Did you know teachers spend an average of $513 out of their own pockets each year for classroom supplies, instructional materials and professional development?
More than 99% of public school teachers spend their own money on classroom decorations, books and materials — a total of $1.6 billion each year, according to the Education Market Association.
If you’re a teacher — or you know a teacher — who needs to stock up on the essentials, check out these great teacher discounts.
And it’s not all butcher paper and crayons — snag some new duds for the school year, spruce up your computer or buy some comfy shoes from these companies.
1. Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft
Sign up for a Jo-Ann Teacher Rewards Discount Card to get 15% off all purchases.
You must provide proof that you’re a certified, credentialed or licensed teacher, home-school teacher or childcare provider.
2. Ann Taylor Loft
Shop at Ann Taylor Loft and receive 15% off all full-price purchases.
You can also take advantage of the company’s sweepstakes, $50,000 in annual grants and teacher appreciation nights. Check with your local store for details.
Education pricing isn’t just for teachers; school administrators, staff, home-school teachers, college students, students who have been accepted into college, and even parents of college students can all save up to $200 on a Mac and get a free pair of Beats headphones.
To take advantage of this special offer, select your school from the website’s menu. However, it’s only available until September 18, so act quickly if you want to save!
4. Barnes and Noble
Educators at pre-K through grade 12 schools, including teachers, guidance counselors, principals and reading coaches, can take advantage of Barnes and Noble’s great educator deals.
You’ll typically receive 20% off the list price of most hardback and softcover books, toys and games. Homeschooling parents can receive the discount as well as long as they provide proof of their homeschooling.
5. Cost Plus World Market
Bay Area educators can apply for a 10% discount card to use at Cost Plus World Market. This applies to teachers in San Francisco and Oakland Unified School Districts, but if you’re in another district, ask to see whether your store offers a similar deal.
Public school teachers get great discounts on Dell computers, software and peripherals. Check out Dell University to see available deals.
7. Half Price Books
Save 10% on your whole reading list with an Educator’s Discount Card at Half Price Books. Public or private school teachers, librarians and university teaching assistants just need to show a pay stub or employee ID to get the discount card.
Head into a J.Crew or J.Crew Factory store to receive a 15% discount. You’ll have to head to a store in person, though — you can’t get the discount online.
9. Office Depot
Office Depot offers a variety of teacher discounts (ask at your local store for details). In addition, on Teacher Appreciation Days from Aug. 29 to Sept. 1, teachers receive 25% off a qualifying purchase along with a free calendar.
Shop at Staples and receive 10% back in rewards on teaching and art supplies as well as 5% back on other items. You can redeem those rewards on future purchases, just like a gift card.
11. STA Travel
Have the best spring break ever with STA Travel’s Teacher Discount Card.
Full-time teachers, lecturers, professors and tutors can purchase this card for $25 to get great discounts in 133 countries and at 125,000 locations. Enjoy special deals at hotels and hostels, discounts on museum admission and many other ways to save.
You don’t even have to leave home to take advantage of these deals — enjoy free Redbox rentals and discounts on Columbia Sportswear, among many other savings opportunities.
12. The Container Store
Have the most organized classroom around by joining the Organized Teacher Program at The Container Store. The program offers special deals and discounts, but act quickly because it ends on Dec. 31, 2015.
13. The New York Times
Keep your students on top of current events by snagging The New York Times at the special education rate of 99 cents for four weeks, followed by 50% off thereafter.
14. FedEx Office
Teachers, professors, faculty and staff members can enjoy a 15% discount at FedEx Office. Whether you need to print up fancy posters or send a package to your class’ pen pals, you’re covered.
Decorate your classroom at with supplies from Michaels, where you’ll receive 15% off your purchases every day. This includes a variety of classroom products such as bulletin board materials and educational games, though some exclusions apply.
16. National Geographic
Pay only $1 per digital issue of National Geographic with the educational discount the magazine offers, or enjoy its wide array of free multimedia resources online.
17. Banana Republic
Bring your teacher ID into Banana Republic to enjoy 15% off your purchase. This only applies to in-store purchases, though, so you’ll have to join the rest of the back-to-school shoppers at the mall.
Snag great deals on Adobe software products with the company’s educator discount program. You can save up to 60% on certain products, but must provide verification of your employment.
Home-school teachers can take advantage of the discount as well, but you’ll have to show you belong to a home schooling association and have planned a full year’s curriculum.
Faculty and staff at K-12 schools or colleges can join Lenovo’s Academic Purchase Program to receive discounts on laptops, tablets, desktop computers and more.
Get some comfy shoes for this school year at Aerosoles, where teachers receive 15% off footwear priced $39.99 or higher. Just bring in a pay stub or place a phone order to take advantage of this deal.
21. The Limited
Educators receive 15% off every in-store purchase at The Limited. Just show your teacher ID to the store associate when you check out.
How Else Can You Save?
While these 21 deals offer great ways to save, you might also want to consider these tactics:
Ask for a Discount
Many other stores offer educator discounts, and some don’t advertise — many times you have to ask in person to get the deal.
If in doubt, ask. The worst they can say is “no”!
Check With Your Local Teacher’s Association
Many retailers and businesses offer special deals for teachers in nearby districts.
For example, this great list from the Florida Department of Education shows deals for Florida educators, including free admission to the Kennedy Space Center and Legoland, and discounts on Walt Disney World and other vacation hotspots.
It also lists deals on hotels, car rentals and retail, and special pricing for the Daytona International Speedway, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Heat and other sporting events. Ask your local teacher’s association to see if they have a list of ways you can save.
Your Turn: What’s your favorite teacher discount? How much has it helped you save?
Kristen Pope is a freelance writer and editor in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.