Every year, teachers around the country shell out hundreds of dollars of their own money on school supplies to help their students get what they need to succeed. In fact, a recent survey conducted by the National School Supply and Equipment Association found that the total amount spent out-of-pocket by K-12 teachers in the United States was more than $1.33 billion—that’s an average of $356 per teacher.
If you’re a hardworking teacher who finds that the “official” budget just doesn’t cut it most of the time, it may be in your best interest to get up early and fight the crowds on one of the biggest sale days of the year—Black Friday. Here’s how to take advantage of the best deals:
Make a Plan and Stick to It
One of the reasons why Black Friday is usually such a success for retailers is that it’s easy for people to get lured into buying more than what they want. Shoppers often get caught up in a Black Friday frenzy—in other words, you may go in for some pencils before you know it are walking out with a cartload of discount DVDs.
The best way to avoid this problem is to plan ahead. Decide what you need and where you need it from, and don’t go crazy when you see deals and sales on other things that you may not need. Here are some tips:
• What to buy – Black Friday is a great time to stock up on big ticket items like TVs or computers for the classroom, but it can also work to your advantage for picking up more mundane things like rulers, erasers, and computer paper. If you already have what you need as far as these things go, you may also want to consider checking out discounted educational software or hardware (like response “clickers”) and other multimedia that can be used to get students more involved with what they’re learning.
• Where to go – The big box stores are certain to have all sorts of discounts on everything you can imagine—if you’re going after a great deal on a larger item like a video camera, it may be in your best interests to get out early to one of these stores on Black Friday. If, on the other hand, you’ve decided that all you need is a few boxes of crayons, you can hit up office or school supply stores first and skip the long lines.
• Stocking up for next year – A great way to make your educational dollars stretch further is by stocking up on supplies for next year while prices are so low. Consider buying commonly-used items in bulk to increase the savings.
Look for Deals on Black Friday Laptops and Other Electronics
For those in the market for classroom tech, Black Friday is a great time to find incredible reductions on everything from laptops to projectors. If you are planning on buying one of these items, however, you should do your research beforehand to make sure you are getting the best deal possible. Know what features and specs you need in your classroom tech, and get familiar with current costs of these items.
Sometimes retailers market Black Friday “specials” that don’t really offer that much of a discount on regular prices, so be sure to educate yourself with what the options are.
In addition to getting out to retail stores on Black Friday, you should also be prepared to jump on online deals—online retailers will often offer big ticket items for less than brick and mortar stores, so be sure to bring your smartphone with you for some quick comparison shopping.
Are you going to go out on Black Friday to buy supplies for your classroom? Share your shopping tips below.
Chad Calimpong works with Dell and has been recognized locally and nationally for his photography and video documentaries. If you are interested in learning more about Black Friday laptop deals visit Dell.com. He enjoys cooking, baking, and has a passion for technology and computers. He currently resides in Austin, Texas with his wife and two cats.