Back-to-school season isn’t just for students, my friends.
As thousands of schools have been opening their doors, teachers have been working tirelessly setting up classrooms, preparing lesson plans and printing materials for their students.
In a school spending survey, almost 80% of teachers say they use their own money on material supplies in what amounts to a $1 billion annual spend for their classrooms.
That is a LOT of money. And many teachers don’t have the extra to spend.
As a former high school teacher whose sister is a pre-K teacher, whose in-laws are former educators, and whose husband is an elementary school principal, I can absolutely empathize.
I remember vividly the days of saving pennies for classroom supplies and begging the PTA for reimbursement. It wasn’t easy.
With that amount of money spent on back-to-school prep, it’s no wonder educators are constantly searching for tips on cutting back.
Several of my teacher friends with more than 60 years of combined classroom experience shared seven money and time-saving tips for this school year.
Whether you are a classroom teacher or a supportive parent, knowing these tips is hugely helpful. Keep this information in your back pocket. Share it. Use it to drive your support for school fundraisers or classroom gifts.
Here’s the skinny. . .
Save Money and Time this School Year: 7 Classroom Hacks for Teachers
1. Preserve materials you’ll use multiple times.
Shannon Lisowe, from Speechy Musings, laminates useful visuals, pages, and books and stores them in a binder to make it easy to grab and go from year to year. “It’s a little more cost and time upfront, but it will absolutely save you in the long run!”
2. Reduce printing costs with a subscription service.
Many teachers have printers in their classrooms but very little budget to print. Between activities for lessons or centers, many teachers end up printing up to 300+ pages per month.
HP’s Instant Ink program allows subscribers to save time and money by delivering ink cartridges at a fraction of the cost of store-bought ink, right to your door. This program offers a month-to-month subscription and you can cancel anytime. Plans start as low as $2.99/month which can save teachers TONS of money on ink. I mean tons.
“I do not feel guilty about printing games and activities for my students because I am not having to spend a fortune out of my own pocket!” Chandra Dills, from Teaching with Crayons and Curls.
Photo Credit: TeachingWithCrayonsAndCurls.com
I use HP Instant Ink for my home, and I’d be lost without it. I love it. With three kids in 7th, 5th, and 4th grades, my kids already do a lot of printing. HP Instant Ink takes one thing off of my list of things to remember. Your compatible HP printer communicates low ink levels to HP, so ink is delivered to your door before you run out.
“My favorite thing about HP Instant Ink is the fact that not only is the ink inexpensive, but it is shipped to your door so you never have to leave your house!” – Lauren Shirk, a K-3 Reading Intervention teacher from A Teachable Teacher.
There are so many perks packaged into the HP Instant Ink program that extend beyond ease and convenience. For example, Jennifer Kadar, from SimplyKinder, has referred enough friends to receive free ink until 2020! “It’s effortless.” With the HP Instant Ink Refer-a-Friend program, you and the friend you refer receive a free month of ink. The best part is the amounts of referrals are unlimited! “The HP Instant Ink program is made for teachers. Period.”
Photo Credit: SimplyKinder.com
HP Instant Ink also offers great options for teachers who are tired of only printing in black and white to save on costs. Kristin Oldham, from A Teeny Tiny Teacher, loves the aspect of being able to print in color too, for the same price. “I love how I don’t have to prioritize what I will print in color or what I will print from home vs. school.”
You can learn more about HP Instant Ink by visiting www.hpinstantink.com.
3. Organize your space.
Vanessa Levin, from Pre-K Pages, recommends a well-organized and fully functional classroom environment where materials necessary for teaching and learning are easily accessible to both teachers and students. “Clear the clutter. If it hasn’t been used in one year, toss it. Lighten the load to make more time for teaching and learning.”
4. Be a smart shopper.
Getting ready for back to school is costly. Cut back on costs by visiting local thrift shops. “You’ll be amazed at how many goodies you can find for little to nothing for your classrooms.” Traci Bender, special education teacher for grades 3-5 from The Bender Bunch.
5. Stock up during back-to-school sale events.
Buy as many 1-cent composition books and packs of paper as possible, and ask friends and neighbors to buy them, too. Many states offer tax-free weekends for school supplies. Kallie Lerchbacker, who is going into her third year of teaching says, “Don’t buy everything all at once. It’s okay to have a classroom that is not decorated like a Pinterest classroom. Also, it’s good to make/print your own centers because the stations from the teacher stores are very expensive.”
6. Hone your parent-teacher presentation.
Teachers like Vanessa Levin from Pre-K Pages, admit that parent-teacher nights can be nerve-wracking. Calm your nerves by planning and anticipating parents’ questions. Vanessa suggests creating a parent handbook to arm yourself with the answers they are looking for. This way you will appear confident and knowledgeable and parents will be at ease knowing their child is in good hand
7. Ask for donations.
You might be surprised to learn how many of your students’ families have extras around the house that you can use in the classroom. Make a list at the beginning of the school year with everything you might need: tissues, hand sanitizer, crayons, glue, etc. and send it home with each student. Even indoor recess activities can be supplied via donations if families have extra puzzles or games sitting around.
What do you think? How do you support your child’s teacher, or if you are a teacher, how do you save money in the classroom?
Curious about HP Instant Ink? You should be!
To receive one free month of ink, sign up using this link: HP INSTANT INK refer-a-friend. Once you try it, share the link, friends! For every person who signs up, the friend and I each get a month of free ink. It’s a win-win!
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fyi: This post was written as part of my partnership with Hewlett-Packard and MyPrintly.com. As a MyPrintly Ambassador, I get a chance to try out a bunch of cool, new HP products and services. HP Instant Ink is one of them. As always, though, opinions and ideas are all my own, influenced only by my experience as a parent and educator.
also: Some of the links in the post above are “refer-a-friend links.” This means if you click on the link and sign up for HP Instant Ink, you will get a free month of ink and I will get a free month of ink. Forever and always I recommend only products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” For more information, please see teachmama media, llc. disclosure policy.