NOV
14
2009

Money Saving Tips!

I realize that all these printables can add up, so I compiled a list of tips to help save costs for all the alphabet packs and other printables I provide on this blog!

1. Lamination:

  • Double your money! Put 2 sheets back to back and run through the laminator. When you cut them apart, the lamination is on the front but not on the back. You can still use for dry-erase, and it still helps with durability!
  • Office max and Office Depot run free lamination days! Check their websites to see when!
  • Check your local teaching supply store, mine has laminating for .19/foot and its 24 in wide.
  • I own a Xyron 900 9-Inch Creative Station, you might be able to find deals on ebay and maybe craig’s list for your area.
  • Xyron 900 Two Sided Lamination Refill Cartridge: here is a link to Amazon so you can see it, but I usually get them from Michael’s or JoAnn’s and use a 40% off coupon!
  • As an alternative to laminating, you could always leave the pages whole and place them in 3-ring binder page protectors. They can still be used with dry-erase, and you can re-use them for each letter you do!
  • Another alternative Laminator that I’ve heard people like is the Scotch Brand Laminator from Wal-mart approx $26. And they sell Scotch laminating sheets (50 sheets for $13.88) at Walmart as well, and packs of 200 sheets at Sam’s for $21.
  • Clear Contact Paper: I’ve heard some people using this for lamination, it’s not as durable, but does work with the dry-erase markers.

2. Key Ring Binding:

  • I just take off the key ring binders after we’re done with a letter and re-use them on the next one, so I don’t have to buy tons of them. Makes for flatter storage of letter activities too!

3. Cardstock:

  • I buy mine at Wal-mart in the office supply section. Its about $5 for 150 sheets. (I buy “Georgia-Pacific” white Cardstock.)
  • If anyone finds something less expensive, leave a comment, we’d love to know!

4. Printing:

  • I’m picky about my ink, but a friend found cheap ink and has had good luck with it from 4 Ink Jets (Use your best judgment here, I haven’t ordered from them myself and claim no liability for your printer!)
  • You can always print things out in grayscale if you don’t want to waste all your color ink! (I’m a sucker for pretty colorful stuff, so I just bite the ink bill!)
  • Don’t print everything! For example, the bottlecap letter matching, if you’ve already made the disks, you don’t need to print the last 2 pages of that file ever! You can also use the same numbers for each letter instead of printing them every week. (see below)

5. Time Savers:

  • I provide numbers for each letter set for first timers, but really you could just use the same numbers for each letter, saving time cutting, printing & laminating!
  • I use a Fiskars Personal Trimmer to do most of my cutting, faster and easier!
  • Look at the pdf’s before printing, you may not need to print all pages, while I provide small counters for the games, wherever possible I like to use 3-D manipulatives instead, for example we used real m&m;’s for counters during our Letter M activities.

6. Storage: (not sure this is money saving, but its what I do)

  • I use file folders to store all the alphabet activities in.
  • I put the pieces in sandwich or snack ziplock bags so they don’t get lost (GENERIC ones of course! LOL!)
  • Store in large plastic container, or cardboard box.
  • Click here to see how I store them for now.

That’s it for now, I’ll add to this list as I think of things, and if any of you have found ways to save money on school supplies, leave a comment and I’ll add it to the list!

Thanks!

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Comments

  1. thank you! I am going to have to check out those free lamination days at office max/depot.

  2. how do you find out when free lamination days are? i couldn't even find lamination listed? sorry for the silly question

  3. I'd just call your local store and see when they are, might not list it on the website until its happening!

  4. It certainly can get expensive when you are making your own resources.Instead of laminating, I sometimes use contact (although it is not as durable), but it still preserves resources and you can still use a dry erase marker.I also use Overhead Transparency Sheets which I put over worksheets so that they can be re-used.Thank you for sharing your cost cutting tips.

  5. My sister just introduced me to your blog and I LOVE it!!! Thank you so much for writing and for making all of your wonderful resources available.I REALLY want to find a laminator on the cheaper side. Until then I use the clear contact paper. Not too bad. It'll keep me happy until that perfect laminator comes along :)Also, I buy our white cardstock at Big Lots. It's 2 bucks for 75 sheets. Thanks again!!!

  6. I bought my laminator at walmart, its the scotch brand, 26 bucks. the 8.5×11 sheets are 13.88 for a pack of 50. We have downloaded most of the activities from letter A and B, along with lots of the other stuff you make available, and I just now had to buy a new pack. I cut my stuff first, then laminate, squishing things onto the page as many as will fit! :PThank you so much for making all of this available, it really helps me to see how other people homeschool. And I love that its so colorful (I bite the bullet and pay for the extra ink, too)!

  7. I am getting in late to this post but I wanted to share. If you have a Mardel in your town, they have the regular sized laminator machines. You do feed things through youself but it's $0.25 per foot. I just downloaded all the pages for 3 letters of Erica's and laminated most of the pieces. PLUS I ran through several feet of file folders that I made into mini-offices for my K and 1st. I also had several games that I laminated. The whole thing cost me $12. I know that Mardel is not in many places but if you have one near you it comes in handy. I am going to have to check out the free lamination days. Of course, will all the I stock pile to laminate they may cancel those days. HA. I hate the feel of paper so I laminate (or use page protectors) for everything.

  8. Thank you for the tip about doubling up on laminating. What a great idea! I just wanted to share that laminating sheets are extremely cheap at http://www.laminator.com. They are always Buy 2 packages get 1 free. A package of 100 3mil. thick laminating sheets is $15.99. So far that is the cheapest I have found.

