Since a class set of dry erase boards were so expensive, I ended up using plastic plates instead! You know, the kind you get in a pack at the grocery store. I did have to do a little trial and error, however, because with certain plastic plates, the dry erase marker would sort of etch in and you couldn't erase it. Jodi at the clutter free classroom upgraded a little and got a more durable plastic plate set at the Dollar Tree! See her post HERE .
Another thing you need for dry erase boards are erasers. I know that some people use white socks as a sort of mitt. I have to be honest....since kiddos aren't the best hand washers, this kind of grosses me out. I was never a fan of the socks. One thing that I stumbled upon that is absolutely FREE are USED dryer sheets. I know what you are thinking...used dryer sheets?! That is worse than socks. Think harder. You use dryer sheets with clean clothes, so a used dryer sheet is clean and usually still has a little smell to it. You get a free eraser and little deodorizer! I got students to bring these in and gave them a ticket (tickets went with my reward system). I stored them in an empty wet wipe container. You can just shove them in there. Since they are free, you have no worries to throw them away when kiddos need a new one. Also, if they lose theirs, no biggie, they just get a new one. It really worked out great for me, and we never ran out of them!
Hope these ideas help you! Do you have any cheap alternatives for dry erase boards or erasers that I didn't mention? I'd love to hear them!