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Frugal Tips Roundup: Kits, Thrift Stores, and More

By Allie Magnuson on August 12, 2014
  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2

Hi, everyone — I'm back from summer vacation!

Thank you for dropping by as we start another nine months of fresh and frugal tips here at Scholastic.

I'll be posting every other Tuesday. My first post of each month will be a frugal tips roundup, where you'll learn about practical money matters such as smart shopping, classroom budgeting, and good spending habits. The second post of each month will be a "Bootstrapping Boot Camp," in which I will share guidelines on using what you already have, and doing things on the cheap.

Without further ado, here's your first round of tips:


Make a Personal Emergency Kit

You spend a lot of time in the classroom. It's only natural that you should have some personal items at hand in case of a personal emergency — whether it be hunger, a headache, a wardrobe crisis, or a need to freshen up.

Get yourself a small container and fill it up with the following items. You'll probably have a few of these lying around at home already. If not, most can be obtained at a dollar store or in the travel section at a drugstore, grocery store, or superstore (such as Walmart or Target).

  • Medications for common ailments (aspirin, antacids, cough drops, eye drops, antihistamines)

  • Mints and/or gum

  • Energy drink

  • Change for vending machines

  • Wet wipes, hand sanitizer, or lotion

  • Nail clipper

  • Deodorant

  • Lint brush

  • Stain removal stick

  • Sewing kit

  • Change of clothes and shoes

  • Mirror

  • Hairbrush or comb

  • Dry shampoo

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste

  • Phone charger 

 

And, specifically for the ladies:

  • Makeup

  • Hairspray

  • Nail polish and remover

  • Nylons

  • Personal hygiene items 

 

 

Shop at Garage Sales and Thrift Stores

Buying used is a great way to save money, but only if you know what you're looking for. Here are a few things where secondhand will work just fine:

  • Games and puzzles with all their pieces

  • Toys in workable condition

  • Craft and office supplies that are still usable

  • Picture books and cookbooks

  • Magazines and calendars with lots of pictures

  • Sturdy furniture such as bookshelves and rocking chairs

  • Picture frames, mirrors, and lamps

  • Decorations and art

  • Gently-used clothes and shoes for dress-up and emergencies

  • Socks and gloves for erasers

  • Buckets, baskets, and other containers

  • Safe outdoors equipment

 

 

How to Make Things Last

The best way to save money is to make the things you have last a long time. No, it's not impossible, even in the kindergarten classroom.

  • Laminate frequently-used papers

  • Secure or repair things with duct tape

  • Use reusable "write and wipe" pockets to practice handwriting, math facts, and sight words

  • Keep student samples, lesson plans, and important school information safely in sheet protectors

  • Keep learning centers' pieces in zipper pencil pouches

  • Use fadeless paper for bulletin boards

  • Cover books and mend spines with clear Con-tact paper

  • If you have access to a book binding machine, make paperback classroom books spiral-bound to avoid wear from constant handling

  • Keep your labels from peeling by securing them with transparent adhesive tape

  • If you use tape on paper items, be sure to use a brand or type that is removable

  • Recycle your broken crayons by melting them into new ones

  • Use name badge holders instead of sticky nametags

  • Keep your materials organized. When things aren't organized, they get smashed in, leaked out, pulled up, pushed down, ripped apart, rolled around, and — worst of all — lost.

  • Have each child use individual supplies, rather than shared group supplies. This might seem counter-intuitive, but I've found that kids tend to take better care of things they own. Ownership breeds responsibility.

  • Teach conservation strategies. Taking proper care of things is a learned skill.

 

 

Come back on Tuesday, August 26 for the first installment of Bootstrapping Boot Camp!

 

Comments (7)

An idea I saw for the bulletin board after I purchased the fabric for my board. Someone suggested a twin sheet.

I love the fabric and I used patterned duct tape as my border. I did have to staple the duct tape up

An idea I saw for the bulletin board after I purchased the fabric for my board. Someone suggested a twin sheet.

I love the fabric and I used patterned duct tape as my border. I did have to staple the duct tape up

I use velcro backing fabric for my bulletin boards. It comes on a roll and is a perfect fit for most bulletin boards. It comes in so many colors and doesn't fade. Then I use the velcro dots on what I am putting up and there are no staples to ruin what I am putting up. It also saves soooo much time in taking down and putting up what you want. I buy it from U.S. Slide Fasterner Corporation out of Franklin , Massachusetts.(usslidefastener.com) Once you do one bulletin board you will use it for all.
Allie, I have to say, I love the idea of a personal emergency kit. Thanks for that idea.

I use velcro backing fabric for my bulletin boards. It comes on a roll and is a perfect fit for most bulletin boards. It comes in so many colors and doesn't fade. Then I use the velcro dots on what I am putting up and there are no staples to ruin what I am putting up. It also saves soooo much time in taking down and putting up what you want. I buy it from U.S. Slide Fasterner Corporation out of Franklin , Massachusetts.(usslidefastener.com) Once you do one bulletin board you will use it for all.
Allie, I have to say, I love the idea of a personal emergency kit. Thanks for that idea.

I use velcro backing fabric for my bulletin boards. It comes on a roll and is a perfect fit for most bulletin boards. It comes in so many colors and doesn't fade. Then I use the velcro dots on what I am putting up and there are no staples to ruin what I am putting up. It also saves soooo much time in taking down and putting up what you want. I buy it from U.S. Slide Fasterner Corporation out of Franklin , Massachusetts.(usslidefastener.com) Once you do one bulletin board you will use it for all.
Allie, I have to say, I love the idea of a personal emergency kit. Thanks for that idea.

I use velcro backing fabric for my bulletin boards. It comes on a roll and is a perfect fit for most bulletin boards. It comes in so many colors and doesn't fade. Then I use the velcro dots on what I am putting up and there are no staples to ruin what I am putting up. It also saves soooo much time in taking down and putting up what you want. I buy it from U.S. Slide Fasterner Corporation out of Franklin , Massachusetts.(usslidefastener.com) Once you do one bulletin board you will use it for all.
Allie, I have to say, I love the idea of a personal emergency kit. Thanks for that idea.

I have one for the bulletin boards that I use. Instead of fade less construction paper, I bought fabric. While it might be a little more expensive, I can get many, many years of use out of it. I have been able to purchase fabric remnants that have been marked down tremendously! I have fabric that I have been using for 9 years, and it STILL looks great! So, not only a cost savings, but time savings as well!! Win, win!

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