I'm pretty lucky in that my school provides pretty much everything we NEED. We always have pencils, markers, and paper at our disposal. There's a copy center for printing and at least one computer in every classroom. But it's generally understood that if you WANT your classroom to be a pleasant and appealing place to be, you're going to end up shelling out some of your own hard-earned moolah. I don't mind that so much, but I do like to find a good deal.
I've recently re-realized that....brace yourselves....not all teachers go to the Dollar Tree. GASP!!!!!!!!!! I know. Ok, so I know that there aren't Dollar Trees everywhere, but most towns have some similar version of a dollar store.
I vividly remember my first Dollar Tree awakening. It was my first year of teaching and I was about $600 in debt thanks to Lakeshore Learning (home of the most beautiful and overpriced teaching resources on the planet). A veteran teacher looked at me and said, "Are you crazy? You know you can get all this stuff at the Dollar Tree, right?" My. Whole. World. Changed.
So it's likely that you are thinking, DUH. But if this post reaches even ONE new teacher in need of supplies who isn't in on this very important secret, I'll consider it a success.
On a recent pilgrimage to my mecca, I wanted to buy everything and *needed* nothing. So the inspiration for this post struck - I had almost as much fun snapping pics of everything I wanted as I would have actually buying it. I didn't get much of a chance to take pics inside my classroom, but trust me, they could restock the store from Room 302.
Mind you, the folks at the DT are no dummies. They're on to us. They have an entire Teacher's Corner. It's amaaaaaazing.
It's where I buy pretty much all my little incentives and reward certificates - so much cheaper than the teacher supply stores. They also have sentence strips, parts of speech cards, maps, etc.
This is where I buy my "Turner Tickets" - a BIG deal in my classroom. :) Three of those bad boys will earn you a trip to the prize bin.
As you may have guessed, my prize bin is stocked entirely from the Dollar Tree - sure it's all junk, but there's plenty of junk that will actually work well enough to satisfy a 9 year old. Like these bubbles that are 6/$1 and a huge hit with my kiddos.
I probably have 100 of these foam dice in my classroom. They are perfect for math centers because they don't get lost or make noise, plus kids love taking them as prizes from the prize bin.
I only made the mistake of spending big money on my recess bin one year. It would have been more efficient for me to just drop kick my wallet over the fence and into oncoming traffic, because that is what happened to all my expensive kickballs that year. In addition to stocking up on cheaper balls and jump ropes at DT, I also love this egg-shaped sidewalk chalk.
And ohhhhh the office supplies!! So many office supplies. I love office supplies. HOW CUTE are these composition books? I could not justify them on this trip, but I am determined to find a reason to go back for them.
Another AHHHHHHHH moment in my life: realizing that spending $5 on a gift bag from Target or CVS was uneccessary when good ol' DT had an entire wall of them.
This is Ringo. You can't buy him at the Dollar Tree, but he's the cutestlittlesmooshieintheworld and I snuck him into this picture-heavy post because I felt it important to share his cuteness with the world.
Love these little dry erase boards for a buck each.
And then....the bins. This is what sealed the deal for me on my first trip. I could not believe how ripped off I'd been on BINS before coming to the Dollar Tree. Seriously, I will never buy a container anywhere else in my life.
More bins in action:
And to clean it all up....
Do you have a favorite dollar store deal to share? How do you save money when you need to buy supplies for your classroom? I'd love to hear your secrets in the comment section! :)