Classroom Shopping on a Budget

Yesterday my aunt, my cousin, her husband, their 14-month-old, and myself made a road trip down to Niagara Falls, New York for some serious American-retail therapy. Unlike my family though, I had only one purchase goal in mind: classroom supplies, naturally!

I love going across the border for shopping, because of the deals you are able to find there. It is amazing that the American and Canadian dollar are almost on par, yet American prices are always, ALWAYS cheaper! Last August when my family and I travelled down to Daytona Beach, Florida, I could not believe all of the teacher resources on sale at Walmart. Items were going for only 88 cents a piece! For that price, I bought my classroom Welcome banner, two hall passes, two bathroom passes, a homework chart, and a classroom jobs chart. Here in Canada, you can definitely expect to pay $10 and up for some of the same items.

So when I found out that my aunt & cousin wanted to do some across the border shopping before I left for Saskatchewan, I decided to wait all summer before I went out and bought anything for the classroom. I am so happy I did, because look what I was able to buy:

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 11.05.50 AM

I was able to find these things at Walmart, Hobby Lobby (which we do not have in Canada & I must say I am in LOVE with this store), and Party City

The cost breakdown:

 Desk Name Tags

(Purchased from Walmart)

  • American Price: $1.47 per pack of 30
  • Canadian Price: $8.99 per pack of 36

Bulletin Borders

(Short borders from Walmart; long borders from Hobby Lobby)

  • American Price: $0.97 per pack of 15 (short); $2.99 (long)
  • Canadian Price: $19.15 per pack of 36; $5.99 (long)

Just to show you the cost difference, if I bought 6 packs, I would have paid $5.82 for a pack of 90 borders! $19.15 for 36 borders OR $5.82 for 90 borders…the USA was cheaper by far!

Christmas Banner

(Purchased from Walmart)

  • American Price: $0.97
  • Canadian Price: $4.49

Alphabet Banner

(Purchased from Walmart)

  • American Price: $0.97
  • Canadian Price: $10.99

Ready Letters:

(Purchased from Hobby Lobby)

  • American Price: $7.99
  • Canadian Price: $8.95

Pom-Pom Ceiling Decorations

(Purchased from Hobby Lobby (black) & Party City (red) – Hobby Lobby did not carry red)

  • American Price: $2.50 per pack of 3 (black); $6.99 per pack of 3 (red)
  • Canadian Price: $8.99 per pack of 3 (red)



American Total Cost: $25.63

Canadian Total Cost: $129.24

NOW, after converting my total American cost into Canadian dollars (which came to $26.44) and subtracting it from the Canadian total cost…


Lesson of the Day:

To all my fellow Canadian teachers, if you can, make a trip to the USA before school starts! The time to go is August usually, that is when they have their teaching inventory stock up in Walmart. As a first year teacher, I know that a lot of money comes out of your own pocket to start up your class and to get it looking the way you want it to. I highly recommend looking to Walmart & Hobby Lobby for cheap teaching supplies and resources. You will NOT be disappointed!


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