  9. You have such great resources! I usually use them all and have a laminator. I too have the Scotch one from Walmart… $26, I think. Well worth the money! I was buying the Scotch laminating sheets (50 sheets for $13.88) at Walmart as well, but then found a pack of 200 sheets at Sam's for $21! Can't beat that!I'll have to look into the free laminating days for the bigger stuff, though. That would be a great deal if you can catch it right!Thanks for your awesome site! It's really a life saver!

  10. I use the "poor man's lamination" – clear packing tape! lol

  11. Another lamintating idea… our Teacher's Resource Center (maintained by our local school district) accepts homeschoolers and children's ministers as well as public school teachers. I can get things lamintated there for ten cents a foot. If you know a teacher, ask if there is one in your area.

  12. I just got 100 3 mil laminating sheets from Amazon (lamination depot is the source I think) for 8.99. I have used several already and they are great. My little dinky laminating machine is a generic one from ALDI, but it works great! 9.99. I couldn't beat that!

  13. Free printing may be available at your local library. I get 75 black and white and 10 color prints off my library card per week. Granted not on cardstock – but once I laminate it is generally durable enough. Also great for handwriting practice and consumable worksheets. I am part of the King County Libary System in WA State.

  14. If you or a family member is associated with a university check out their education department. My husband works at a university and I get him to take all my laminating to the education resource center on-campus. They have really cheap laminating available for all the folks doing student-teaching. At our school as long as you have a university ID card you can use their services. It's at least worth checking into!

  15. I contacted the site about getting pages printed and they responded that they do not print homeschool stuff. Just wondering if anyone else has run into this because it sounded like such a good deal to get them for 6 cents a page.

  16. Kama: Sorry about that, I think its my fault, I've sent too many people there LOL!

  17. I get my card stock for $7.23/250 and lamination sheets at Sam's Club. I looked at buying the lamination online but I am horrible about not realizing I have almost run out when I need a bunch and Sam's is right down the road. So, I pay a little bit more for convenience. I used to buy my card stock at Big Lots until I found it at Sam's. It is Georgia Pacific, basically the same price as BL, and is a little heavier weight which I like for things I don't laminate. most teacher stores offer laminating. That is where I do my big stuff. We just moved where we live now and I have not got to check out how much it is. If you have a Lakeshore Learning store near you I know that if you sign up for their mailing list they offer coupons for laminating several time a year.

  18. If you get the OfficeMax perks card (free), everytime you bring in your old ink cartridge you get $3 off the next one you are buying. Right now they have a sale on their brand of ink, buy 1 get 1 50% off.

  19. I found card on Amazon for $6.49 for 200 sheets. It is eligible for free shipping if you spend $25. So, my friend and I split the bill and we bought 4 packs of cardstock!

  20. Advena Family says:

    I am using a cannon MX870 printer. I get my ink cartridges for roughly a dollar a piece using the generic ones on amazon. They have worked wonderful for me and seem to print at least a ream of paper and more. I use the fast setting and remember when I’m printing a PDF to change it from printing as an image. When you uncheck that box it then allows you to check the ink saving for the color and black. I also use the Xyron 900 laminator that Erica speaks so highly of. I’ve had it for a long time. I always wait for the 50% off one item at AC Moore before buying my cartridges. I use the clear laminating contact paper from walmart for my bigger items. Also, if you buy the crayola activity center you can slip standard size papers into it for the kids to use the dry erase markers on, meaning you don’t have to laminate them at all. It’s $15 but well worth it in the long run. My children actually received it as a gift.

  21. Right now at the \dollar spot at Target they have dry erase packets. It’s just a hard plastic enevelope (fits probably up to 9×12″ paper. So you don’t have to laminate anything for using dry eraser markers with again! Just slip the paper in and out depending on what you’re learning. What a deal!

  22. Our Costco refills our ink cartridges for $9 each. We spent over $50 on the original cartridges and now we just take them in and they refill them for us. We spend less than $20 total. Occasionally they will have coupons for $1-2 off each cartridge making it more like $15 total.

  23. I was wondering what printer you use? I would love to print in color because it is more appealing to the eye but I don’t own a color printer and was wondering if you have any suggestions.

    Thanks

  24. What kind of printer do you use, is it a laser? Also, I’m lost, how to you laminate 2 pages and then cut them apart?

  25. This is a small thing but I cut out your lacing cards a few @ a time & then use one sheet to laminate 2 or more of the lacing cards. I can get laminating sheets here for about $10 for 100 but this is Indonesia! Maybe I should start a small business of sending them back stateside for homeschoolers LOL ;)

  26. Kelly Ante says:

    What Printer does everyone use? I am looking to purchase one and do not know what to look for?

  27. Just FYI I have been buying the off brand inks from 4 ink jets for years. for two different printers. I have never had a problem. I usually stock up ($50) to get the free shipping, I also order via ebates so I get Money back. And if I can i order on double ebate day. Also, try to use a 10% coupon code :) I am able to get my ink for about 1/4 of what I would pay anywhere else.

    • I just bought a hot/cold laminator this week at Costco for $20. I was concerned about the quality because it was so inexpensive. I looked it up and apparently it runs anywhere from $70-$100 and has excellent reviews. It’s brand is Purple Cow and it comes with 100 laminating sheets. (40) 8.5″ x 11″ (30) 4″ x 6″ and (30) 3″ x 6″. So far it works great and I have no complaints. Best $20 bucks I’ve ever spent.

  28. I’m not sure if this was mentioned yet or not but if you are wanting to laminate a sheet of paper you can always slip it in a sheet protector. You can use dry erase on those and slip in something different when you are finished!

  29. Thanks for nice post !!!!!

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