How to Buy Teacher Supplies

Three Methods:Determine Supplies to PurchasePrepare to Buy SuppliesPurchase Supplies

Teachers use a variety of supplies in their classrooms. Materials are used for teaching, decoration, classroom organization, communication and discipline methods. Each teacher is responsible for determining the necessary supplies for success. There are several factors to consider when you buy teacher supplies. It is important to be educationally and financially wise when making decisions. The following steps will allow you to gain the most productive materials for the least amount of money.

Method 1
Determine Supplies to Purchase

  1. Image titled Buy Teacher Supplies Step 1
    Assess your teaching needs.
    • Supplies will vary depending on the teaching style that occurs in the classroom.
    • Some rooms are equipped with chalkboards while others have dry erase boards. Teachers may use projectors and handout sheets. All of these factors will require different writing supplies.
    • Teachers may include projects or arts and crafts as part of their curriculum.
    • Special subjects, such as chemistry, require specific materials that are not needed by other classes.
  2. Image titled Buy Teacher Supplies Step 2
    Question which supplies are the teacher's responsibility to purchase.
    • Schools or school districts may provide teachers with some supplies.
    • Schools typically provide office-type supplies such as copy paper for teacher use.
  3. Image titled Buy Teacher Supplies Step 3
    Determine which supplies can be bought by the students.
    • School supply lists that ask students for supplies are very common at the beginning of the school year.
    • Students can bring in supplies such as crayons, scissors, markers and wet wipes. Take these off your list to purchase.

Method 2
Prepare to Buy Supplies

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    Evaluate the budget.
    • Teachers often receive state and federal money to buy supplies. Students may also be asked to give a donation or fee.
    • Note which supplies are your top priority and buy those first.
  2. Image titled Buy Teacher Supplies Step 5
    Obtain a purchase order and tax exemption number.
    • School auditors require you to request a purchase order from your bookkeeper before shopping. You will need an idea of how much you plan to spend and where the money will be spent.
    • The store or online vendor will ask for the purchase order and tax exemption number when placing your order.
    • The vendor may have a record of the school's tax exemption number on file if the school has set up an account.

Method 3
Purchase Supplies

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    Visit a teacher store.
    • Teacher stores carry merchandise designed specifically for educational use.
    • These stores mostly carry classroom management products, educational materials and classroom decorations.
  2. Image titled Buy Teacher Supplies Step 7
    Locate a classroom supply vendor.
    • Many vendors mail catalogs to schools.
    • Vendors can also be found by searching online. You can place online or telephone orders.
    • Classroom supply stores sell classroom materials in bulk for easy classroom use. For example, you can purchase a package of 100 pieces of red construction paper or a classroom set of scissors.
  3. Image titled Buy Teacher Supplies Step 8
    Buy from an office supply store.
    • Office supply stores offer basic office supplies that may be needed for the classroom (staples, tape, paper clips, etc.).
    • Office supply stores do not offer items specific to education (teacher resource books, lesson plan books, desk name tags, etc.).
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    Check local stores.
    • Many local stores that have a school supply section that will offer sales and deals at the end of summer vacation.
    • Purchasing items during the special event at these locations is sometimes less expensive than buying in bulk.
    • Buying items from local stores during a sales-tax free weekend, offered by some states, will prevent you from having to obtain your school's tax exemption number.


  • Teachers retire at the end of each school year. Many of them are willing to sell teacher supplies at discount prices that they have accumulated over the years. Check with these teachers for supplies you need.


  • Do not purchase more grade specific supplies than you can use in a year. Teachers can be moved from grade level to grade level based on the principal's discretion. You do not want to be left with a lot of supplies you cannot use. For example, an overage of primary paper would not be suitable for intermediate grade levels.

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Categories: Teacher Resources