That's why it's always a good time to take control of the situation and implement some of these common money saving tips for the classroom:
- Maximize tax deductions - Teachers can write off supplies purchased for the classroom. So make sure you make the most of tax write-offs by saving receipts and filing for all available deductions.
- Ask parents for donations - Send a letter home to your students' parents, politely asking them to donate anything they can spare. This may include gently used books, learning games, or even cash donations. Afterward, lead the students in a Language Arts lesson of writing thank-you notes to any benefactors.
- Explore used book options - Public library bookstores, garage sales, and thrift shops are just three of the places that offer very cheap used books. It may take a little time and patience to sort through the stacks, but the bargains you find will certainly be worth the effort.
- Go electronically green - Save money from your copying budget by emailing more of your communications, rather than using hard copies. For example, your class newsletter can reach parents more efficiently and ecologically through email. Look for creative ways to save money and paper through technology.
- Save scraps - Set up a bin where students can deposit colorful paper scraps to use in future art projects. This will cut down on the amount of construction paper you need to buy.
- Design more group projects - Rather than printing individuals sheets for each student, consider creating increased opportunities for group work which requires one sheet per group instead.
- Cooperate and find power in numbers - During the next team meeting, brainstorm with your colleagues on ways that you can share resources and work together to save money. Borrow each other's resources, devising a give-and-take that benefits all.
- Scavenge for hand-me-downs - Keep an eye out for retiring educators who may be liquidating a career's worth of supplies. Often, these teachers are just giving the resources away.
- Hold a fundraiser - Consult the parent volunteers in your classroom and ask for their help in holding a fundraiser. Partner up with local businesses and see what you can do. Every little bit helps.