If you’re like most teachers, you’re on a budget. And if you’re like me and many other educators, nothing beats a Teachers Pay Teachers sale! But are you maximizing your spending? This post will cover the must-dos before each sale in order to stretch your dollars as far as possible.
We educators love to buy new things for our classroom. After all, we spend a lot of time there.
And making a purchase on the right teaching resource can also save us time, mental stress, and a lot of headaches! My go-to source for teaching resources is almost always Teachers Pay Teachers, an online marketplace for teachers to sell their own materials.
While each independent Teachers Pay Teachers seller can choose when they have a sale, the Teachers Pay Teachers website typically hosts four big sitewide sales per year.
The dates on these sales vary and not every seller opts in to participate, but it’s still a great time to stock up on new materials. In order to get as much as possible for your money, be sure to follow the steps below! (HINT: Sign up for my newsletter to hear about sales when they happen!)
Step 1: Leave Feedback for Your Previous Purchases (Do this any time)
Did you know that you can get credit for Teachers Pay Teachers just for rating previous purchases? You can!
You earn $1 in TPT credit for every dollar that you spend AND leave feedback for on the website. Teachers Pay Teachers will also round up on purchases that are close to the dollar mark.
For example, if you buy one product for $9.95 and you leave a thoughtful review, you will earn 10 TPT credits.
100 credits = $5
If you click on your name at the top right, and then click purchases (under buy) in the dropdown menu, Teachers Pay Teachers shows you products that you have purchased, but not yet left feedback for.
Writing an awful review will let others know what you think, but it probably won’t fix an issue. If, however, you are able to contact the seller, he or she will be able to remedy a typo, send you a missing piece of a resource, or whatever it is you need.
A seller cannot, however, provide customer service for you if you don’t ask. I recommend using the Q & A section if you can’t find an email to reach out to sellers before leaving a bad review. Give them the opportunity to help or fix something if they can.
Also, you should know that leaving a bad review for a seller for technology issue (“I can’t open zip folders”) is against Teachers Pay Teachers’s review policies.
Step 2: Search for Products for Your Wishlist (Do this a day or two before the sale)
Next is the fun part!
Chances are, you have some products sitting in your wishlist. Now is a good time to go through your list and delete anything you no longer want, need, or meets your needs.
If you have some things that have been on your list for a while that you still desperately want, or would really address a need in your classroom, make a note to prioritize those purchases.
Then, go wild adding to your wishlist!
I start by looking at the sellers’ stores I follow. I try not to follow too many sellers. Otherwise, the emails and notifications get overwhelming, and I can’t remember whose stuff I really, really loved.
I also look for resources according to the needs of my classroom. This year, my sophomores were really struggling with run-on sentences in their writing. I bought some Teachers Pay Teachers resources to help review and practice that skill because I knew my students needed it.
What are one or two skills your students are really struggling with? Is there an upcoming unit that you have not prepared at all? Is there one tool, like a teacher planner, that could really help your productivity?
Think about what you and your students need the most, not necessarily what’s new, trendy, or “fun.”
TIP: As fun as classroom decor items and cutesy signs are, resist the temptation to spend all of your money there.
Your students’ lives won’t be changed by how cute their classroom’s bulletin boards are. A resource that helps them nail a crucial skill, however, could make a big difference for a child.
By all means, buy the products that bring you joy, but make sure your curriculum isn’t a dumpster fire while your classroom looks like Martha Stewart designed it. Keep first things first.
Step 3: Focus on Large Purchases and Bundles (Do this as you load up your cart)
As you’re finalizing your purchases for the sale, make use of bundles!
Bundles are packages of related resources that sellers have put together at a discounted price. For example, I have quite a few individual resources for teaching The Hate U Give: reading questions, quizzes, a reading journal and workbook, a film worksheet, etc.
You can buy all of these individually if you only needed one. However, if you were to buy all of the resources for your The Hate U Give unit, it would cost $34.89.
If, however, you purchased my The Hate U Give bundle instead, you would get all of those same resources for a discounted price of $29.99.
During the sitewide Teachers Pay Teachers sales, most participating sellers discount their resources an additional 20%. In the example of my The Hate U Give bundle, that would bring the price of those resources down to $23.99.
During the sitewide sale, Teachers Pay Teachers also offers a sale code for an additional 5% off! With that code, the bundle would become 25% off–bringing it down to $22.49.
All of a sudden you’ve purchased $34.89 in resources for only $22.49!
For this reason, I almost always buy a bundle. If there’s a resource I really want, really need, and it’s from a seller I trust, I’ll usually just upgrade to the bundle.
Bundles provide the most product for your dollar. And if you don’t get to use and try everything this year? Well, there’s always next year, right?
Step 4: Don’t forget the Teachers Pay Teachers sale code! (Do this as you check out)
This is crucial!
During the sitewide sales, Teachers Pay Teachers puts out a 5% discount code. Like I said above, this, coupled with the usual seller determined discount of 20% off, means you get the same resource for only ¾ the price.
However, coupon codes only work if you use them!
Don’t forget to put the coupon code in the checkout before you confirm everything! I think I almost do this every single sale!
If, however, you do forget and you make your purchase without the code, Teachers Pay Teachers has your back.
If you realize you made this mistake, email their customer service immediately. Provide them as much information as possible, and they can retroactively apply the discount.
I’ve never had to do this, so I don’t know if they refund your card or give you TPT credit. Plan A is still to remember the code! If you have to have it applied retroactively, it’s going to take some time to process (the website will be super busy with the ongoing sale!).
But if you do make that mistake, know you’re not alone. Simply reach out to Teachers Pay Teachers.
Also, make sure you use that TPT credit to pay for as much of your purchase as possible!
If I’m making a small purchase ($1-5), I usually won’t dip into my TPT credits. I like to save those for bigger bundles that might be harder on the wallet.
How you use that TPT credit is entirely up to you, however. Like the coupon code, just don’t forget you have it!
Step 5: Enjoy!
And that’s it! If you follow these steps, I guarantee you’ll get as much as you possibly can for your money.
During your shopping spree, make sure to follow teacher sellers whose products you love on Teachers Pay Teachers. If they provide their social media information, you may also want to follow them there.
Following your favorite sellers can mean staying updated with their new products. It can also sometimes mean receiving freebies or awesome teaching tips, depending on the seller.
So go out and explore the world of Teachers Pay Teachers. Keep those wishlists updated, and always leave thoughtful reviews on products you purchased! If you’re curious about my own resources for sale, please check them out!
If you’re curious about what it’s like to sell on Teachers Pay Teachers, you can read my blog post HERE about my first six months selling on the site, or my post HERE about my first year selling on the site.