Definitely wait and see what you have in the room and wait at least several weeks into the school year to figure out what you really need prior to purchasing anything. My first year, I was so excited to have a job right out of college (the job market was AWFUL at the time and that was very unexpected) that I ran out and bought things right away. Some of what I bought ended up already being in my classroom, my school did give me a small budget and basic supplies, and other stuff that I bought ended up being totally unnecessary. In my head I'd kind of based my supplies off of how my student teaching placement looked, and my first "real" job ended up being totally different and I didn't need the same materials. I gradually spent less and less every year and have been at the point where I haven't spent a dime of my own money over the past 5 years or so. Education funding is abysmal in my state and we've experienced many salary freezes, even though COL in my city has risen exponentially since I moved here. I refuse to spend what little money I have on doing my job. If my school doesn't provide it, I don't use it. For example, we're moving buildings and they quit buying office supplies halfway through the year because the secretary didn't want to have to pack them up/move them. I use dry erase markers constantly in my room, but when we ran out I simply switched to pencil and paper instead. I wish all teachers would have an attitude more like mine, honestly. There is no motivation for school/district admins to provide supplies when teachers willingly (in some cases, even happily) go out and buy their own. Nothing will change unless a significant number of teachers stop doing this. Just a tip, on some of our desks and tables you can write right on the desk with a dry erase marker and it will easily erase off, just like a white board. I've found it works really well with medium and dark colored desks/tables...NOT on the light colored ones because it doesn't come off all of the way. You can test it out first on whatever is in your room. If you have the right kind of tables/desks you can skip the mini white boards and the kids tend to think writing on the desk is "more fun."