Making The Most Of Your Budget: Educator Discounts for Teachers & Homeschoolers - Blog! - Two-Fisted History

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Making The Most Of Your Budget:
Educator Discounts for
Teachers & Homeschoolers

Last week, I and several of my fellow teachers had the opportunity to visit ‘The Teachers’ Desk,' a place where teachers of schools who have more than 70% of their students in the National School Lunch Program can set up an appointment and receive a certain amount of school supplies that were either donated or purchased with funds donated from individuals and organizations.   It got me thinking about how much teachers have to spend of their own money (especially in poorer schools) to provide students with the best education they can.   It got me further thinking about homeschooling families often have an even rougher go of it without the support of a district.  This week I wanted to focus on two items:  1.) Some tips for homeschoolers to obtain discounts from businesses offering Educator Discounts, and 2.) a list of businesses that offer discounts to educators.

 

Types of Businesses to Ask:

Generally, the types of places that offer Educator Discounts are:
    Arts & Crafts Stores
    Bookstores
    Computer Stores (both hardware and software)
    Museums
    Office Supply Stores
    Science Stores
    Sporting Goods Stores

The type of business isn’t limited to these, however.  Never be afraid to ask for an Educator Discount.

 

Who to Ask

If I’m already at a store, I ask the cashier if they give an Educator’s Discount.  Sometimes it’s better to say ‘Teacher’s Discount.’  For some reason, people sometimes get confused by the word Educator.  If you’re a homeschooler, ask BEFORE you tell them you are a homeschooler.  A ‘yes’ will give them less of an opportunity to wriggle out once you do tell them you homeschool.  If they say ‘yes,’ tell them you are a homeschool teacher and you’d like to apply to get an educators’ discount as you ‘plan to be purchasing a lot of merchandise from them for your homeschool within the next year.’  Many places don’t have an actual ‘program,’ they just give you your discount at the register when you present your Educator ID, so keep that in mind.  Keep it short and sweet:  you don’t want to talk yourself out of a discount.

Another idea is to call before you go.  Ask for the general manager in most businesses or for the sales person in charge of corporate accounts at larger businesses. Ask that person if they give an ‘educators’ discount,’ and tell them the same thing you would a cashier.  This is also a good idea for catalog companies.

 

What to Expect

The business may want any combination of the following, so be prepared.

  • Educator ID: Have an ID card that ‘proves’ you are a teacher.  This is where you’ll want to create an Educator’s ID for your homeschool on your computer.  Some cardstock, a digital photo, and a little time on the image editor of your choice will serve you well.
  • Purchasing Authorization: Also, have a written statement on letterhead from your school saying you are authorized by that school to make purchases.  It won’t matter that you’ve made up that school letterhead on your computer and your spouse or close friend has neatly signed it as ‘Principal’ or ‘Purchasing Officer’ or some-such so that you may make purchases in the school’s name.

 

Just remember:  You are a ‘real’ educator.  Don’t let anyone tell you differently!!!


Thanks, Teachers!

 

ARTS, CRAFTS & SCHOOL SUPPLIES

  • A.C. Moore: Through their Teacher Discount Program, teachers can now save 15% on both regularly-priced and sale merchandise.
  • Blick Art Materials: Blick offer teachers a free Preferred Customer Membership. In addition to saving $10 on the price of membership, you also receive 10% off in-store purchases.
  • Discount School Supply: Discount School Supply doesn't have a rewards program, but certain purchases are eligible for an Educator Discount if you call ahead or ask before completing your order.
  • GreatScopes.com: Homeschoolers are invited to use the customer code HS10 at checkout, and the discount will immediately be taken off your microscope order of $149 or more.
  • Hobby Lobby: As much as I love Hobby Lobby, the one cashier I asked gave me a blank stare when I asked.  Supposedly Hobby Lobby extends their 10-percent discount to a number of community organizations, including schools. I’m told that you have to pay with an organizational check or credit card, though. 
  • Joann Fabric: The Teacher Rewards Discount Card entitles educators to 15% off all purchases. Homeschoolers are definitely eligible for the card, and new members receive a 20% off bonus for signing up.
  • Michael's: So says Michael’s: ‘Receive 15% off your entire purchase. See a store associate for details as some exclusions may apply.’


BOOKS & MEDIA

  • Barnes & Noble: Through the B&N Educator Program, teachers can save 20% off the publisher's list price on purchases for classroom use.  During Educator Appreciation Days they offer discounts up to 25%.  The one caveat I offer is that the online store has a very different view on what they feel will be used for classroom use than the brick-and-mortar stores do.
  • Books-A-Million: Certain brick-and-mortar locations grant teachers a 20% discount on most purchases just for asking. Call ahead to be sure your local store honors the discount.
  • Half Price Books: Sign up for a Half Price Books' Educator's Discount Card and be rewarded with discounts of 10%. This discount is available to teachers, homeschoolers, librarians, and even teachers who have been laid-off in the last year. Homeschoolers should provide verification from their state or local homeschooling organization where applicable.
  • PBS: Educators who sign up for the PBS LearningMedia program will receive free access to tens of thousands of videos, games, lesson plans and other educational materials for the classroom.
  • The New York Times: Teachers can get the NYT delivered to their door at half-price thanks to their special rate for teachers.  Plus, the first four weeks will cost you just $0.99.


