Easy Ways to Save on Supplies as a Teacher

Every teacher understands the struggle of trying to provide classroom supplies on a limited budget. It’s even more challenging when you know these materials play an essential role in fostering creativity and learning among students.

This article offers practical solutions, using freely available or discounted resources, to stretch your supply budget while still providing quality educational aids for your learners.

Excited? Let’s dive into exploring ingenious ways of making every penny count in your teaching journey!

Key Takeaways

  • Utilize online platforms like Freecycle, Amazon Wish List, and Donors Choose to find free or discounted school supplies.
  • Take advantage of local charitable organizations, corporate giveaways, and website promotions to save on supplies.
  • Connect with class parents and explore grant opportunities to stretch your supply budget further.
  • Repurpose old materials and involve family and friends in donating extra items for your classroom.

How to Find Free/Discounted School Supplies

Explore various avenues to find free or discounted school supplies, such as online groups like Freecycle, Amazon Wish List, Donors Choose, local charitable organizations, corporate giveaways and donations, bartering with other teachers or parents, grants, end-of-year surplus from the school, and even utilizing items that would have been thrown away.


Freecycle serves as an online hub that offers a wealth of freebies, including school supplies. Teachers can harness the power of this digital platform to find locals who are giving away items they no longer need.

The beauty is, it’s all free! You get access to a range of products from markers and paper to desks and filing cabinets, catering for various classroom needs. Just sign up on the website or app, check available listings in your area, and reach out directly to arrange pick-up if you spot something useful for your teaching environment.

This savvy technique not only helps save money but also reduces waste by ensuring reusable items don’t end up in landfills unnecessarily.

Amazon Wish List

Teachers can take advantage of Amazon Wish Lists to save on school supplies. By creating a wish list and sharing it with parents, friends, and the community, teachers can receive donations of much-needed materials for their classrooms.

Amazon offers a wide range of products, making it easy to find everything from books to art supplies. With the convenience of online shopping and the ability to compare prices, using an Amazon Wish List is a practical way for teachers to get the supplies they need at discounted prices or even for free.

Additionally, teachers can utilize resources like Freecycle and Donors Choose mentioned earlier in this article to further stretch their supply budget without compromising on quality or quantity.

Donors Choose

Donors Choose is a valuable resource that allows teachers to create projects and request donations for specific classroom needs. By creating a project on Donors Choose, teachers can highlight the supplies they need and share their vision with potential donors.

This platform provides an opportunity for educators to access free or discounted school supplies, as well as funding for educational experiences. Through Donors Choose, teachers can connect with individuals or organizations who are passionate about supporting education and make a difference in their classrooms without breaking the bank.

Local Charitable Organizations

Local charitable organizations are a valuable resource for teachers looking to save on school supplies. These organizations often provide free or discounted materials that can be used in the classroom.

By reaching out to these organizations, teachers can connect with community members who are passionate about supporting education. Whether it’s through donations from individuals or partnerships with businesses, local charities can help alleviate some of the financial burden of purchasing supplies.

Utilizing these resources not only saves money but also fosters connections within the community and emphasizes the importance of education as a collective effort.

Corporate and Website Giveaways

Many corporations and websites offer giveaways specifically for educators. These can be a great way to get free or discounted school supplies. Keep an eye out for promotions, contests, and special offers that could help you stock up on the supplies you need without breaking the bank.

Additionally, some websites have programs where they give away free educational materials or offer discounts to teachers. Take advantage of these opportunities to save money and enhance your classroom resources.

By participating in corporate and website giveaways, you can stretch your supply budget even further and provide quality materials for your students.

Corporate Donations

Corporate donations are a valuable resource for teachers looking to save on supplies. Many companies have programs in place that allow them to donate funds or materials directly to classrooms.

By reaching out to local businesses and corporations, teachers can potentially secure much-needed resources at little to no cost. These corporate donations can include everything from basic school supplies like pencils and paper, to larger items such as books, technology, or even furniture.

