Saturday, July 26, 2014

Back to School... without breaking the bank.

Let's face it. Back to School is upon us and it can be an expensive season for teachers no matter where you live or where you teach. If you're like me, some of your sweet, new students will show up without a single supply on that first day. Some of you may start teaching at a new school and the supply list didn't cover what you needed for your classroom routines. Some of you may love to be hyper organized, and therefore you have to put some of your own pennies into those organizational bins, labels, color coded tape and favorite pens.
All this stuff adds up and if you're a teacher on a budget, here are a few ways to make your dollar go as far as possible this school year:

Make sure you get all the way to the bottom of this post for some awesome digital savings tips!

1. Shop your local dollar stores (Family Dollar, Dollar General, Dollar Tree...)
I have to say that these places are not my favorite, but sometimes they seriously come in handy. For simple craft and school supplies, you can't really argue with $1. Most of these locations even sell headphones so if your room is in need of some of those, these stores could be your place! Here's a sneak peek of something I worked up for my classroom thanks to Family Dollar...

2. Target Cartwheel App
This place is dangerous. Pretty much everyone in America is guilty of going into this store and walking out with carts full of things they don't necessarily need, myself included! But this awesome app is a great way to generate some savings, instead of just pure spending! Check out the website for it here. The app can be downloaded through the Apple Store and GooglePlay. It's free, so find some wi-fi and download it! You can scroll through hundreds of things that are on sale, add the ones you need to your personal list, and have the cashier scan your barcode at checkout. Instant savings! I snagged a neat 50 piece set of Crayola markers for my classroom a week or 2 ago for 20% off. I've also saved on Keurig K-Cups (ahem... coffee lovers, here ya go!), an outdoor rug (think classroom!), and other various odds and ends! Also keep an eye out for Target school supply sales. They're popping up weekly!

3. Wal-Mart
Have you heard about what Wal-Mart is doing this year?!?! Maybe they have done it in the past, but it's the first I've heard of it! You go buy what you need for back to school before July 31st, you take your receipt and register it online by August 15th, and they'll send you back a gift card for 10% of your purchase! If you have kids and a classroom, this could be some serious savings! For more info, read about it here.

4. Michaels Craft Store
For the crafty teacher, this place offers an abundance of savings! Your entire purchase is 15% off everyday, just because you chose the greatest profession in the world. Click here for details. Make sure to check out their online coupons before you check out, too. You can snag a coupon from anywhere between 25% and 50% off. If you already belong to their program, expect the ad pictured below in your mailbox! I can't get over how cute it is!
 For those of you who don't craft, Michaels also sells Crayola brand supplies, awesome organizational baskets, drawers, and cabinets that are almost always on sale. For those of you who love these 10 drawer carts, they're 50% off already! I have one that I keep my materials for each day of the week in, a drawer for extra copies, math aids, printer paper, and more. It's pretty sturdy for the price, too!

5. Hobby Lobby
While they don't have a teacher program that I know about, they do have 40% off coupons available every single day! Just download one on your phone before checking out and the discount gets applied to your most expensive item. Keep an eye out for their particular sales too, the discounts are always nice!

6. The Container Store
We talked about this amazing mecca in my last post! Make sure you sign up for their Organized Teacher program. If you have before, remember that you have to RENEW every year! Sign up here!!

7. Jo-Ann's Fabric and Crafts
Another crafty-licious store I love. Just like Michaels the whole store is on sale for a teacher every time they shop! Sign up for their card (you must renew yearly here, too) here! For more than the daily 15% off, they'll send you coupons just about every month and you can apply those to all kinds of purchases. I find this store to be the best choice for fabric if you need it in your classroom. While my classroom lacks windows, I do put up little curtains over a section of our cubbies. Makes my whole room look more organized!

8. Office Depot & Office Max
Both of these stores offer discounts for teachers (have your ID handy!) as well as some amazing discounts on classroom items like folders and spiral notebooks. Ask your local store about specific details on teacher-only sale items. Great way to stock up for your classroom! Check out what they have to offer over here!

10. Staples
While they offer teachers 5% back on purchases and free shipping online, I stop here for their store brand color coded binder clips. They also have some pretty sweet savings in their weekly Ads when Back to School season kicks off.

11. Barnes & Noble
There isn't anything quite like the smell of a bookstore. It's got to be a teacher thing... Sign up for a Barnes & Noble Educator Card and get 20% off purchases for your classroom all year long. If they don't have what you need in the store, make sure you check online!

Needing teacher clothes? Check this list:

12. J. Crew
This place is great for some solid t-shirts and professional looking, but still stylish, tops and bottoms. You get 15% off your whole purchase. Just show your ID!

13. LOFT
Another 15% off all full price items, savings! Show ID at checkout. 

14. The Limited
Following in the footsteps of the last 2, they offer 15% off their whole store! Don't forget your ID or a valid paystub! 

15. New York & Co.
On trend, they offer 15% off your whole purchase. 

16. Banana Republic
Last but not least, Banana offers 15% off of their entire store, too!

Don't forget the DIGITAL savings! 

17. TeachersPayTeachers 
Do you know how to get the best discounts on TpT??? While you can find tons of great freebies (look on the left side of your screen after you've searched- you can click FREE and only see the items that won't cost you a penny!) you can also stretch your money even further by leaving positive feedback on all of your purchases. Taking just a second to leave feedback earns you TpT credits. You get 1 credit for each dollar you spend (they even round up for you!) Every 100 credits is $5 you can use on a product you want! And no, it doesn't hurt the seller of the product! TpT still pays them even if you choose to use your credits to pay for it. So be sure to leave feedback to get your credits!
Also, take the time to follow your favorite sellers on TpT, Facebook, or via their blogs if they have one. Many sellers have regular sales and their sales will pop up on your "TpT Newsfeed" so you can save even more from your favorite sellers!

18. Teacher Made Freebies 
Not too long ago, one of the sweet teachers who runs this Facebook page featured my "VIP- Very Important Parent Awards" on here! They seek out the best TpT freebies and share them right to your regular Facebook feed! Be sure to find their page and check it out! They're busy finding all the best Back to School freebies!

19. Craigslist or your local Teacher Swap page
Need a piece of furniture for your room or something big that's sure to cost a ton? Check Craigslist for different deals in your area. You can also look for a local Teacher Swap Facebook page in your city. Teachers post things they are getting rid of or that they are looking for. Great way to save money, and even make a little on the side!

For a country-wide list of stores that give a discount, click here! Happy Shopping!

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