Life as a teacher comes with an extensive list of responsibilities. Often, on top of your teaching duties, one of those responsibilities is for you to purchase your own classroom supplies. Having to stock your classroom with supplies can quickly turn your finances into a balancing act between personal and classroom needs. Supplies like pencils, folders and notebooks are the bare essentials for teaching and you shouldn’t have to break the bank to provide them for your students.
Many companies have programs for teachers to provide discounts on select items. Signing up for these programs is often as simple as presenting your valid teacher ID or verifying your credentials through a platform such as ID.me.
We’ve made a list of discounts for teachers on classroom supplies from top retailers along with other ways to help you save money on your classroom expenses.
Educator Discounts at Classroom Supplies Retailers
BLICK Art Materials
Teachers, as well as students, can get a 10% discount on in-store purchases along with other benefits from the BLICK Preferred Customer program.
How to Redeem: To qualify, you must present both a valid Preferred Customer Card and a current school ID card in store.
Good to Know: This discount applies only to non-sale, in-stock items and cannot be applied towards catalog, internet, or special orders.
Get 15% off classroom supplies when you enroll in Joann Fabrics’ Teacher Rewards Program.
How to Redeem: Shop in-store or online to redeem your discount. After registration, you will receive your JOANN Teacher Rewards digital discount card to use at checkout.
Good to Know: To enroll in this program you must fall under one of these three categories: be a certified, credentialed, or licensed teacher; a documented homeschool teacher; or have a current credential, license, or certification issued by your local, state, or federal government as a childcare provider.
Enjoy 15% off your purchase of classroom supplies, including sale items, when you sign up for the Michaels’ Teacher Discount Program. You can also connect this program to your Michaels Rewards account.
How to Redeem: For online and in-store purchases, provide your Michaels Rewards phone number at checkout. If you do not have a Michaels Rewards account, simply show your educator ID for in-store purchases.
Good to Know: This offer may not apply to certain items. This program will automatically sync to your Michaels Rewards account once you join.
National Education Association members can get discounts up to 85% off the cover price of select magazines.
How to Redeem: Create an account on the NEA Member Benefits website, then go to the NEA Magazine Service site to access this discount.
Get 10% off qualifying purchases, both regular and sale items.
How to Redeem: You can use the printable savings pass when shopping in person, or you can use your mobile device when shopping in-store and online.
Good to Know: You must present the coupon or savings pass during in-store checkout to receive the discount.
Pencils.com offers a 10% discount on all purchases with their Educator Discount Program.
How to Redeem: Apply and enroll in the Educators Discount Program directly on Pencils.com.
Good to Know: You must have a Pencils,com account in order to use the Educator discount program.
Get 5% back in Staples Rewards as well as 5% back in Classroom Rewards for when you sign up for the brand’s Classroom Rewards program.
How to Redeem: Download the Staples Connect app and present your in-app code at checkout.
Good to Know: You can view rewards you earned and those received from others on the Staples Connect app. Earned Classroom Rewards, which you can donate to another teacher or school, expire after 90 days of inactivity.
Enjoy discounts on qualified classroom supplies through the Target Circle Teacher Appreciation program.
How to Redeem: Join Target Circle for free by verifying your status with your school ID. Discounts are available for both in-store and online purchases.
Good to Know: Pricing, promotions, and availability may vary by location and on Target.com.
The Container Store
Enjoy discounts from 15% to 25% when you join the brand’s Organized Insider Program.
How to Redeem: To start saving, enroll in the Insider Program and get $10 off your first order.
Good to Know: For in-store purchases, you may be asked to present your teacher ID. If you don’t have a school ID, you can provide a teaching certificate or other proof of your current teaching status.
Seasonal Sales and Buying in Bulk
Taking advantage of seasonal sales is a great way to stretch your classroom budget further. Back to school sales can offer great price points, and later on, stores often mark down items to clear out inventory. Both of these times present the perfect opportunity to snag your classroom supplies at a much lower price.
Buying supplies in bulk is another opportunity to save when stocking your classroom. Retailers often offer significant discounts on bulk purchases, and while the initial price might be higher, the per-item cost is drastically reduced. Plus, buying items in bulk ensures that you will have a steady stock of supplies throughout the school year, and perhaps for years to come.
Crowdfunding and Donation Platforms
In today’s digital age, there are more options to save money beyond just looking for discounts while shopping. Platforms like DonorsChoose and AdoptAClassroom have made it possible for educators to connect with donors who are willing to support their classroom needs. By creating a personalized campaign detailing the items you need, you can get both financial and material help from donors across the country who understand the importance of supporting educators. These platforms not only let you advertise your specific needs, they also allow donors to see exactly where their donation is going. In addition to classroom supplies, you can also raise money for field trips, technology, and even specialized training courses. We know asking for help is not always easy, but with platforms like these it’s one more way to alleviate the financial pressure you may face as a teacher.
Reusing and Recycling Materials
How you treat used classroom items can have a great impact on the amount you spend on new supplies. Often enough, items are thrown away before they are fully used. Notebooks with only a few pages left, pencils that have run out of lead, and old out of date textbooks all have opportunities to continue being used. Old notebooks can be kept for class scratch paper, buying refills of lead for pencils is much cheaper than buying new pencils, and old textbooks can be cut up for decoration or art projects. Make sure you get the full use out of all your classroom supplies and consider repurposing them once they are done.
Another way to extend the life of your unused supplies is to see whether one of your fellow teachers could put them to good use. What might be unwanted in one classroom could be treasure to another. Creating a sharing system such as a “sharing shelf” at your school provides an opportunity for you to find a new home for your old supplies. You may also find supplies from other teachers that you can use, too. This is a great way to keep your classroom stocked and get the full value out of any supplies you no longer use.
Tips to Save Money on Classroom Supplies
Trying to buy classroom supplies at a low cost can be challenging, but with a few smart strategies, you can make each shopping trip a little more budget-friendly. Here are some tips to keep your classrooms well-stocked without stressing your wallet:
Encourage students to donate unused items
Many students have extra supplies left over at the end of the school year. Asking students to donate these leftover items can help you get ahead of your needs for the upcoming year.
Collaborate with fellow teachers for bulk purchases
As we covered earlier, buying items in bulk is a great way to save money, but the initial cost may be too expensive for you on your own. Buying these items with other teachers can help both of you save money.
Use digital resources to minimize paper use
The digital age offers a wide variety of resources that can minimize your need for supplies such as paper and pencils. And not only is this option easier on your budget, it’s also eco-friendly.
Seek donations from local business
Local businesses often enjoy supporting educators in their area. Asking these businesses for donations could save you money as well as create a positive connection between your classroom and your community.
Organize a school supply drive
Getting your community involved can have many benefits. Organizing a supply drive encourages more people to donate items, which not only stocks your classroom with supplies but also strengthens the school and community bond.
The bottom line
In the ever-changing landscape of education, one constant remains: the need for resources. When creativity meets necessity, amazing things can happen. Whether it’s finding the best discount, rallying community support, or sharing with other teachers, there are endless ways to ensure your classroom has everything you need. By adopting smart spending strategies and fostering a spirit of community, you can provide everything your students need without worrying about the cost.