Utilizing these donations not only helps reduce expenses but also provides additional support for students in need. Teachers should consider exploring corporate donation opportunities in their area as a way to stretch their supply budget and provide the best learning environment for their students.

Local Businesses

Supporting local businesses is another great way for teachers to save on supplies. Many small businesses offer teacher discounts or special promotions specifically for educators. By shopping locally, not only can teachers potentially find better deals and discounts, but they are also supporting their community.

Local businesses often have unique and personalized items that can enhance the classroom environment. So, when looking for school supplies, don’t forget to check out the offerings from nearby shops and show your support for local entrepreneurs.

Online Groups (Craig’s List, Facebook Marketplace, etc.)

Teachers can find great deals and discounts on school supplies by joining online groups like Craig’s List, Facebook Marketplace, and other platforms. These online communities provide a convenient way to connect with individuals who are selling or giving away gently used or discounted classroom materials.

By browsing through these groups regularly, teachers can often score amazing deals on items they need for their classrooms. Additionally, being part of these online communities allows teachers to network with other educators who may have helpful tips and suggestions for finding affordable supplies.

Joining these online groups is a smart strategy for budget-conscious teachers looking to save money on school supplies.


Bartering is a smart way for teachers to save on supplies. Instead of spending money, you can trade items or skills with other educators or members of your school community. For example, if you have extra markers but need construction paper, you can swap with another teacher who has the materials you need.

This not only helps you acquire what you need without spending money, but it also fosters collaboration and resourcefulness within the teaching community. By bartering, teachers can stretch their supply budget and find creative solutions to meet their classroom needs.

Class Parents

Class parents can be a valuable resource when it comes to saving money on classroom supplies. By reaching out to parents at the beginning of the school year, teachers can ask for help in providing essential materials for their students.

This can include anything from pencils and notebooks to art supplies and books. Not only does this help alleviate some of the financial burden on teachers, but it also fosters a sense of community and involvement among parents.

Additionally, class parents may have connections or access to discounted resources that they can share with the teacher, further stretching the supply budget. So don’t hesitate to enlist the support of class parents as a way to save on supplies and create a collaborative learning environment.

Teachers who involve class parents in supplying classroom materials benefit not only from cost savings but also from increased parent engagement. Parents are often willing to contribute supplies as a way of supporting their child’s education.

This collaboration creates stronger relationships between home and school, which ultimately benefits students’ academic progress. By working together with class parents, teachers can ensure that all students have what they need without putting a strain on their own finances.


Grants are a valuable resource for teachers looking to save on supplies. Many organizations offer grants specifically for educators, providing funding to help cover the cost of classroom materials.

By applying for grants, teachers can access additional financial support that can be used to purchase resources and supplies for their students. These grants often have specific criteria or requirements, so it’s important to research and find ones that align with your classroom needs.

By taking advantage of grant opportunities, teachers can stretch their budget further and ensure they have the necessary materials to enhance their students’ learning experience.

End-of-Year Surplus

At the end of the school year, many classrooms have a surplus of supplies that can be used to save money. Teachers can take advantage of this by checking with fellow educators to see if they have any extra materials they’re willing to part with.

Additionally, schools often have storage rooms or closets filled with unused supplies that teachers can access. By utilizing these end-of-year surpluses, teachers can reduce their expenses on classroom materials and stretch their supply budget further.

Turn Trash Into Treasure

Teachers can stretch their supply budgets by turning trash into treasure. Instead of throwing away old materials, they can find creative ways to repurpose them in the classroom. For example, empty coffee cans or yogurt containers can be used as storage for art supplies or small manipulatives.

Old magazines and newspapers can be cut up and used for collages or other art projects. By thinking outside the box and finding new uses for items that would otherwise be discarded, teachers can save money and teach their students about sustainability at the same time.

Family and Friends

Teachers can also turn to their family and friends for assistance when it comes to saving on supplies. They can reach out to loved ones and explain the need for classroom materials, asking if anyone has any extra items they could donate.

