Hey teacher fam!
Today’s post is about spending less money.
Now I realize what you’re thinking. Oh great, here we go, another article telling me to stop buying my Dunkin’ coffees and to ride a bike to work instead of drive.
I understand your aversion because those articles annoy me too.
For one, how can you tell me to ride a bike when you have no idea how far away from work I live? My job is a good 10 miles away, accessible only by highway. I’ll let you know how it goes riding my rusty 10th grade Schwinn down the HOV lane. Thanks for the advice.
Secondly, drinking that Dunkin’ iced coffee might be the only thing getting you excited to get up in the morning. I hope that’s not the case, but if it is, that’s something that truly brings you value. Spending less money should be about cutting things out that DON’T bring you value. So to say that everyone should stop buying that coffee in the morning is not realistic.
My point is, much of the advice I read about spending less and saving more is not practical. It’s stuff that you read, roll your eyes, and go “well, that’s never happening.”
If only someone would write an article with simple strategies that are realistic and actionable for teachers.
Ding, Ding. That’s what this article is all about.
Simple and practical strategies for the everyday teacher to spend less money.
My goal is for you to finish reading this with at least a couple different strategies that you can implement TOMORROW. In fact, I failed you if you’re not able to save yourself $15 dollar this week, and over $100 a month from now.
Now I’m not reinventing the wheel here. Some of these items you probably already thought about but never took action on.
This is your time to do it. No more waiting.
**Cue Shia Labeouf gif**
I’m done ranting. Let’ jump in.
5 strategies for teachers to spend less money
1. Pack Your Lunch
This is something you probably already know saves money, but the question is, do you actually do it? Think about it, how often do you order lunch at school?
I personally find it VERY easy to justify picking up food. Whether it’s the old “We only order lunch on Fridays”, or, “I had a busy morning so I didn’t have time to make my lunch”. Yes, I’ve used both of those excuses MANY times.
Before long though, those one-time excuses become habits that become routines.
When I first started teaching I ordered lunch 2x a week. Once on Wednesday and again on Friday. It was my routine and I couldn’t even tell you why I did it, it was just something I did. That routine was costing me $30/week or $12o/month, and I never even thought twice about it.
This school year I changed my thinking. I tell myself that every time I bring in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or left over chicken parm from the night before, I save myself $15.
Simple logic, but it works for me. It makes me think twice when I get that Friday text if I’m ordering food.
2. Utilize Teacher Discounts
Did you know that stores LOVE giving discounts to teachers? I actually don’t know if they love it or not, but they do it a lot.
In August, my girlfriend and I spent a day researching and compiling a list of different deals available to teachers. We had a bunch of necessary back to school purchases and we figured why not try to save a little. To our surprise, we found SO many stores offering discounts.
In total, we saved more than $300 just by buying our usual back to school items through teacher discounts.
We discovered that the best deals are during the summer when teachers and students are getting ready to go back to school. So if you’re looking for discounts, July and August are your best bet.
Here were a few of our favorites.
- Target was offering 15% off school supplies
- Staples was offering 20% off
- Michaels was offering 15% off your entire purchase
For more on teacher deals, check out my list of Teacher Discounts.
3. Workout at home
Alright, I realize this one is not for everyone, but hear me out.
Gym memberships can be expensive. Like easily $50 a month expensive.
Now if you’re a gym person, and you go 3-5x/week, you use the equipment, you use the weights, then I get it. You get a lot of value from the gym.
On the contrary, if you’re a person that goes 1x/week or less, mostly uses the mat for yoga/ab workouts, and every so often runs on the treadmill, then you may want to consider doing your workout at home.
Ask yourself, what value am I getting from this gym membership?
If you’re really not using the equipment that much, then why are you paying $40-$50/month to access the equipment?
Besides, there is a whole lot you can do at home with a couple weights, resistance bands, pull-up bar, and a mat.
My girlfriend and I approach the gym differently. I found that I can do 95% of what I was doing at the gym at home, and I love that I don’t need to drive anywhere or pay anything to workout. My girlfriend Amanda is different. She pays well over $100/month for Orange Theory, but it’s because she really values the workout that she gets with their program, and home workouts just weren’t cutting it for her.
Working out at home is a great way to spend less if it works for you.
This is another one where it may work for you or it may not. For me, carpooling doesn’t work. I need my time in the morning to myself. It’s how I catch up on podcasts and get myself focused for the day.
My brother on the other hand is energetic in the morning and thrives from conversation. So if you’re like him, you may consider finding a carpool buddy!
If one of your colleagues lives close to you, and you both don’t mind sharing time together in the morning, carpooling can be a great win/win option.
Let’s look at the numbers. For me, I spend $30/week on gas to get me too and from work. By carpooling, I could save myself $15/week, or $60/month. Not too shabby!
Again, if you value your time alone in the morning than don’t carpool.
This is for my chipper morning people that would love a good conversation over coffee on their drive in.
5. Share streaming subscription services
Here’s a scenario for you.
You’re on your couch, comfy, popcorn in hand, ready to stream that new tv show everyone has been talking about, only to realize it’s on HBO and not Netflix.
Is it worth it to subscribe to HBO? One side of you is like, “I already pay for Netflix, Hulu, and Disney Plus, do I really want to add HBO into the mix?”. Then the other side goes “But this show is supposedly SO good and everyone is talking about it at work”. WHAT DO I DO??!!!
Don’t worry, we’ve all be in this position before.
The simple long term solution is to share your streaming subscriptions.
Next time you’re in the faculty room at work, ask if someone is willing to give access to their HBO account in exchange for access to one of your other streaming accounts.
You may even make a deal with 4 friends, where you each pay for ONE streaming platform, and then you all share.
You just saved yourself $30/month and $360/year. BOOM!
The Bottom Line
Applying just a couple of these tips can save teachers hundreds a month and easily over a thousand per year.
I would love to hear some of your own saving strategies. Let me know in the comments how you save money as a teacher!