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13 Secrets to Saving Money on Teacher Supplies

These days, teachers must be resourceful in order to afford the materials they need for their classrooms. Try these money-saving secrets --most of the time, all you'll need to get a great deal is a little leg work and your school ID.

1. Don't underestimate what you can get free. Ask friends whose children are older than yours if they have leftover school supplies your class can use. Visit garage and tag sales for gently-used items. Check with United Way and Salvation Army - they often sponsor free school supplies programs.

2. Some bookstores give discounts to those with a teacher discount card. Barnes & Noble, for example, will give you a 20% discount when you purchase supplies at their store. They also offer a 10% off discount on half-price books, which can add up to huge savings for your classroom.

3. Other stores offer discounts, as well. Jo-Ann Fabrics will take 15% off your total purchase if you are purchasing a craft item or other supplies for your classroom. They will also send you coupons intermittently for one regularly priced item at 40% off. Lowe's will cut wood and pipe for free if you're purchasing supplies for class projects.

4. Office supply stores, such as Office Max, Office Depot and Staples will swipe your store card every purchase, earning you a percentage of your purchase back. When you get cash back each quarter, use the money toward more class supplies. Also look for store special events. Some businesses celebrate "educator days" and will offer higher discounts or other perks, such as free coffee and donuts, or bags of classroom supplies.

5. Join friends and neighbors and buy in bulk. Many online sites give volume discounts, as well.

6. Get to know local businesses. Ask business owners in your area if they would like to donate office supplies they no longer need. You might be surprised how eager businesses can be to clear out the remains of cancelled projects or outdated paperwork. Your class might receive anything from old binders for storage to paper coffee cups that could be used during craft time.

7. If anyone you know is a retiring teacher, ask them to donate supplies they no longer need.

8. You might not actually need as many supplies as you think you will, so purchase only what you absolutely have to have. Then get creative by repurposing old supplies in a new way. Do more group work so you don't have to print off as many individual worksheets. Save scraps used in art projects for a different project.

9. Venture outside of the school supply aisle. Stickers, colorful paper and other supplies are often found in other parts of the store, sometimes with heavy discounts or on clearance, especially if it's a seasonal product.

10. Go online. Some stores, such as Walmart and Target have lower prices online and offer "online only" discounts. Do a quick search for the items you need, and make sure you note whether the items you want qualify for free regular shipping or free ship-to-store shipping. Shopping online is a great way to save time, money and gas!

11. Check out sites like All items listed are free and given away on a first-come, first-serve basis.

12. Some teachers recommend for saving money on supplies. Also check out, adopt-a-classroom, and to find out how your classroom can receive donated supplies.

13. Make sure to save your receipts so you can get a tax break at year's end.
About Author Jennifer Dobson :

Jennifer Dobson is an early childhood educator and she invites you to visit her favorite online teacher supply store, <a href="" target="_blank"></a>. The neatest thing about the website is that 50% of the gross profits are donated to help children in need!

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Article Added on Sunday, March 7, 2010
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