Family members and close friends are often more than willing to lend a helping hand and contribute to the teacher’s supply stash. By involving family and friends in this way, teachers can build a stronger support network while also ensuring that they have access to the resources they need without breaking the bank.

So don’t hesitate to reach out – you might be surprised at how eager your loved ones are to assist you in creating an engaging learning environment for your students.

It’s important for teachers not to underestimate the power of their personal networks when it comes to saving money on supplies. Family and friends may have connections within local businesses or organizations that could offer discounts or donations specifically for educators.

By leveraging these relationships, teachers can tap into additional resources that might not be widely available elsewhere. It’s always worth reaching out and exploring all possible avenues, as you never know what opportunities may arise from connections with loved ones.

Depths of the Supply Closet

Digging deep into the supply closet can uncover hidden treasures for teachers. Often, there are forgotten or unused materials lurking in the depths of this storage space. Take a thorough inventory and explore what you already have before making new purchases.

You might find extra notebooks, pens, or art supplies that can be repurposed for your classroom. By utilizing these resources, you can save money and reduce waste. Keep your supply closet organized to easily locate items when needed and prevent unnecessary spending on duplicate supplies.

Budget-Friendly Shopping Tips

Create a shopping list and set a budget to stay organized and avoid overspending.

Make a shopping list and set a budget

Creating a shopping list and setting a budget are essential steps to save money on supplies as a teacher. By making a list of the necessary items before heading to the store, you can stay focused and avoid impulse purchases.

Setting a budget will help you prioritize your spending and ensure that you don’t overspend on non-essential items. Make sure to include all essential supplies on your list, such as paper, pencils, notebooks, and art materials.

With a well-planned shopping list and budget in hand, you can be more cost-effective when purchasing supplies for your classroom.

Do an inventory sweep

Take the time to do an inventory sweep of your classroom supplies before you start shopping. This will give you a clear idea of what you already have and what you actually need. Check your storage closets, cabinets, and drawers for any forgotten or unused supplies that can be put to good use.

You might be surprised by how many extra pens, markers, notebooks, or even craft materials you have on hand. By taking stock of your inventory first, you can avoid buying duplicates and save money on unnecessary purchases.

It’s a simple step that can make a big difference in maximizing your budget for school supplies.

Keep in mind that doing an inventory sweep is not just about finding items to use – it’s also about identifying what needs replacing or replenishing. Look out for damaged or worn-out materials that should be replaced so that your students have the resources they need to succeed.

Swap with friends

Teachers can save money on supplies by swapping with friends. Instead of buying new materials, educators can collaborate with their colleagues to exchange items they no longer need.

This can be done through informal arrangements or organized events within the school community. By swapping with friends, teachers not only save money but also promote sustainability and reduce waste in the process.

It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved as it helps stretch budgets while fostering a sense of community among teachers.

Shop the sales

Take advantage of sales events to save money on your classroom supplies. Keep an eye out for back-to-school sales and other promotions throughout the year. This is a great opportunity to stock up on items you need at discounted prices.

By shopping the sales, you can stretch your supply budget further and ensure that you have everything you need for your students. Don’t forget to compare prices and look for additional discounts or coupons to maximize your savings.

Price matching

To get the best deals on your classroom supplies, take advantage of price matching. Many stores offer this option, where they will match or beat a competitor’s lower price for the same item.

Before you head to the store, do some research and find out which retailers in your area offer price matching. Keep in mind that each store may have its own specific policies and restrictions, so be sure to familiarize yourself with them beforehand.

By using price matching, you can ensure that you’re getting the lowest possible prices on your much-needed supplies without having to spend extra time shopping around. Plus, it’s a convenient way to save money without sacrificing quality or convenience!

Look for special promos and coupons

Teachers can save even more on their supply shopping by keeping an eye out for special promotions and coupons. Many stores offer discounts specifically for educators, so it’s worth checking if your favorite retailers have any such programs.

