Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Budget Tips and Tricks for Beginning Teachers

I am guilty.  I was that first year teacher who spent SO much on my classroom year one.  I poured (and still continue to) my heart and wallet into my classroom.  However, there were definitely things I bought that I didn't need and tips that would have saved me so much money in the long run. 

Budget tips and tricks - simple ways to save money in your classroom, advice I wish I knew as a first year and beginning teacher!

1.  Think hard about your "theme". 

I wanted a safari room.  I had gone to South Africa my senior year of college and loved it so much that I wanted to turn my classroom into my own little piece of Africa.  I went to the teacher stores and got all the cute teacher-y stuff with lions and elephants on it.  I had borders, posters, artwork, pillows, signs...you name it, I had it.  Well a year or two passed and that theme was no longer attractive to me.

My suggestion - go easy with the theme (totally not saying to avoid a theme...I am all about some ocean, cactus, safari, donut - themed rooms), but pick a color scheme that you will LOVE and just add themed accents here and there.

My current room is now just black and primary colors.  There are very few traces of safari left, but I can do so much more with what I have now and my purchases are going to last me much longer!

2.  Don't be afraid to ask!

Amazon Wish Lists, Donors Choose, and Social Media are your friends!  Everyone knows how much money teachers spend on their classrooms and chances are, your friends, family, and community are willing to help.

I always do a Wish List during my meet the teacher.  Most families are kind enough to pick up an extra item and send it in.  This is an easy way to go dry erase markers, play-doh, stickers, or other inexpensive items that you need.

When we have special events, I send out an Amazon Wish List.  I love this because then I know exactly what will be coming in.  Sometimes it can be hard to communicate what you need with families.

Donors Choose projects are amazing for bigger items!  I have had a handful funded.  My best advice, keep the project $500 or less.  You can always do multiple projects!

3.  Don't get sucked up in the trends!

I bought a light up letter board.  I bought the accessories.  I made my own slides to go in.  Guess how much I use it!  I don't.  I should've waited another month and seen if I still wanted it.  I would have quickly realized that it was not needed at all.  I didn't even have a real purpose for it...

4.  Spend money on the things that make you happy!

I have taught for 5 years.  There are many things that have entered my classroom and not been used or have left the next year.  However, there are many things that I. could. not. live. without.

These are the items that keep me sane in my classroom.  These are the items that have had a home in my classroom for 5 years and will continue to have a home in my classroom as long as I teach. 

These are the items that I consider to be "A Teacher's Best Friend".

Flair Pens - I use these for EVERYTHING.  They are the best pens ever.  If you haven't tried them, you need to now.

Budget tips and tricks - simple ways to save money in your classroom, advice I wish I knew as a first year and beginning teacher!

Stapler - Not just any stapler, but this one is SO perfect.  It requires 0 effort to staple things into the walls or cork strips.  It never rarely jams.  I will not use any other stapler.

Image result for paperpro 1000 stapler

Expo Markers - No explanation needed for this one - these are the best.

Image result for expo markers

Pre-sharpened pencils - because who has spare time to keep all the pencils sharp?  Sounds silly, but this saves me so much time!

Image result for pre sharpened pencils

Sit Spots - these are so versatile, come in so many colors, and are so easy to move around.  It is a much cleaner look than a carpet, in my eyes at least!

Image result for sit spots

What are your MUST HAVES that have been with you for years and years in your classroom?

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