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!

31 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

    Joe
  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

    Advena Family

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