Dollars and Sense #17: Steals and Deals

I’m sure many of you are like me and are faced with a limited budget. Long before I started in my current position, the teens were conditioned to expect prizes at our monthly teen night events. They look forward to our prize drawings and it wasn’t something I really wanted to take away. So I’m always looking for fun and affordable prizes and program supplies for my teen events. Here are some of my favorites:

Target’s Dollar Spot -This is my regular place for Teen Night prizes. I’ve found cloth bags, mini pens, and stickers that all work well for Teen Night.

The local dollar store -Every once in awhile I can find program supplies at our local dollar store. This is where I looked for craft supplies for a Girl’s Day Out: Room Makeover program and found wooden paintable frames for $1. It gave me a great craft and also helped keep the supply cost down.

FredFlare.com -I love Fred Flare and so do my teens. It’s more expensive, but if you’re looking for unique and wacky prize ideas, this is the best place to look. There are lots of great finds under $20 and be sure to check out their clearance items. This is a great place to mix up your prizes for Summer Reading Program and offer something really different.

Sushi Erasers-I first got sushi erasers to give away as a prize for an anime club event and the teens went crazy over them. I found mine at a Scholastic Warehouse sale, but ShopKawaii.com has sushi erasers for $1! Take a look around the site for other anime club prize ideas.

Operation Anime-Operation Anime is a project by Funimation.’  If your anime club has 20 or more members, you can sign up and recieve a free anime DVD each month from featured titles.’  The request to view the DVD includes screening permission from Funimation for the event date.’  The DVDs can then be added to your library collection.’  The packages also come with bookmarks and postcards that are great anime club giveaways.

Signed Author Bookplates -Two summers ago I came up with an idea to ask authors for signed bookplates to use for our summer reading program. My teen library council helped come up with a list of authors to write to and I sent them e-mails asking them if they would be willing to sign bookplates for us. Then with the help of community relations, we sent bookplates and a self-addressed stamped envelope to the authors. We got a great response and we used the bookplates to make signed books to give away for summer reading. The teens loved finding autographed copies of their favorite books and it made our book giveaway that year extra special.

What are some of your favorite steals and deals?

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