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How to Find Teaching Materials on a Budget: Free and Clearance School Supplies and Educational Resources

Updated on August 26, 2015
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Educational Materials

Whether your child is home-schooled, attending private school, attending public school, or not yet in school, it is important to continue education at home. Finding educational materials beyond what is provided by the school can be difficult and expensive. This article has some tips on finding good resources at an affordable price. I hope this will serve as a good resource for teachers as well.

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Discount New School Supplies

I recently conducted a survey of where teachers find the cheapest new materials for their classrooms. Here are the top places based on my findings:

  • Walmart/Walmart.com- Walmart is typically the industry leader in discount supplies. In the fall, they traditionally have a section devoted to school supplies and extra values.
  • Dollar Store- The local Dollar Tree or other dollar store will typically have an isle devoted to school and office supplies. With pens and pencils, bulletin boards, containers, notebooks, stick on notes, index cards, push pins, paper clips, etc. it is hard to beat the values offered at a dollar store on supplies.
  • Amazon.com- Amazon offers great values online for school and educational supplies. Sometimes you will need to buy in bulk to take advantage of the discounts, but if you spend over $25 you can often get free Super Saver shipping.
  • DiscountSchoolSupply.com- This site is great because of its enormous variety of educational materials. They have a section for Curriculum Support that can help you find the best tools and materials for a particular subject. Once you find a great tool or resource, check out the article on How to Save the Most Online to be sure you are getting the best deal.

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Discount Used School Supplies and Materials

Despite the great values for new supplies in the section above, purchasing secondhand supplies will often help you to save even more money on educational materials. Here are some suggested places to acquire secondhand school supplies:

  • Other Teachers and Parents- If teachers or parents have supplies that they are no longer using, they will often be willing to sell them at a reduced price or just give them away. Form a network with educators to be able to share and exchange materials.
  • Thrift Stores and Garage Sales- If you have the patience to sift through thrift stores and garage sales, this can be a great place to find educational supplies for pennies on the dollar. Often you can find gently used toys like Baby Einstein, VTech, MindWare and more.
  • eBay- eBay sells educational materials in their "Everything Else"--> "Education and Learning" section.
  • Homeschool Consignment and Book Shops- These shops have grown a lot in popularity over recent years. Parents that homeschool and other educators consign their gently used materials to these shops. You can then get great materials at significantly reduced prices. These shops also often offer educational programs and courses as well. Perform an internet search to see if there is a shop in your area.

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Free School Supplies and Educational Materials

Nothing beats a price of free! Check out these venues for free resources:

  • Library- Your local library is an excellent place to get free resources for education. While you can certainly get books there, you can often rent educational videos and CDs there as well. Take advantage of this amazing free resource.
  • Online Fact Websites- Sites like Wikipedia have quickly become a resource used in teaching and learning. Visit the website Had2Know.com for a list of other free online fact resources.
  • Free Audio Book and Video Websites- There are several sites that offer audio books and educational videos free of charge. Often the free books are classics, which are perfect for a student. Here are some of the sites that offer free books and/or videos: librivox.org, LearnOutLoud.com, BooksShouldBeFree.com, and Free-books.org. For a larger list of free audio books, visit this article at DiplomaGuide.com. TeacherTube.com is like YouTube for teachers and is a great source for free educational videos.
  • Free Podcasts- Podcasts offer great audio material on a variety of subjects. PodOmatic.com and PodcastDirectory.com can help you find audible material for whatever subject you are seeking.
  • Free Brainstorming Tool Sites- Sites like bubbl.us and MindMeister.com help students brainstorm through thought clouds, diagrams, and mapping.
  • Free Visual Learning Sites- Visuwords.com is a wonderful site that teaches through graphs and diagrams. Pics4Learning.com teaches through pictures and associations. PictureHistory.com teaches over 200 years of history through photographs.
  • Free Sites for Kinesthetic and Hands-on Learners- Learner.org helps teach math and science through interactive methods. FlashcardExchange.com is the world's largest flashcard library. Quizlet.com is an amazing way to learn and study a variety of topics through flashcards and quizzes. Classmarker.com is a free, customizable online test maker with tests and quizzes graded instantly. Eduplace.com is designed for K-12 students to learn various subjects through games and activities.


Additional Resources

I hope that you've found some great places to find the lowest prices on educational materials and supplies. Here are some other great articles and resources:

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