In mid- to late summer, school supply sales are everywhere. But kids and teachers need supplies year-round, and there’s not always a convenient sale to shop. Instead, check out these tips and online shopping sites for finding discount school supplies any time.
Top Tips for Finding Discount School Supplies
When every penny counts, try these ideas for saving money on classroom materials and supplies.
1. Use Teacher Discounts
Many stores offer teacher discounts, though you may need to sign up for a rewards program or register an account. Make sure you’re getting all the money-saving offers you deserve by checking out our list of the Best Teacher Discounts and Perks.
2. Sign Up for Rewards Programs
Take advantage of the rewards programs many stores offer. They’ll often get you perks like free shipping, plus help you earn money toward future purchases. Some even offer a discount to participating members every time they shop.
3. Visit Rummage Sales and Charity Shops
One person’s trash can definitely be someone else’s treasure. You can find both brand-new and lightly used discount school supplies at a fraction of retail prices. Pro tip: When you’re shopping yard sales, let sellers know you’re a teacher. They’ll often be happy to let you have items for even less and sometimes for free.
4. Pick Through Clearance Racks
Every bargain shopper knows you don’t pass up a markdown bin! Stake out the usual clearance areas at your local Target, Walmart, and other retailers, and take a few minutes to sift through whenever you’re passing by. You might even try making friends with store staff, who can let you know if something you’ve been eyeing winds up on markdown.
5. Buy in Bulk
You can save a lot when you buy a whole lot at once. Some teachers take advantage of bulk discounts by purchasing all the supplies their students will need in one big order, then simply asking parents to pay their part. This won’t work for every situation, but it can be one way to make things easier on parents and ensure all kids have quality supplies. Check out the list below for some of the best places to buy discount school supplies in bulk.
Where To Buy Discount School Supplies
These sites and stores offer bargains on all sorts of school supplies, for both teachers and students. Prices change regularly, but we’ve shared some of the deals we found in the summer of 2023.
With daily deals and the ability to buy from suppliers across the country (and the globe), not to mention free, lightning-fast shipping, Amazon has become one of the best places to get bargain supplies. Drop by the Today’s Deals page regularly. Plus be on the lookout for Amazon Prime Day (usually in July) for some of the deepest discounts on school supplies. WeAreTeachers looks for the best Prime Day discounts on school supplies and posts them on our site.
Sample bargains: A pack of 96 unsharpened Ticonderoga #2 Pencils (a teacher favorite) for about 12 cents per pencil, and Elmer’s Disappearing Purple Glue Sticks for about a quarter each when you buy a pack of 30
This site provides bargain supplies in ready-made kits, as well as reasonably priced backpacks to hold them all. Items are sold by the case, with discounts for higher-volume purchases. This is a terrific way to buy supplies for a backpack-stuffing community event.
Sample bargains: The 45-Piece School Supply Kit is ideal for upper elementary or middle schoolers, and it’s just $9.50/kit (or less). We also like the 18 Inch Multi-Pocket Bungee Backpack with 20-Piece School Supply Kit, which is $9/kit (or less).
You can find items online at Big Lots, but you’re often better off dropping by one of their retail locations in person to see what they’ve got. Inventory changes regularly here, so it can be a little hit-or-miss. Still, sometimes you can find real deals on all kinds of classroom supplies.
Sample bargains: Get a package of 10 Pencil Grips for $1.75 and 8 PaperMate Ink Joy Pens in varied colors for $2.99.
Costco is well known as a place to get bargains on anything and everything. You’ll need a membership to shop here, but many people find the annual cost pays for itself many times over based on how much they save.
Sample bargains: 250-ct Avery Easy Load Heavyweight Sheet Protectors for $14.99 and 18 Pack of Expo Dry-Erase Markers for $17.99 (another teacher favorite!)
This is a top teacher supply store, and it’s an excellent place to find discount school supplies. They guarantee the lowest prices on everything they sell, and you’ll find items here you can’t get at your average office supply store.
DollarDays exists specifically to provide affordable supplies to people and organizations that need them. That includes schools and students, and everyone is welcome to shop this site. You’ll get free shipping and better deals on larger orders, though, so try to team up with others to make a bulk purchase if you can.
Both of these stores offer terrific deals, but it pays to do some price comparison. Depending on what you need, you might find a better price (or better quality) by buying in bulk someplace else. That being said, you can find lots of school supply deals here, along with some nice teacher supplies. (Remember that most things are $1.25 now at Dollar Tree, and Family Dollar has a variety of prices.)
Everything here is five bucks or less, with some being much less. Find standard supplies plus cute items that kids will love, at reasonable prices. You can shop online, but you’re more likely to find better deals without shipping costs in-store.
This site offers all sorts of teacher and educational materials, but if you’re looking for deals, hit up their Cheap Teacher Supplies section. Items here are marked down as much as 80%, providing incredible bargains if your timing is right.
Shop this supply store online, and you can have your orders shipped to you or pick them up locally instead. Remember to sign up for their rewards program, which earns you money toward future purchases.
Our favorite thing about this online supply store is their weekly Penny Deals. When you place a $99 order, you can pick two Penny Deal items, which could include Post-Its, cleaning supplies, and more. Quill offers free shipping with $25 purchases, and you can pay for a Quill+ membership to unlock more perks.
This is another membership club store, with deals on all sorts of products when you buy in bulk. We like it for classroom cleaning supplies like sanitizing wipes and tissues, as well as pens, pencils, and other basics.
Staples Rewards gives you 5% back on purchases, and you can shop online or in-store for a huge variety of supplies. Set up Auto Restock for items you go through quickly, like paper or pencils, and you’ll save time and money.
Get wholesale prices on basic supplies, without lots of bells and whistles. You’ll have to order by the case, so join up with some other teachers or place an order for your whole class to get these great bargains.
Where do you go for discount school supplies? Share your ideas in the WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.