Thursday, July 31, 2014

Library Overhaulin' {on a budget!}

Okay, so I've been pretty good about sticking to my back to school budget even when redoing all my bulletin boards and library. Today, I worked on getting my library organized. I thought I'd share a few tips to help save some money if you're hoping to build out or reorganize your classroom library.

First, shop around for what you're looking for. I knew I needed some new book bins. After looking at several online "teacher stores" like Really Good Stuff and United Art and Education - I realized those book bins just were not in my budget. Some were nearly, $2 each. {$ Tip: Check Retail Me Not or Google for coupon codes that may help you save money online!} I have over 375 books in my classroom and about 40 book bins currently. That wasn't happening. So, I had to get creative.

After shopping around, I found these great mini-crates at Walmart. I measured my book shelf and then purchased 40 crates at $1 each. {$ Tip: Buy sturdy. $40 isn't "cheap" but my last bins lasted eight years.} Walmart also lets you order online with free in store pick up for those of you that don't love to go searching around Walmart for supplies!  Dollar Tree and Deals also have a phone number you can call and order from if you're willing to buy in bulk. That's how I scored my previous buckets about 8 years ago....

Here's a snapshot of my haul from Wal-mart! 

Second, build your library gradually on the cheap! Last summer, I went to several Friends of the Public Library sales and bought lots of great nonfiction all for under $1 each! Check your local library's website and see if your branch offers any sort of "brown bag" deal or annual book sale. That's a great time to stock up! This year, I noticed that I had slim pickin's in a few favorite authors and genres due to old age or "missing" books over the year s. So, I set out with a list to Half Price Books. I know I don't need to tell teachers about Half Price Books but take a list! It'll help you shop for what you need and not over spend... also, always, always go to the clearance section first. Often you can find a lot of great books for $1.

Here's my shopping list... {Fairy Tales are more like Fablehaven in my classroom}
Today, I walked away with $25 novels for under $25 before tax. I also stuck to my list! I bought three books not from one of these authors because they were only $1 but otherwise, I stuck to the list!  Also, sign up for a teacher discount card that will save you an additional 10% {even clearance} plus you'll get some sweet coupons in the  mail! You can also sell back old books - don't expect a fat wallet but it could help you purchase a few "new to you" clearance books for your room!

Third, waiting pays off. If you're able to wait - do it. Stores like Walmart and Target always have a great clearance after school starts back. Often you can get what you're looking for 50% off the original price. This year, I couldn't wait on my bins since I needed 40 of them... but last year, I found great poly folds from Target for less 10 cents. This year, my students will have study plastic homework folders... Half Price Books also does an educator appreciate weekend where all school employees get 20% off their entire order. Use these strategic times to stock up and save some green!
Lastly, I have to give a shout out to my fellow Ohio Blogger Lisa from Fourth & Ten! If you want even more back to school tips and tricks, you should definitely hop over to Fourth & Ten where Lisa has even more fabulous tips about how she saves money for back to school. I got so many great ideas from her... and we all know that I love being as frugal as possible.

What are some of your back to school shopping tricks?


  1. I love the containers you got for your books. I really need to overhaul my library (new containers, new labels, everything) but like you, I'm trying to stick to a budget. Oh, and we don't have a Half Price Books anywhere nearby. The closest one to me is in Pennsylvania.. only 8 hours away! ;)

    Trials and Triumphs

  2. I think I'll try these bins, since we know all of our Dollar Trees in the Greater Cincy area are wiped out!!

    Can we just all say that we are totally addicted to Half Price Books?? I love it! :)

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  5. It's very important that you take the necessary preparation for all the things that you need in overhaulin your library. Don't be like the people from Superior papers discount code who procrastinate and finish nothing.


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