Back-to-School Savings Tips for Teachers

For many teachers, heading back to school can be an exciting time. It is an opportunity for a fresh start and a chance to try new ideas. Sometimes it means teaching an entirely different grade or subject matter altogether. Luckily, summer vacation gives us plenty of time to recharge and plan for another fun-filled year. Yet, the weeks leading up to the first day of school can be stressful, especially for beginning teachers. They may often wonder, Do I have enough planned for the first week? Will my classroom be ready in time? What do I need to buy?

Organization is definitely essential when it comes to feeling prepared for the beginning of school. It is also a skill that can help you minimize personal spend since purchasing  classroom-related items can quickly add up. Here are some tips to help save you some of your hard-earned dollars.

Tip #1: Take inventory and make a list

If you are new to a school, it is always best to check with your administrator to find out what classroom necessities are generally supplied for teachers, such as photocopy paper, staplers, whole punchers, whiteboard markers, etc. Take an inventory of what is already in the classroom and what is often stocked in the storage room. Once you have established what you can obtain through your school, you can try to supplement with extra items you may already have at home. Also, don't be afraid to send a letter home to parents asking for inexpensive consumables such as boxes of tissue. These seem to be a hot commodity during the winter months. Then make a list of what you need to buy.

Tip #2: Determine your budget

Once you have made your list, figure out how much you are willing to spend. Buy the essentials and then re-evaluate what extra items you would like to purchase should there be any room left in your budget. Also, keep in mind that some schools will have an active parent council who are heavily involved in fundraising throughout the year. They may have allocated a stipend to help offset the cost of personal spending for teachers. Be sure to hold onto your receipts for reimbursement.

Tip #3: Take advantage of teacher savings

Many stores will offer discounts that are specific to teachers. Staples, for example, gives teachers a chance to save during their Teacher Appreciation days. This year, Staples makes it even easier for teachers to save money by extending 15% off your in-store purchases anytime between August 17 and September 7, 2013. This means you have three whole weeks to enjoy special savings! Don't forget to bring teacher identification and get some shopping done early. Teachers will receive a free Apple Post-it note dispenser gift, while quantities last.

Tip #4: Teachers can earn rewards, too!

Retail merchants that offer loyalty rewards programs are at the top of my list of places to shop. When coupled with promotional savings, I feel like I've won the lottery. Rewards points can turn into instant savings or even free merchandise. In the case of AIR MILES Reward Miles, it could mean a free trip! Last March, Staples Canada became the exclusive office products partner offering AIR MILES reward miles. Plus, teachers can earn 10x AIR MILES reward miles on purchases of $75 or more during Teacher Appreciation. Time to start planning your spring vacation!

Tip #5: Join the Staples Teacher Appreciation email program

The new Teacher Appreciation email program is definitely worth a gander. By signing up, you will receive money-saving coupons, special AIR MILES reward miles bonus offers, updates on teacher-related events, and you will be automatically entered to win cool monthly prizes!

By Diana Mancuso

August 08, 2013