It’s no secret that teachers spend a lot of their own dollars to make the best possible learning environment they can for students. It’s also no secret that the majority of teachers are also thrifty, coupon-clipping, clearance-aisle-browsing shoppers. If there’s a discount to be had, teachers are all about finding it. A go-to list of funding ideas and money-saving resources can be the perfect tool to make the ultimate classroom come to life where students can thrive and learning can flourish. Before any purchase is made, teachers should evaluate whether it’s a sound one, and then use any and all of these methods to make it happen.
$$$ Saving a Dollar $$$
When every dollar counts, it’s imperative to make the most of what is available. Shopping sales and clipping coupons are a couple of no-brainers when it comes to gathering what’s needed for the classroom, but they aren’t the only options out there. There are plenty of other savvy ways to obtain materials for the classroom that can help teachers make the most of their money or not spend any of it at all.
- Teacher Discounts– There are lots of retailers and service providers that have exclusive discounts for educators. An initial form or signup coupled with a flash of some valid credentials can bring a host of savings. Sites like Offers.com and Deal Hack are a great place to turn for lists of discount offerings that range from pencils to cars to wireless providers to fitness. Saving a personal dollar can lead to some extra classroom dollars.
- Gently Used Materials– Don’t overlook the impact that some gently used finds can have in the classroom. Take a scroll through online garage/yard sale sites or peruse some local sales in person. Sometimes a repurposing idea will click and come to life. It never hurts to post an ISO on an online site to see if anyone is willing to donate, trade, or inexpensively offer a needed item.
- DIY– Nothing saves a dollar like contributing a little (or a lot) of sweat equity. There are loads of great DIY projects for the classroom that can transform the learning space at a minimal cost. If a project seems a bit too lofty, this could be a great time to get parents involved. Some family members may welcome this hands-on opportunity to help.
- Teacher Swap– Creating a lending system for teachers in the grade, department, building, and/or district is a great way to cut down on the costs of materials that are only used intermittently. This could be done through an interactive signup/checkout page or something could be created on a common social media platform.
$$$ Finding a Dollar $$$
Sometimes more than a coupon is needed to make a purchase happen. When the dollars aren’t there or the price tag is too steep for personal funding, there are several other options to explore. The Simple Dollar highlights some resourceful ways for procuring those needed, and wanted, resources that can positively charge the learning environment. These 3 takeaways from The K-12 Teacher’s Guide to Funding Classroom Supplies may be the perfect fit for teachers looking to finance a more costly purchase.
- Crowdfunding– Any scroll through social media is likely to include a crowdfunding post or two. Why shouldn’t the classroom benefit from such contributions? This is a great way to get the information about needed materials out to friends and family or even the masses. There are lots of platforms to choose from and taking the time to put together a heartfelt campaign with a witty description and photos can help make the budgetary dreams a reality.
- Grants– Federal and private grants are out there to aid teachers in financing supplies, furnishings, initiatives, events, etc. This doesn’t have to be a daunting process. There are companies like Dynamix that can aid educators in pinpointing the right grant and then navigating the application process.
- Cash-Back Rewards– Most people have a credit card or two that they use for everyday-life purchases. By choosing ones with cash back rewards, the buying is coupled with later savings. Reserve the reward dollars for the classroom and watch the pool of resources grow.
The visions teachers have for their classrooms and the reality of the budgets provided to create them often don’t match. Being frugal and resourceful can do a lot to bridge the gap between the two. With these money-saving and fund-finding tips, those perfect learning environment dreams are one step closer to becoming realities.