Retailers across the country offer special deals in early May to honor educators on National Teacher Appreciation Day. To mark the occasion, NEA Member Benefits pulls together a great list of exclusive discounts and giveaways that many educators can take advantage of during our own Member Appreciation Week (the first full week in May).
But you don’t have to wait for a specific date or week to save big bucks. You can get great deals all year round—if you know where to look.
“Educators are some of our most valued customers,” says Sarah DiFrancesco, director of business development for Barnes & Noble in Minneapolis. “They are key partners in the work we do as booksellers. We value the work they do—teaching children to read and encouraging a lifelong love of learning.”
Barnes & Noble designed its Educator Discount Program to help teachers save money when they spend their own funds to equip their classrooms with books, educational toys and games, NOOK e-readers and other items, DiFrancesco says. The company has been doing this for several decades and plans to continue. Even better, she adds, “we increase our discount several times a year during Educator Appreciation Days” to help teacher stretch their dollars even further.
Who’s eligible? Educators employed by accredited pre-K-12 public, private or parochial schools as well as homeschooling parents. “Substitute, student, college-level and retired teachers are not eligible” for the Barnes & Noble Educator Discount Program, DiFrancesco says. Learn more at your nearest store or online.
NEA member Osi Juergens, who taught at elementary and middle schools for 15 years, says her favorite and most-used educator discount is Ann Taylor Loft’s “Loft Loves Teachers” program that gives teachers a 15% discount on full-priced merchandise all year long. “It’s a fabulous place for teachers to purchase very good work-related clothing” such as professional-casual sweaters, shirts and slacks, Juergens says.
Debra Spector teaches kindergarten through sixth grade at Lake Canyon Elementary School in Galt, California. She spent 10 years in general education and the last three years in special education teaching RSP—resource service provider, aka “resource room” or “strategies class”—for students with mild-to-moderate learning disabilities.
Spector’s first experience with discounts for teachers came by accident. As she chatted with a clerk at J. Crew, she happened to mention that she was a teacher. The clerk told her that the company gives all teachers (and college students) a 15% discount when they show valid school ID at checkout.
Alicia Griswold, an English literature and French composition teacher at the Art Institute of Atlanta in Georgia, was able to afford a new MacBook in 2008 with an Apple Education Pricing discount. She also scored a free printer and iPod. “The whole deal was really great,” she says.
Griswold plans all of her major shopping to maximize savings during tax holidays, whether she’s buying school supplies or other things she uses in teaching. “I went during the Georgia Tax-Free Week” and saved even more, she says.
Apple’s discounts on computers and Apple software are available to faculty and staff of K-12 schools and to college students, professors, faculty and staff. There’s also a section of discounts for schools. Learn more about Apple in Education educator deals at apple.com.
Many teachers told us they love shopping online at The Container Store using the company’s “Organized Teacher Discounts” program. The program offers specials that enrolled teachers can redeem throughout the year, plus monthly organization tips “geared directly to teachers and their classrooms,” says Nina Smith, public relations coordinator for The Container Store.
Many educators also recommend Michaels arts and crafts supply stores’ 15% off everyday discount for teachers. To apply, ask a store associate for details. The company also maintains a list of “Create for Your Classroom” products and projects online.
When you need paper, binders, folders, copies, laminated pages, and other office supplies and printing or copying services, check your favorite store’s special offers for teachers. For example, Office Depot offers special educator discounts and perks.
Does your favorite store offer educator discounts? If you don’t know, you should ask, recommend many teachers who use educator discounts. Some stores may not announce their educator special offers but will give discounts to teachers who request them. Some stores may not have a teacher discount policy but may be willing to give discounts if teachers ask for them.
“Ask the sales clerk,” wherever you’re shopping, Spector says. “And always carry a copy of your staff ID” in case the answer is yes.
Browse through sites like Gift Card Granny and Brads Deals to find even more teacher discounts and deals. You may find some apply only to limited areas, contain outdated information or may have expired, but you’ll discovered companies that have offered educator deals in the past. Would they be open to doing so again? It can’t hurt to ask.