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How to stick to your classroom budget

Decorating your classroom doesn't have to cost a fortune.

As the school year quickly approaches (maybe too quickly), you have to get your classroom ready. That means sticking to the budget your school gave you to find decorations, a whiteboard, supplies, books and anything else you need to make this year an amazing one. Fortunately, you can save money and have a cool classroom! Here are some savvy tips for teachers to use before school starts:

"Designate some of your budget to different classroom decor categories."

Divide your budget
As you plan your dream classroom, decide how much of your budget will go to different things. For instance, if you want a reading nook in your classroom, figure out how much of your overall budget will go toward creating this space. Designate categories, like storage, decor, educational posters, etc., and allot amounts to each. Remember to adjust your budget as you go, as you may spend more or less in certain categories than you thought.

See what the school provides
Aside from desks, what can you expect the school to put in your classroom? Will you get a bookshelf? Cubbies? Ask someone at the school what furniture pieces will be provided, and incorporate those things into your overall design scheme.

Reimagine and recycle
A lot of the things you toss in the recycle bin at home can actually be used in your classroom. With a bit of TLC, a coffee tin can become a pencil jar and cardboard boxes can become student mail bins. You can use recyclables to create supply holders that divide markers by color, for instance. All you need is creativity, recyclable containers and supplies to spruce them up.

Washi tape, scrapbook paper, colorful duct tape and fabric all make great coverings for your containers. They can help you turn a cardboard six-pack case into a supply bin for each student desk grouping. Take some time this summer to bring out your best DIY skills and craft creative storage solutions without busting your budget. All you'll have to purchase are decorating supplies - recyclable bottles are just part of being a consumer!

Basic craft supplies can turn recyclables into cute storage containers.

Basic craft supplies can turn recyclables into cute storage containers.

Pick a color scheme
Many teachers settle on a color scheme for their classrooms, which can actually help them save money. For instance, instead of buying a rainbow's worth of tape, fabric and paper colors to decorate, you only need to buy two or three varieties. Many scrapbook paper pads are already color coordinated, so you can purchase just one. Use that paper to cover tins, make bunting to hang over the reading corner or craft a stylish name plate for your desk.

Try alternative whiteboards
Traditional blackboards and whiteboards can get pricey, and they're bulky. If your classroom needs a new whiteboard or the one you currently have is too discolored to use, another one is probably on your list of must-have supplies. But instead of spending your limited funds on an expensive whiteboard, consider your options.

WriteyBoard's re-stickable whiteboards are made of a sheet that adheres to the wall and can be moved whenever you need to. They also come in a variety of widths and lengths and can be custom sized to fit your unique classroom needs. WriteyBoard can even reface your classroom's existing whiteboard with its product to give your space a fresh writing surface.

The best part? Because WriteyBoard products are thin, lightweight and rollable, they're cheaper to ship and produce. That means the savings pass on to you!

Shop sales and use coupons
Look for summer sales at craft stores and other shopping locations as you start to imagine the final look of your classroom. Also, cut coupons for items you'll need and use your teacher status to your advantage. Craft stores know teachers have to decorate, and many offer discount cards specifically for educators. Before you buy a single sheet of paper for your classroom decor, ask the sales associate whether the shop has a teacher discount.

With affordable whiteboards, DIY magic and discounts galore, you can outfit your classroom on a budget.

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