A Guide to Cheap School Supplies
Often, teachers will use their own money to decorate and provide supplies for their classrooms. And teachers surely don’t have millions of dollars to buy supplies. That’s why we’ve scoured the internet to find the most affordable quality school supplies that all teachers can use, as well as resources for additional supplies. See below for our full list.
Teachers, if you have any cheap school supplies we missed, let us know in the comments below.
Bulk oops pencils – $25 for 432
Students lose, break, and forget pencils all the time. Buy a pack of “oops” pencils from U.S. School Supply. These pencils can’t be sold in custom packs due to mistakes made in the manufacturing process (often misprints of words and names) so U.S. School Supply packages them together and sells them on the cheap. $25 gets you over 430 pencils, costing about 6 cents per pencil!
Teacher Special Sharpener – $14 – $25 each depending on order size
When you buy over 400 pencils, you’re going to need a sharpener to keep them on point. But electric sharpeners and the standard gear crank sharpeners are loud and distracting, especially when used during class. Insert the Teacher Special sharpener from ClassroomFriendlySupplies.com.
Created by teachers for teachers, this sharpener is not only cheap but quiet and portable, allowing students to use it at their desks without distracting others.
Bulk Mechanical Pencils and Lead – $18.25 for 48 pencils/$8.75 for 24 tubes of lead
Or just skip the sharpening all together and check out U.S. School Supply for bulk mechanical pencils. A pack of 48 BIC mechanical pencils is just $18.25 (or 38 cents per pencil!) while lead varies between $8.75 for 24 tubes of lead to $54.15 for 144 tubes. See all U.S. School Supply mechanical pencils here.
Mini Whiteboards (from Shower Board) – $10 – $15 (depending on material used) for 40 boards
Small, desk sized whiteboards can get pricey, especially when you need 30+ of them! Instead of breaking the bank for small whiteboards, utilize a trick experienced teachers have known about for decades: shower board! Shower board is sold at hardware stores like Home Depot and Lowes for about $10-$15 per sheet depending on the material used (see full list here) and are Dry-Erase marker friendly. One large sheet creates 40 white boards if you follow these instructions.
Hoot of Loot is a website that helps teachers sell their old classroom décor and supplies. By shopping at Hoot of Loot, you are supporting other teachers. You’re also able to narrow your search by zip code and category. And if you ever change grade levels, you’ll be able to sell your classroom décor too!
Craigslist.org is often crowded with retiring teachers unloading their old school supplies and classroom décor (especially in the summer!). You can find lots of great deals with some quick searches (and sometimes supplies can even be free). Use the keywords “teacher” and “classroom” in both the For Sale and Free categories.
Scour your local yard sales for anything that can double as school supplies. You never know what you might find!
Office Supply Stores – Ask the Manager!
While office supply stores like Office Depot and Staples are probably a pretty obvious place to shop for supplies, remember this tip. Often, these stores will have sales where folders and other supplies are extremely cheap, but there is a limit to the amount you can buy. Don’t hesitate to ask a manager to lift the sales limit. Just explain that you’re a teacher and they should be able to override the limit. If all else fails, bring friends to take advantage of the great discounts!