You’ve done your budgeting and you’re ready to purchase! Don’t be overwhelmed – we’re here to help! Shopping for school supplies can be a ton of fun and it doesn’t have to break the bank. We’ve done the research for you and are about to share some savings hacks that you can use when doing your back-to-school OR mid-year restock shopping.
Before you begin, be sure to check online for any applicable coupons or sales. Also, be sure you know which stores offer teachers discounts. For example, both Michael’s and JoAnn Fabric offer a 15% off teacher discount. Barnes & Noble offers 20% off books purchased for the classroom and during the month of August, and on Saturdays and Sundays, they offer additional discounts for those with the Educator Card.
Pull out that smartphone and start saving! These are our favorite money-saving apps that follow us on every shopping trip:
ibotta: enables users on the app to earn cash back on in-store and mobile purchases with receipt.
Target’s Cartwheel: by scanning item barcodes, you can save before you purchase, vs. getting cash back after.
There are many more money-saving and cash-back apps for your convenience. It may seem overwhelming at first, but start with just one at the place you shop the most, and then keep adding apps to save you money.
Now that we’re ready to do the physical shopping, we need to choose where to do it! Are we going to stay in our PJs and whip out the Amazon Prime account? Or are we making it an afternoon at the mall? There are pros and cons to both shopping online and shopping in person. Work through the following comparison to decide from there which suits your situation better. Don’t forget, you can always split it up and use both methods!
A Quick Note About Storage
As you are collecting your school items, it is important to consider where you will store your supplies until the school year starts. Like your shopping methods, there are pros and cons to storing these items at school or in your home. It is essential that you make this process work for you. A couple of ideas to consider when it comes to storage:
- Are you able to access the school during the summer?
- Will storing these items at home affect your personal life?
- What do you store these supplies in (i.e. tubs or containers)? Will that affect their quality when it’s time to set them up in your classroom?
- Do you have transportation to get all of your supplies to the school from your home?
Teachers and Taxes
Anything that you purchase for your classroom with your own money: keep your receipts for tax purposes! Be sure to label them so you know why you have kept them. For example, “Classroom 2018-2019.” Put the receipts in a safe place that you can remember. Perhaps try putting a note or reminder in your phone! You may not be a tax pro, but TurboTax is! Be sure to check out this article on Teacher Deductions during tax season.
Budgeting Tip: Keep your budgeting charts and lists to use as a reference for the following year. This will be a great way to see what you used/didn’t need and what you had to restock. Why not save yourself some work and reuse them (with a few updates of course!).
The article referenced above states that $250 is the maximum deduction amount for teachers. We understand that it is likely you will exceed this, but we still feel it is essential to hang on to every receipt no matter it’s amount. The reason is this: be mindful and forward-thinking. Teachers are fighting hard, pushing for change and if that change comes in the form of educator expense deductions, you will want to be prepared.
Now that you have your plan for purchasing, let’s see if we can help you find a little extra money to put towards those classroom supplies. Have a look at this post outlining some of the funding resources that are available to teachers!
Want to start earning FREE supplies for your classroom? ClassTag is a free, easy-to-use collaborative platform that lets teachers effortlessly engage with parents and earn ClassTag Coins when parents and teachers communicate, volunteer, or attend school events like parent-teacher conferences. Teachers can then take those ClassTag coins to purchase much-needed supplies. Explore ClassTag today!