Additionally, signing up for newsletters or loyalty programs can grant you access to exclusive deals and coupons. Don’t forget to explore online options as well; websites like RetailMeNot often provide promo codes that can be used when making purchases on various education-focused platforms.

By taking advantage of these special promos and coupons, teachers can stretch their budget even further and get the most bang for their buck.

Don’t skip the dollar store

The dollar store may be a surprising source for affordable classroom supplies. You can find everything from pens and pencils to notebooks and craft materials at unbeatable prices. Don’t dismiss the dollar store as low-quality; many items are just as good as brand-name products.

By shopping at the dollar store, you can stretch your budget even further and get more bang for your buck. So next time you’re on the hunt for supplies, don’t forget to check out the dollar store for some amazing deals.

Visit thrift stores

Thrift stores can be a treasure trove of affordable teacher supplies. You’ll often find gently used books, classroom decorations, art materials, and even furniture at significantly lower prices than retail stores.

By visiting thrift stores, you can stretch your supply budget and find unique items that will add personality to your classroom. Remember to keep an open mind and regularly check different stores in your area for the best deals.

Thrift store shopping is not only cost-effective but also environmentally friendly as it promotes recycling and reusing resources.

Shop online

Shopping online is a convenient and cost-effective way for teachers to save on supplies. By shopping online, you can compare prices from different retailers and find the best deals without having to leave your home.

Look for websites that offer discounted school supplies or special promotions, such as free shipping or percentage-off discounts. You can also take advantage of online marketplaces like Amazon or eBay to find gently used items at a fraction of the cost.

Don’t forget to check out teacher-specific websites and forums where educators share money-saving tips and resources. With just a few clicks, you can have all the supplies you need delivered right to your doorstep.

Strategic Saving Strategies

Reuse old supplies, buy in bulk, use discounted gift cards, take advantage of cash-back credit cards, use coupons and savings apps, utilize classroom rewards programs, look for deals during back-to-school sales, shop off-season for discounted supplies, seek out teacher discounts.

These are just a few of the smart ways teachers can save on school supplies. Find out more about these strategies and start stretching your supply budget today.

Reuse old supplies

One practical strategy for teachers to save money on classroom supplies is to reuse old materials. Instead of constantly buying new items, consider repurposing and refurbishing old supplies that are still in good condition.

For example, you can use empty food containers as storage bins or pencil holders. Empty tissue boxes can be transformed into helpful organizers for small items like paper clips or erasers.

Additionally, instead of throwing away outdated textbooks, consider using their pages for craft projects or cutting them up to create flashcards or worksheets. By reusing old supplies creatively, teachers can reduce waste and stretch their supply budget further.

Buy in bulk

Buying supplies in bulk is a smart way for teachers to save money. When you buy in larger quantities, the cost per item is usually lower. This means that you can get more supplies for your classroom without breaking the bank.

Additionally, buying in bulk allows you to stock up on frequently used items, such as pens, pencils, and paper, so you won’t run out during the school year. By purchasing in bulk, not only can you save money but also ensure that your students have everything they need throughout the year.

Use discounted gift cards

Teachers can save money on classroom supplies by using discounted gift cards. Purchasing gift cards at a discount allows teachers to stretch their supply budget even further. There are various websites and apps that offer discounted gift cards for popular retailers like office supply stores or bookstores.

By buying these gift cards at a reduced price, teachers can effectively reduce the amount they spend on essential supplies for their students. So, be sure to take advantage of discounted gift cards and make your hard-earned money go a little bit further when shopping for classroom materials.

Take advantage of cash-back credit cards

Using cash-back credit cards can be a great way for teachers to save money on their classroom supply purchases. These cards offer a percentage of cash back on your total spending, allowing you to earn some money back with every purchase.

By using a cash-back credit card for all your supply shopping, you can accumulate savings over time. This extra cash can then be used towards purchasing more supplies or other classroom needs.

It’s important to compare different cash-back credit card options and choose one that offers the best rewards for education-related expenses. So make sure to take advantage of these cards and get some financial benefits while buying your classroom supplies.

