Today’s post is written by special guest Amy Mascott
Teachers everywhere have been working tirelessly both in and out of their classrooms since school started. Preparing lesson plans and printing materials for their students is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to prepping numerous lessons every single day.
It will come as no surprise to most of you that almost 80% of teachers use their own money to buy materials and supplies for their classrooms, according to one recent survey. I’m not sure who those other 20% are, but I’d like to meet them! Annually, teachers spend $1 billion on their classrooms out of pocket. I don’t need to tell you that’s a LOT of money. And
many most teachers don’t have the extra to spend.
As a former high school teacher, sister of a Pre-K teacher, and wife of an elementary school principal, I can absolutely empathize. I remember vividly the days of saving pennies for necessary classroom supplies and begging the PTA for reimbursement. It wasn’t easy.
With that amount of money spent on supplies and materials for the classroom, 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 the classroom.
Whether you’re a classroom teacher or a supportive parent, these tips will come in handy. Keep this information in your back pocket. Share it. Use it to drive support for school fundraisers or classroom gifts.
Here’s the skinny. . .
7 Ways Teachers Can Save Time and Money
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 that you can cancel anytime. Plans start as low as $2.99/month which can save teachers TONS of money on ink. And I do 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.
Budget Friendly Printer Ink Service for Teachers
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.”
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 HERE.
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 hands.
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! You can sign up using this link.
About the Author:
Amy Kilpatrick Mascott is the creator of teachmama.com, where she shares tools and resources parents can use to become the best teachers they can be for their children. A Reading Specialist, writer, and literacy consultant. Her work has been featured on dozens of online and print publications, including Scholastic Parents, PBS Parents, readwritethink.org, PBS Digital Studios, and more. Check out her book Raising a Rock-Star Reader: 75 Quick Tips for Helping Your Child Develop a Lifelong Love for Reading.