15 Ways to Save Money as a Teacher (Insurance, Supplies, & More)

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Teaching is a labor of love. It’s not a profession to enter because it pays the big bucks. This usually means that teachers live on a budget but still find time to fill their own classrooms with supplies and decorations. 

Luckily there are many discounts available to teachers on everything from books and classroom supplies to car insurance. This article discusses discounts and tips teachers can use to provide a great educational experience and create an optimal learning environment for their students while staying on budget.

#1 – Auto Insurance Savings for Teachers

It is helpful to find out if your insurance company offers a teacher discount to save money on your auto insurance policy. Other discounts for teachers could include a safe driver discount or low mileage discounts. Many variables affect your insurance rates and teachers can receive these discounts to save money on auto insurance premiums. 

Make sure you ask an agent or check out the company’s website for the details regarding an educator’s discount or any other applicable discounts. These small auto insurance premium savings can add up over the long term. 

#2 – Ask Your Colleagues for Classroom Supplies

Before heading out to buy new supplies or decorations, ask your colleagues if they have any items they would like to donate. You might find some hidden treasures among items that have already been used or they want to get rid of. 

This may be especially helpful if other teachers are retiring or leaving to go to another school. You might help take items off their hands that would otherwise be moved, sold, or thrown away. 

#3 – Ask Parents for Classroom Donations

If it is possible, ask the parents to donate items for your classroom at the beginning of the school year. You might be surprised at what parents are willing to donate or purchase for your classroom. 

Some parents may also have connections in the community or own businesses that might donate items for your classroom. They may volunteer or work for organizations or companies that want to lend a helping hand. 

You could also send out wish lists from time to time. You might develop a beginning-of-the-year wish list and a mid-year wish list. 

#4 – Shop the After-Holiday Sales

You may notice that many stores offer a deep discount on items after the holiday is over. This is a great time to stock up on decorations, prizes, or other fun items for next year. You may have to plan ahead to take advantage of these sales, but it is a great way to save 50% or more off these items. 

#5 – Use Coupons to Save Money

This is an easy trick because you can’t go wrong with coupons to save money. You can find coupons online or in the newspaper. You can also find coupons available through a store’s mobile app. 

#6 – Shop at Discount Stores for Teacher Supplies

There are many budget-friendly stores that sell items for $1. These items may not be the best quality but they are great for prizes, giveaways, or decorating your classroom. 

#7 – Ask Local Businesses for Donations

Businesses and organizations in your community may be more than willing to donate money or supplies for your classroom. You might even find a business that wants to “adopt” your classroom or students. 

#8 – Combine Orders With Colleagues

Sometimes a bulk order may come with a higher discount, so share orders with colleagues to save a little money. A bulk purchase can lead to quite the savings if you are able to use all the items that are ordered. Keep in mind that paying in full, paying in bulk, and being able to pay in advance almost always provides great savings. 

#9 – Ask for an Educator Discount

Whether you are shopping for personal items or items for your classroom, always ask if a store or company has an educator discount. You may find discounts on cellphone plans, books, classroom supplies, electronics, tickets, and clothing. 

Other companies may also offer cash back from certain stores. You can find lists of stores that offer educator discounts online. Some stores may not openly publicize their educator discount, but you will never know until you ask. 

#10 – Apply for Grants for Teachers

National and local organizations may offer grants to educators. You can also ask your colleagues if they have had success with any grants or want to work together on a grant proposal. 

#11 – Educator Tax Deductions

Teachers can claim up to $250 for teaching supplies, with no need to itemize. Make sure to include this information for your accountant or include it on your tax return if you complete your own taxes. 

#12 – Compare Prices Online

There are many good tips to help you save money while shopping online. Shopping on the right days and asking for price adjustments if the price drops are a few tips.

There are also resources online that will help you find the best deals when comparing online items. For example, you can install an extension on your browser that will find coupon codes and others that will compare prices on Amazon to other websites. 

#13 – Try Yard Sales for Classroom Items

Yard sales are a great place to find new, gently used, or unique items for your classroom. You will have to scout them out early, but it is worth it if you can find some great bargains. 

#14 – Ask College Students for Donations

College students may have notebooks, writing utensils, or other supplies that they would like to get rid of at the end of a semester or the end of a school year. You may want to partner with professors or residence hall staff to ask the college students if they have items they are willing to donate. 

Many students are moving out of their residence halls at the end of the school year and may have things they want to throw away instead of taking with them. You might be able to find lamps, rugs, supplies, or other items that would otherwise be thrown away. 

#15 – Teachers Pay Teachers

Teachers Pay Teachers is just one example of a website that offers reasonably priced lesson plans created by other teachers. So not only are you building your selection of inexpensive lesson plans, but you are also helping fellow teachers by purchasing items from them. 

Saving Money Takes Creativity and Effort

Being a teacher is one of the most rewarding jobs, and that’s one of the reasons why people get into teaching. With a little extra work and creativity, you can find budget-friendly ways to purchase supplies, decorations, and other items to make your classroom fun and engaging.