Use coupons and savings apps

Teachers can further stretch their supply budget by using coupons and savings apps. These tools help educators find discounts on supplies, allowing them to save money on essential items for the classroom.

By searching for deals and promotions through these apps, teachers can take advantage of special offers and lower prices. Additionally, utilizing coupons can lead to significant savings when purchasing school supplies.

With just a few simple steps, teachers can easily incorporate these cost-saving strategies into their shopping routine.

Utilize classroom rewards programs

Teachers can save money on classroom supplies by utilizing classroom rewards programs. These programs often offer discounts or special promotions exclusive to educators. By signing up for these programs, teachers can take advantage of cost-saving opportunities and stretch their supply budget further.

Additionally, some rewards programs may even provide incentives for purchasing specific educational materials or participating in certain activities. With the benefits offered by these programs, teachers can find practical ways to save money while still providing their students with the necessary resources for learning.

Look for deals during back-to-school sales

During back-to-school sales, teachers can find great deals on essential classroom supplies. Many stores offer discounts and promotions during this time, making it the perfect opportunity to stock up on items like notebooks, pencils, and folders at lower prices.

By taking advantage of these sales, teachers can stretch their supply budget and save money in the long run. Additionally, keep an eye out for special promotions or coupons that may be available during this time.

Don’t forget to explore online retailers as well, as they often have competitive prices and exclusive deals. Stay informed about upcoming sales and take advantage of the savings opportunities during back-to-school season!

Shop off-season for discounted supplies

One smart strategy for teachers to save on supplies is to shop off-season. By purchasing classroom materials during the times of the year when they are not in high demand, teachers can often find discounted prices.

For example, buying backpacks and notebooks at the end of summer or purchasing holiday decorations after the holidays can lead to significant savings. Additionally, taking advantage of clearance sales and promotional events can also help teachers stretch their supply budgets further.

So don’t wait until you’re running low on essentials – plan ahead and shop off-season for discounted supplies.

Creative ways to save on teacher supplies

Moneysaving tips for educators on supplies

Seek out teacher discounts

Teachers can stretch their supply budget by seeking out teacher discounts. Many retailers, both online and brick-and-mortar stores, offer special discounts for educators. These discounts can range from a percentage off the total purchase to exclusive deals on school supplies.

By taking advantage of these teacher discounts, teachers can save money on everything from classroom decorations to basic supplies like pens and paper. It’s worth checking with local businesses as well, as some may also offer special pricing for educators.

With a little research and effort, teachers can find affordable ways to stock their classrooms without breaking the bank.


In conclusion, teachers have numerous easy and budget-friendly options for saving on supplies. By utilizing resources like Freecycle, Donors Choose, and local charitable organizations, they can find free or discounted materials.

Additionally, strategic shopping tips such as making a list, shopping sales, and utilizing coupons can help stretch their supply budgets even further. With these practical strategies in mind, teachers can ensure they have everything they need for their students without breaking the bank.


1. What are some easy ways to save on supplies as a teacher?

Economical strategies for teachers include using coupon matchups, finding affordable educational materials, and exploring discounted classroom supplies.

2. Are there any budget-friendly tips specially for teachers to get supplies?

Yes! Teachers can go through practical strategies such as buying thrifty teacher supplies during sales, practicing frugal teaching strategies or shopping costeffective teacher resources.

3. Can creative methods help me cut costs on my classroom’s needs? 

Definitely! Creative ways could include recycling or reusing items you already have around the room which often helps in economical school materials procurement.

4. How can I stretch my supply budget significantly as a teacher?

Smart spending approaches like bulk purchases of inexpensive educational supplies and taking advantage of moneysaving tips specifically for educators can stretch your supply budget farther.

5. Are there any efficient techniques that could reduce expenses on teaching aids?

Certainly, utilizing budgetfriendly school supplies sales or events and implementing wise spending habits can effectively reduce the expenses involved in procuring necessary teaching aids.

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