Stretching Your Science Budget

Make your dollars work harder and go further.

When you’re selecting instructional materials, cost is always an important factor, but so is time. If you must spend hours tracking down each individual item you need to purchase, only to save a few dollars, you really haven’t saved much.

What are some solutions? Bundle up, buy in bulk, and look for high-quality items at bargain prices. Here are a few examples of how you can stretch your budget and save time in the process.

Value-priced items

Most people don’t want to spend more money than necessary on everyday items. The same holds true when purchasing lab equipment. You want quality equipment at a reasonable price. Two of the more expensive but necessary lab items are scales and microscopes. Here are some suggestions to get them at a good value for your dollar.


Carolina offers a variety of scales, including pocket scales with the capacity and readability you need in a compact size and at a compact price, ensuring you get more for every dollar spent.


Carolina’s line of Walter Microscopes, designed especially for classroom student use, likewise offer great value for the price. These microscopes feature all-metal construction for ruggedness and durability, plus LED illumination for a cooler, long-life lighting system.

Larger chemical purchases

Big box stores aren’t the only places offering discounts on large quantities. Chemical suppliers often sell lab chemicals in bulk, which can be a budget-stretching option.

  • Generally, the price of chemicals per unit of mass decreases as the mass increases. So you usually save money when you buy in larger quantities. There are considerations, though. Do you have adequate and safe storage for a larger supply of chemicals? Will each chemical be used before its shelf life expires? If you can answer yes to these questions, then you may save money by buying in larger amounts.

  • Premade solutions are often more expensive than preparing the solution yourself. If you need a refresher on solution preparation, our Carolina’s Solution Preparation Manual can walk you through the process. If you just need a quick review of the math, see our Molarity, Molality, or Normality? (A Quick Review).

Equipment bundles

When you are part of a science department that shares laboratory resources, you may never know how many beakers or flasks are clean, crack-free, and available. Glassware could have been plentiful at the beginning of the year, then by March, students are using paper cups! That’s why Carolina offers the Beaker-Breakers program, which replaces broken glassware for one full year, saving you the full replacement cost. The program has 3 options to fit almost any budget or lab size:

Carolina’s glassware starter packs can also stretch your budget.

Need to outfit a new lab or refurbish an old one, for either chemistry or biology? Carolina® Lab Equipment Packages save you time and money, include the most frequently used lab items, and serve 4 students per package.

Kit Savings

Activity bundles

Purchase everything you need for laboratory activities for the year—once. Using activity bundles means you have only one set of purchasing paperwork, one delivery, and one unpacking. Then if your course pacing changes, you’re ready because everything you need for labs is on hand. Every activity bundle has cost savings built into the price. For first course activity bundles, we recommend our Carolina Kits 3D® product lines. They are designed with NGSS and phenomenon-based instruction at the forefront.

The same cost and time savings apply to our science bundles for use with Advanced Placement®. All of these kits are designed and organized using the big ideas for each course, as designated by the College Board®.

Multiple class section bundles

Many science educators teach multiple sections of the same course, which requires prepping larger quantities of consumable materials. One way to reduce prep time is to set up the materials for all sections at one time. And to stretch your buying power, consider purchasing multiple class section bundles. Carolina offers chemistry, physics, and anatomy and physiology value-priced bundles designed for 40 groups of students, or 10 groups per section in 4 sections.

Most of our instructional kits have a refill option so you only purchase the consumable materials you need from year to year, for substantial savings.

If you teach anatomy and physiology, check out these “Tips to Get More for Your Anatomy and Physiology Budget.”

Know your options

When you’re on a tight budget, getting the most bang for your buck is a necessity. As your classroom partner, Carolina has numerous options to help you save money on equipment and instructional material purchases, and to save time in lab preparation—all without sacrificing quality.

Need assistance with selection or purchasing specific quantities? Contact us at We’re always happy to assist you with an order. Don’t forget to ask for a quote for possible additional savings.

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