Sunday, August 21, 2011

Thrifty Finds of The Week/Upcoming Events!

Its the beginning of the school year which means that its time for Back to School shopping. While I might not be buying back packs, note book paper, or markers the band does need a good amount of supplies to get the school year off to a good start. Here's all the things I can remember I did last week that were thrifty:

-Music Folder Assembly: The folders are free because we get them from a local music store that we work with Bronstein Music. We also have stopped using a warm-up book and some of my staff members (Erik and Reno) have written a warm-up packet for the program that includes lip slurs, scale exercises, and percussion exercises to accompany the wind warm-ups that develop technique that is appropriate for where they are right now as players (ie we can change them as the players develop)...easily and for free. I also have materials that I received from other teaches (worksheets, scale sheets) that I use and none of which I ever purchased. (And these materials were generated by the teachers so its not like I am breaking copyright and photocopying published materials). Finally all the paper that was used to photocopy these materials was donated to our programs (thanks parents!!!)

-The mellophones: We ordered mellophone mouthpieces. Then we ended up finding some mellophones to borrow (we traded Evergreen Valley a trombone and some books and they lent us two mellophones). Unfortunately we got the horns yesterday and found they came with brand new mouthpieces (after we had just ordered new ones) but I checked and Woodwind & Brasswind provided free shipping and has a great return policy so in the end everything worked out!

-We got a guitar amp donated thanks to a former band parent spotting an ad on Craigs List from King Amplification. They are a Fender warranty center and often end up with a surplus of amps. So they wanted to donate one to a local music program. So we got a sweet small guitar amp that will work perfect for our jazz combo program! Free!

-The band program has several awesome upcoming fundraisers that we are trying out. I will be profiling these this week as we launch our first official fundraiser this week. (Its a Apple Gift Card Drawing. We are selling $10 drawing tickets to win a $500 Apple Gift Card. We will purchase multiple gift cards depending on how many tickets we sell so the odds are actually really good!). I would love to see us make $18,000 on this fundraiser!

-You might remember all that fabric that I got on sale at Jo Ann Fabrics (we saved around $750 using coupons a few weeks ago). We are making bands that go around the hat and the waist of the jacket to "spice" up our marching band uniforms. One of our awesome parent volunteers, Gina is making the bands for the hats as we speak. I'm going to learn how to attach them and then we are going to start assembling them on Wednesday! There will be pics to follow for sure.

-And all music teachers, don't forget. See if your local music stores have some kind of rewards program. Our local music store, Music Village has a program where students can turn in receipts from their purchases at the store to me. I turn them into the music store and then the music stores gives me a 5% reward back. That's not half bad if your students are purchasing stuff regularly and also purchasing large stuff (like instruments). So last year I turned in a ton of receipts and got a $552 gift card. I have been purchasing mostly mouthpieces and music with it and this week I purchased a mouthpiece and some ligatures.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Thrifty Find of the Day-Use those coupons!

The thrifty band director is back! Its been a nice long summer vacation but its band camp time which means its time to start being thrifty again in the classroom. I will be doing my best to blog about how we run our season from the budget process to creative meals through the marching band season that are very inexpensive to how to save money within your budget.

Today's thrifty find is going to save us about $800!!! What the heck are we doing? all started with our marching band uniforms. They are old. They need updating and we just aren't there financially yet to replace them. So our show designer came up with some "alternations" to the uniforms (basically making a waistband, gauntlets, and band for the hat) that is white and gold. It is going to look awesome and we plan on using these "uniform alterations" until we purchase new uniforms (hopefully in a few years).

We can't purchase these items previously made due to the construction of our current uniform. So we convinced a guard parent (Gina) who is an awesome and super crafty lady (as well as thrifty) design the pattern and figure out what fabric we needed etc. You can check out some of Gina's creations on her site

We figured out we needed two different fabrics and we needed 60 yards of it. Gina also brought me two coupons to use from Joann Fabrics We went to the fabric store and found out two very important things: yes we can pre-order the fabric & use we can use our 40% and 50% off coupons!

What does this mean. Total savings on $713.73. Now that's thrifty....

A special shout out today goes to my trusty band camp office assistant Spencer for coming up with the first thrifty find of the day (the moral of this story is look in your storage bins occasionally to see what you've got in there). Spencer noticed that we had stored white gloves in there (the last time we wore them was his freshman year which was 2003).....the same white gloves that we are switching to for this year. Meaning we might not have to buy very many gloves this year (saving us another couple hundred bucks).