Back-to-school shopping tips for teachers

In the crush of back-to-school media coverage, the spotlight is mainly on parents and students. Teachers can get lost in the mix. But we’ve got your back, educators. Here’s our list for making back-to-school shopping easier for you.

Saving time

Online shopping is a huge time-saver. Buy online and pick up in store, or take advantage of free shipping provided by many rewards programs for educators.

Also try keeping a running list of the supplies and materials you need and place an order when inventory gets low. You’ll have your stock replenished before you run out and avoid unnecessary trips to the store.

Another tip: Don’t wait. Pick up classroom materials like art supplies, paper clips, posters and other items throughout the year, including small quantities of items you put on the students’ list — because you know a few kids may have forgotten. Stockpile these items so you aren’t pressed for time right before your students come back to school.

Saving money

Before you spend a dime, check with your principal or department chair, says Arizona high school teacher Carrie Deahl. Some items may be purchased in bulk by the school, district or a community organization; or there may be restrictions on what teachers can purchase.

“Check with your PTA,” adds Terry Steiner, a fifth-grade teacher in Washington State. “They might fund all or part of your needs. My PTA provides $200 per year for supplies.” Textbook publishers also offer some discount programs, and national organizations like can help reduce the cost associated with specific projects.
Rack up bigger savings through rewards programs for teachers, like Staples Classroom Rewards, which provides exclusive deals, free shipping and special offers on teaching and art supplies. Weekly deals, circulars and coupons also provide additional savings opportunities.

Use these tips to save time and money on your back to school shopping and you’ll earn good grades for efficiency and thriftiness!