Cut classroom costs - 6 ideas for teachers

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The number of teachers spending their own money to stock their classrooms seems to be rising year on year, as cash-strapped schools are having to make savings in every way possible.  

Surely this shouldn’t be the case?

I don't think it should be, but we need to be realistic.  Many schools don't have enough money to go round and most teachers would rather spend their own money, than see the children in their care go without.  This post is to help these teachers to think of ways to cut classroom costs, while reducing the burden on their own pockets.


Let's say you spend £300 per year on materials for school (It's surprising how the small amounts add up). If you invested that £25 each month of a full teaching career (46 years now!), and got historical average stock market returns of 7% you could have a lump sum of over £102,000, on retiring at 68.  (if you don't believe me, click on the link and put the figures in for yourself)

Scary isn't it?

Reducing the amount of money that you spend on materials for school, could seriously improve your financial future!

If you do feel that you need extra materials, then these suggestions may help you to do this, without having to declare yourself bankrupt.

Do you want to cut your classroom costs?

This might seem unusual in a classroom setting, but I why not ask yourself “Do I really need it?”  “Will it enhance the experience for my students?”  “Can I achieve the same effect by using materials that I already have?” If you do feel that you need extra materials, then these suggestions may help you to do this, without having to declare yourself bankrupt.

Library of things

Consider setting up a library of resources in your school or in your local cluster. It could be an excellent project for a school working towards Eco-School status, and could be organised by the pupils or by volunteers from your school community. Having a collection from parents, the community, and the whole school will help to create a huge amount of resources to be shared and used.

There are some useful suggestions and resources on Create The Good. Asking for donations from parents immediately before and after the Christmas holidays can be a good plan. Some parents may have a pre or post-Christmas clear out and will often be happy to donate items that could be of use. Children also often get duplicate presents and many parents would also be happy to see these going to a good home.

Just ask

If you require specific items, try asking on local sales/freebies pages. Many people have items in their house, that they would be delighted to donate to the school, so that they can be enjoyed by children for years to come.


Ask local businesses if they would donate or sponsor equipment for the school. Many businesses will be willing to donate, perhaps in return for some publicity.

classroom stationaryFreebies

Companies are happy to give away free products, especially when they know that they will be put to good use. Check out some of these offers to see if there is anything that would be useful for your school.  If you have a specific item in mind, try emailing the company directly to ask if they would be willing to donate it to your school.

Community re-use

B & Q have a community re-use scheme where they offer items that are unsuitable for sale to various community groups including schools.

Specific fundraising

Set aside a fundraising stream that is purely for buying materials for classrooms to help take the pressure off teachers supplying their own materials.. Some easy to set up and simple to run ideas are:

  • Easy fundraising can be great if you can encourage the whole school community to use it.  The beauty of it is that it doesn't cost the individual anything extra to purchase through the easy fundraising site, but you will still generate extra funds.
  • A clothing bin located on school premises can raise a lot of money and can also benefit the local community
  • Setting up a school lottery is another way of bringing in regular income.  Your PFA could organise it themselves or it could be set up and run through Your School Lottery

Your personal cash

If you do end up spending your own money on things for school, then please make sure that you at least get some benefit from doing so.

TopCashback and Quidco give you cashback on every purchase that you need to make.  It really is free money, so it makes sense to get signed up and get an extra wee bonus every time you DO spend.

Pouch is an awesome little gem, who saves you money at every turn!  If you download Pouch onto your computer, then it automatically searches for discount codes and highlights the ones that are available when you reach the checkout.  It's then simply a case of clicking the Pouch recommendation and it adds the discount coupon to your basket. It also works through Facebook messenger!

And finally

I hope that you have found some of these ideas to cut classroom costs useful.  If you have any other suggestions then please share them below so that other teachers can benefit from them too. If you would like to ensure that you are making the most of your own money, then check out the following posts.

Are your pension contributions going to be enough?

Teachers:  Are you due a tax refund? 

Pop over to my fun and friendly Your Money Sorted FB group where I share tips, suggestions and inspiration, as well as general chit chat. I would love to see you over there.

Eileen x

cut costs for teachers classrooms

I am Eileen Adamson, Your Money Sorted coach, working online with UK based women.   I’d love to show you how simple changes can help you to create a life that is happier, healthier and wealthier, with more money for the things you love. Class fundraising ideas


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