By HOWARD BALABAN email@example.com
Medina Journal-Register — School budgets are a topic of discussion annually, but what is almost never mentioned is the money spent by teachers on their classes.
Things like notebooks, pens, and pencils can add up.
At Oak Orchard Elementary School in Medina, thanks to a generous donation by one of the school’s now-grown former students, many of those supplies are now available.
And all Kelsey Dreisbach paid for those supplies was the sales tax. Why?
Two words: extreme couponing.
Dreisbach started hunting for deals a little over a year ago when she and her husband learned they were expecting their first child. Since they only had one income, she said she decided to “try to figure out how to stretch a dollar as far as I could.”
She bought multiple Sunday papers and searched a few different websites for more bargains.
“I also started following krazycouponlady.com, because she offered a lot of beginners tips for a lot of different stores,” Dreisbach said. “That site really breaks couponing down, and I’d recommend it to anybody.”
Like many expectant mothers, Dreisbach said she stockpiled coupons for the “basics” like diapers, shampoo, and other household items. When she started seeing adds for school supplies, she thought about buying those, too, but hesitated since she was not a parent of a student.
“Then I decided that if I had the means of doing it, I would,” Dreisbach said. “My son is only five months old now, but I hoped that if we were ever in a situation where we needed anything, that someone would help us out.”
A little bit of research, a lot of clipping, and some price-matching at different stores later, Dreisbach wound up with about 400 notebooks, 100 packs each of pens, pencils, and crayons, and a few hundred folders (with 70 still left to drop off), among other school essentials. The total for the supplies was around $500, but thanks to couponing Dreisbach got them for next to nothing.
“I spoke to Nicole Goyette before I came by and gave her a heads up,” Dreisbach said. “She had some teachers waiting to meet me and they were very thankful and told me the supplies will help so many kids.”
Indeed, Goyette said such a sizable donation was “awesome” because of how many people it will affect.
“There are over 400 single subject notebooks, book covers, white out, pencils, crayons, you name it,” she said.
Teachers last year averaged spending about $100 on classroom supplies, according to Goyette, and now thanks to Dreisbach that amount could decrease.
Noting how the donated supplies are all necessities in an elementary school, Goyette said teachers do not have to worry about stressing over finding what a student might need. A spare notebook is available, and a replacement for that pen or pencil or crayon that grows legs can also be had.
Goyette said Dreisbach originally posted on Facebook, asking whether the school could use the supplies she had accumulated.
“I wrote back to her and said, ‘Yeah!’” Goyette recalled. “Then I think she got excited and found some more and started stockpiling.”
Goyette said it led to the largest donation she can recall in her 13 years as a Medina teacher.
Meanwhile, Dreisbach said she has saved thousands of dollars since she started couponing, and she has no plans to stop.
“A lot of what we have today we wouldn’t have without coupons,” she explained.
Parents in any district can do what she accomplished, Dreisbach added, noting how she “could not imagine” how much it would help families and schools.
“Even if just a few parents do something like this it would help a lot in Medina, in Albion, anywhere,” she said.
“It’s something anyone can do, you just need to set aside a little time.”