March 4, 2022

4 low-cost ways to pay for classroom resources

Special teacher discounts, crowdfunding and grants are low-cost ways to pay for classroom supplies.

Everybody does it. The Dept. of Education reports 93% of teachers buy supplies for their classrooms. That’s $479 on average. And 9 out of 10 teachers aren’t reimbursed.

How are you budgeting for that? Can you afford everything you need?

Here are 4 low-cost ways to get books, tools and other materials for your classroom without spending your own money. 


The Container Store, Dick Blick Art Supplies, Home Depot, Office Depot and other national and local retailers offer year-round discounts for teachers. Before you shell out for full price, search online or ask up front about educator discounts.


Donation services abound, from GoFundMe to They’re easy to use and can be shared and promoted with basic social media. Just be careful to ensure your appeal qualifies as charity (and not as personal fundraising). Otherwise, you could be on the hook for taxes.

Social Media 

This may be one of the better uses of social media. Your community and complete strangers can be surprisingly generous. Try posting a request for what you need most, from athletic supplies to art material to museum tickets. It’s not the most reliable method, but you may get what you need fast, and it helps the community express their appreciation and support.


Applications can be daunting and time-consuming. Ask for help, either from local volunteers or your district administration. Many grants for materials, like library books, include stipends for teachers too. Start with subject-specific grants, like STEM, music or history. For example, the website for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics lists several math grants. 

Bright gets teachers

Bright studies your income and builds a budget based on your spending habits, so you know what you can afford for supplies week by week. 

Bright also moves funds and makes credit card payments for you, finding the fastest, smartest way to get you debt free, while boosting your credit score and building more savings

It only takes 2 minutes. Just download the Bright app from the App Store or Google Play. Link your checking account and your cards, set a few goals and let Bright get to work!

Recommended Readings:

Financial Planning for Teachers: 7 smart tips

How to survive financially as a teacher

Pranay Chirla
Technical Content Writer
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