By Whooo’s Reading Blog Team
You know you spend a lot out of pocket each year—a total of 1.6 billion between 3.5 million teachers, to be exact—but there are many ways to cut back. Use these tips to keep some of your hard earned cash where it belongs: in your bank account.
Always Choose Free First
There are so many free resources available, there’s no reason not to test those before shelling out for a subscription or paid version. Use these lists to start your search for free apps, tools and ideas:
- 5 Free Reading Tools to Boost Creativity and Collaboration
- 12 Free Documentaries to Boost Engagement
- 20 Websites for Free Reading Comprehension Worksheets
Go to Your Principal
You might be able to get some of your favorite tools paid for by the school if you can prove that it’s an important addition to your classroom. For example, Whooo’s Reading improves reading comprehension, gives teachers actionable standards-aligned data, and is Title 1 approved.
Instead of paying for it out of your own pocket, ask your principal to pay for a school-wide account so everyone can take advantage and you pay less—plus you get more with a school-wide account, including auto-grading of open-ended questions. Check it out here.
Use the Teacher Card
You may not know that teachers get discounts at many places, including museums and aquariums. You also qualify for discounts on magazines, software, books and classroom supplies and kits. Check out this extensive list of where and how teachers can get free goods, compiled by USA Test Prep.
Ask for Donations
You’d be amazed at how generous local businesses are. Head to your local computer repair shop, for example, and see if they have older devices they’d be willing to lend or give to your classroom for the year. Offer to give their business card to parents and the deal will be mutually beneficial. Consider what businesses you can work with to get classroom supplies, books and more.
Start a DIY Drive
The idea is simple: DIY-ing is the most inexpensive way of creating materials, decorations and more for your classroom. But once you’ve run out of fun items at home, it’s back to the store to spend money. Instead, ask parents to bring in random items they no longer need, or collect items like toilet paper rolls and egg cartons for you. Organize a drive a few times a year for your classroom or the whole school. Instead of asking parents buying items, which they may not want or be able to do, you can give them an opportunity to help in other ways.
Claim Educator Tax Deductions
This is an easy one to miss but a good one for saving a few bucks this year. “There’s a $250 above-the-line deduction for classroom supplies (which means no need to itemize, holla!), as well as a tuition and professional development deduction if you’ve been continuing your own education,” according to WeAreTeachers.
Apply for a Grant
This is a long-term savings plan, but not one to ignore. Head to NEAFoundation.org or KINF.org (Kids in Need Foundation) to see how you can get what you need for both your classroom and your students.
Crowdfund Your Needs
If you need something right away, this may not be the best method. But if you know you want to invest in technology for your students, or have plans for a big end-of-the-year field trip, use Donors Choose, StartSomeGood or GoFundMe. Get students involved too; they can help write the description, come up with the amount you need to ask for and more.