43 VBS Cost Cutters

  1. A local newspaper company donates ends of rolls of paper left after the bulletin is run. This is great paper for use in decorating and it’s free.
  2. Have a sign up sheet for different families to provide snacks each night.
  3. Save large foam board cutouts to be recycled into new objects and repainted.
  4. Have a Valentine’s Banquet for the adults as a fund raiser to benefit VBS.
  5. Buy in bulk.
  6. Take advantage of “no shipping” and coupons on catalog orders.
  7. Ask congregation to “sponsor a child for VBS”.
  8. Ask local construction companies for leftover insulation panels.
  9. Instead of buying reward trinkets, put kids name in a drawing each time they memorize, etc., then on parent night, have a drawing for decorations, hats, etc. that have already been used that week.
  10. Give limits on reimbursements to teachers who buy their own supplies.
  11. Borrow and/or share with other churches.
  12. Combine two classrooms to rotate in and out of a decorated room. Saves the cost to decorate.
  13. Host a decorating workday/workshop to make decorations. Share with the churches who participate.
  14. Start early!
  15. Go to Sears’s furniture stores to get extra Styrofoam and cardboard for decorations.
  16. To save money, we alternate crafts with recreation each day. Half of the students go to crafts and the other half go to recreation. Another option is to alternate crafts with missions.
  17. Ask people to donate items from home for decorations.
  18. Look for free stuff from construction sites, cardboard container companies, libraries (name tags) newspaper and printing companies (free paper).
  19. Find a church member who works for a food company/supplier and ask for snack donations.
  20. Buy snacks you are SURE the children will eat.
  21. Find a local contractor who can get insulation foam at cost.
  22. Assign 10 team captains with each team to raise $100-$250 for VBS. Program culminates the event.
  23. Give your adult Sunday School classes short supply lists of items to purchase.
  24. Electrical supply companies will often supply Styrofoam packing.
  25. Furniture stores will often supply large cardboard boxes.
  26. Do not permit teachers to buy their own supplies.
  27. Laminate name stickers and use safety pins to save money on nametags.
  28. Ask the senior ladies in the church to bake cakes and snacks for the workers.
  29. For family night, instead of sending home treat bags, we send home a family basket (donated used baskets) with church items: coffee mugs with goodies, parent tips booklet, church information, loaf of bread, etc.
  30. For small churches, move crafts outside. Get a tent provided from a local funeral home.
  31. Buy classroom supplies when the back-to-school sales are going on in late summer.
  32. Contact local sporting goods store to sell t-shirts for children’s craft at cost.
  33. Use colored chalk to color salt to use as sand.
  34. Ask hotels to donate old sheets to use as backdrops.
  35. Buy generic brands of needed supplies.
  36. Contact local school system for “packed lunches” for children.
  37. Reuse large props by redecorating.
  38. At the spring children’s musical, we advertised our VBS t-shirts and asked for donations for kids that may not be able to afford them.
  39. Shop yard sales and thrift stores.
  40. Ask church to donate pre-packaged snacks (i.e.- Little Debbie cakes, Kool-Aid, etc.)
  41. Ask your mission groups in your church to provide snacks for VBS kids.
  42. Keep your eyes “peeled for deals” when shopping.
  43. Get sheets for backdrops from Goodwill or motels.

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