Are you like so many teachers (myself included) where as soon as all the back to school items are on store shelves you’re stocking up on all the good deals “just in case” you need it? Well, we’re to help you avoid overspending on your classroom so you can save some money right away. And please, no matter what you do buy for your classroom, be sure to save your receipts! Some schools may reimburse you for what you buy, but there’s also a tax credit available for teachers which is at least a little bit of something considering how much we spend.
Teacher Money Saving Tip #1: Ask Before You Buy
Yes, we know the thrill of getting out there and beginning to create the classroom you’ve always dreamed of, but you would be amazed at what veteran teachers already have and are happy to share. In fact, some schools have a designated space where teachers can put items they don’t want, need or use anymore for other teachers to take. Your school may actually supply you with more than you expect, especially this year because many schools have COVID funds that have to be spent. Parent organizations will sometimes give teachers a stipend to spend on materials for your classroom.
Teacher Money Saving Tip #2: Make A List
The next thing you want to do before you run out to Target or Lakeshore Learning is to make a list. When you have a list it will help to keep your attention focused and your budget on track. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of “it’s only a couple bucks,” but those couple of bucks start to add up quickly. Target is very clever having the Dollar Spot right at the front of the store because your cart is empty so it doesn’t feel like you’re spending that much money. However, when you get to the cash register and your total is well over $100 that’s when the reality sets in. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day so you don’t have to have everything for your classroom your first year of teaching. Keep it simple and gather the materials you’ll need in the coming years.
Teacher Money Saving Tip #3: Shop Wisely
With Fourth of July right around the corner, you’re going to begin to see all of those back to school ads start to pop up. If you are on a tight budget, then you might want to do some comparison shopping. Target, Walmart, and Staples all run pretty awesome sales, so you should try to blockout time to be sure you hit all three stores if needed. Just because you saw a teacher on Instagram with some new teacher tool, doesn’t mean you have to run out and buy it. This is especially true when it comes to big purchases such as a Cricut or a personal laminator. You more than likely don’t need either and can add these to your wish list.
Teacher Money Saving Tip #4: No Cost Incentives
A lot of reward systems involve the teacher supplying the reward. Some teachers use a treasure chest while others have a classroom store. Guess what though? The items you supply your treasure chest or store with are supplied by you, the teacher! Start to think creatively when planning out your system. Here are a couple examples of no cost incentives that students love:
These are all so simple and require very little work or money on your end. Your students will be raving about their reward and you’ll be saving plenty of dough.
Teacher Money Saving Tip #5: Plan Ahead
So this one sounds a little out there, but listen to the reasoning behind it. When you see a sale whether it is back to school or an end of season sale, plan ahead for the next year. For example, crayons usually go on sale pretty cheap right about now. So why not scoop up enough for your class to use as gifts for the holidays. A box of crayons and a homework pass can make a great gift for most students.
Also pay attention to after holiday sales like Halloween or Valentine’s Day. If you’re in a store and items like plates and napkins are marked down, scoop some up for next year. Not only will this save you money, but come next year you’ll feel ahead of the game.
Teacher Money Saving Tip #6: Classroom Library
So this is an easy feature of the classroom to get carried away with no matter how many years you’ve been teaching. We’re teachers and we love books which is wonderful. Our job is to pass that love of books onto our students and we totally can for no money at all! How you ask? Use your local library to supply your books for now. They are FREE and you can literally choose from thousands of books. It might be helpful to take an interest survey of your students and share this information with your librarian. Not only will this tip save you money, but it will hopefully spark an interest and love of reading for your students.
Teacher Money Saving Tip #7: Social Media
You are living in a great era of being an educator because everything you need is at your fingertips. Social media will be an extraordinarily helpful tool during career. As you prepare for your classroom, be sure to look for items on the Facebook Marketplace. There are often so many teachers selling their teacher goodies at amazing prices. In fact, you might even consider starting there before you look anywhere else.
There is also a new trend happening in the teacher world of social media where teachers are creating “Wish Lists” and posting to their accounts. This way friends and family might see what is needed for your classroom and they’ll want to donate an item. More and more teachers are doing this, so if it is something you’re comfortable with then why not give it a try!
Yes, this is an exciting time to be a teacher but be sure to be mindful of your spending. You shouldn’t be going broke because you’re buying items for your classroom. You need to be wise and follow these Teacher Money Saving Tips:
Ask Before You Buy, Make A List, Shop Wisely, No Cost Incentives, Plan Ahead, Classroom Library Planning, and Use of Social Media.
As always, please know you are welcome to reach out to us on Instagram () or email ([email protected]) if there’s anything you need. Our mission is to make the lives of primary teachers as stress free as possible.
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Hillary Midgely also has some great advice in these articles 16 Things To Ask Before You Start Teaching At A New School and 5 Tips For an Effective Classroom Management Plan.
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