Donations
Ask for your student’s parents to bring in donations such as magazines, pencils, books, or even paper or art supplies. Another great idea is to set up a fundrasing campaign and request donations on Patreon or GoFundMe. This is a good option to raise funds for the classroom as you don’t have to offer rewards or set a deadline.
- Read Online Texts
Have your students read a required text online instead of printing it out several times over. Once again, you will save on paper and printing costs and your students will enjoy the chance to go online for their assignments.
- Go Thrifting
Thrift shops, flea markets, or even discount stores are great places to find supplies for your classroom. Not only will you get an awesome deal or discounted price on quality goods, you can find unique and interesting things sometimes too.
- Use Hand Me Downs and Past Experience
If you know any teachers who are retiring, moving up or down a grade level, you can ask if they have any supplies they no longer need or want to get rid of. You could also ask your family or friends if they have any old toys or supplies that their children are no longer using. Another great idea is to collaborate with teachers online, study from their experience and share ideas about how to advance the classroom life.
- Keep Your Receipts
Many teachers are not aware that they can receive tax benefits from keeping their receipts on any classroom related purchases they make. The supplies that can be deducted include books, pencils, paper goods, computer supplies. The maximum you can have deducted is $250 but it helps! Keep any receipts for classroom purchases and make sure you have them ready come tax time.
- Use Online Teaching Tools
Online teaching tools are becoming more and more popular with every year. This is because of the ease of use, engagement, and fun the students receive while at the same time it costing very little or nothing at all for the teachers to access. Whether it be free educational games, encyclopedias, or texts you will be surprised what is available for free online.
Do you have any tips that have helped you budget for your classroom? Feel free to share them in the comments!