OFFICE SUPPLIES

  • FedEx Office: Thanks to the FedEx Office Academic Edge program you'll receive 15% off nearly all products, including brochures, and business cards and photos. This discount is available both online and in-store.
  • Office Depot: The free Office Depot Star Teacher Program offers a 5% off qualifying in-store purchases. You also get 15% of the price of all copy and print orders placed online or in-store. You have to sign up at the link, though!
  • Office Max: Offers the MaxPerks Rewards Program specifically for teachers. Benefits include $10 in rewards for every $75 spent on qualifying purchases. Again, sign up online to get your membership card.
  • Staples: When you register for Staples’s Teacher Rewards Program you receive 5% back in rewards points and free shipping from Staples.com.


CLOTHING

As a male teacher, I feel kind of left out that most Educator Discounts for clothing seem to be geared for female teachers.  Nonetheless. . .

  • Aerosoles: Show your school ID at Aerosoles stores and take 15% off any footwear purchase of $39.99 or more.
  • Banana Republic: Banana Republic offers a 15% off deal to any teacher with a valid school ID. This deal must be redeemed in-store.
  • Ann Taylor Loft: Ann Taylor Loft offers the Loft Loves Teachers program. Register to get 15% off all in-store purchases, plus an introductory discount for new members.
  • J. Crew: Show your Educator ID at the local J. Crew and they’ll give you 15% off.  This discount is only available in-store.
  • J. Jill: With a valid Educator ID, you’ll get 15% off any in-store purchases that are not already discounted.
  • The Limited: Show a school ID when you shop at any The Limited location and receive 15% off your entire in-store purchase. The offer is good for everything.
  • New York and Co.: New York and Co. grants any educator with a valid school ID 15% off every in-store purchase.


ELECTRONICS & SOFTWARE

  • Adobe: Shop direct from the Adobe Education Store and obtain discounts on select software.  Adobe requires proof of employment as an educator before applying the discount.
  • Apple Store: Apple offers teachers of all grade levels all manner of sundry discounts, up to $200, on computers and accessories through the Apple Education Store.
  • Academic Superstore: Academic Superstore is another online software outlet that sells a ton of education-related products for up to 85% off.  Discounts are available year-round with proof of employment as a teacher.
  • Hewlett-Packard: Sign up for the HP Academy program to receive exclusive discounts and free shipping on all orders.
  • JourneyEd: Another site where educators can find huge savings on popular software. After placing your order, confirm your status as a teacher to apply the discount.
  • Software Express: The online outlet Software Express grants discounts of up to 85% on all kinds of programs: including Adobe, McAfee and Microsoft.  Submit copies of your valid school ID and state driver's license to Customer Service before completing your order.
  • Sony: Discounts on projectors and flat-panel displays vary when you register and buy through the Program Portal, but most are in the 5% - 10% off range.


HOTELS & ATTRACTIONS

  • Boston Children's Museum: New England teachers K-8 can go for free with a valid school ID.
  • Boston Museum of Science: Teachers of grades K-12 can register for the free Teacher Partner Program at the Museum of Science to receive exclusive benefits, including free individual exhibit passes, discounted annual memberships and 10% off at the Museum Store.
  • Carnegie Science Center: The popular Pittsburgh museum offers teachers free general admission once a year, but only Pre-K-12th grade educators from Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, New York and Maryland are eligible.
  • Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum: Teachers enjoy a free visit at the birthplace of one of Buffalo, NY’s most famous residents (I need to put the plug in for my hometown!) when visiting with a school group of 20 or more.
  • Milwaukee Public Museum: Sign up for the Milwaukee Public Museum Educator Pass to receive free admission for a year, discount rates on special exhibits, and 15% off educational materials from the museum shop.
  • National Park Service: Show a valid school ID at most National Park Service visitor centers across the nation and receive 15% off many purchases.  The discount doesn't apply to park entry fees, camping fees or the Smokey the Bear petting zoo fees, though.
  • New England Aquarium: Current teachers get 10% off purchases at the gift shop and a 10% discount on family memberships with a valid Educator ID.
  • Philadelphia Zoo: The Philadelphia Zoo offers teachers free admission on weekdays during the summer months.  Register online for the pass, and be sure to bring your teacher ID for each visit.
  • Regal Cinemas: Regal Cinemas regularly have discount tickets for teachers (and students), good for all show times.  Call or visit beforehand, since not every location honors the discount or offers the same price.
  • Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel: Teachers are eligible for a variety of discounted rates at the Swan and Dolphin hotel at Walt Disney World in Orlando.  Availability also varies based on season and demand. Mention that you're an educator when booking.

 

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