A teacher plants the seeds of knowledge, sprinkles them with love, and patiently nurtures their growth to produce tomorrow’s dreams.
I’m Eric Holland and I run highfivedad.com where I help families learn to save money, make money and manage their money better. My wife is a teacher, so I am uniquely placed to give money management skills to teachers everywhere.
Teachers play such an important role in society nowadays. They are there to wipe tears, to instil knowledge, build character, and to create leaders. Teachers truly should be praised and rewarded.
However, the one area that teachers aren’t rewarded is their paycheck…
I should know I am married to one. She reminds me each day how important her job is and how little her paycheck is. As a result, many teachers leave the profession they love because they can’t afford to stay. Their costs are too high or their insurance benefits too low.
In speaking with my wife’s friends who are all teachers, I discovered an almost universal truth…
They are all spenders!!!
Even though their paychecks are low, they spend money on items to improve their classroom or gifts for the treasure box.
Now, some are more extreme than others but not a conversation goes by where they are not discussing what they bought at Target for their classroom.
This is an honourable way to spend their money but can often lead to money problems.
How can teacher’s budget their money?
We know that many teachers are spenders but that doesn’t mean that you can just spend freely without regard to your bank account.
It is in these situations, that a teacher truly begins to struggle financially and leave the profession.
In order to prevent this financial stress, budgeting is key.
I know what you are thinking…. The “B” word…
For a saver like me, the budget word isn’t some enemy to fight against. However, I have learned from my wife, that not many people share my same enthusiasm for budgeting…
But think about it like this…
Would never try teaching your class without a lesson plan, would you?
The answer is no… I have tried… and it didn’t go well…
A budget is just a lesson plan for your money. It allows you to plan it out, think about how you’re going to spend it each month and make adjustments along the way.
I would recommend starting off simply by listing all of your monthly bills out on a sheet of paper.
List the bill and the expense.
Then create a list of items that are non-negotiables that are needed. This is items like Food, Gas, home products, pet food, etc.
Look at about how much you spent on these items the month or two before. We like to look at a 3-month average, but a single month gives you an idea.
Write down about how much you will need for the month for those non-negotiables.
Then review things that are coming up in the month such as birthdays, events, holidays, date nights, etc.
Again think about a realistic amount of money you would need for these things and add them to the list.
Ok add up all your amounts and then subtract from your monthly income…
I am hoping it was a positive number…
If not, go back and adjust how much you have set aside on events.
If you have a positive amount left, this is what I consider the cash pool. The amount of money that we can allocate however we want.
We can add that money to savings, pay down debts faster, buy school supplies for the classrooms… you get the picture.
Each month, Michelle and I set aside “fun” money from the cash pool that allows us to spend however we want during the month without any restrictions. This allows budgeting to not be as painful but still make sure we are living within our means.
How can teachers make more money?
When you look at the budgeting equation there are two main driving factors… income and expenses.
As a teacher, you probably did not get into the field to become a millionaire but that doesn’t mean you have to settle with your current level of income.
Most teachers don’t have an opportunity to negotiate a higher salary on their own, so in order to increase their income, they need to take on some sort of side hustle.
The great thing about teachers is that there are multiple opportunities to create extra income on the side!
3 Great Side Hustles for Teachers.
Tutoring is probably the number one side hustle that teacher’s take on to earn extra income. Some teacher’s tutor students in their own schools but many tutor outside of their school. One benefit of tutoring is that you can tutor on the weekends or after school and it is within your area of speciality.
2. Sell lesson plans.
A popular website called Teacher Pay Teacher is an amazing source of income for teachers. Many teachers are already creating content for their classrooms, so they can repackage it and sell it as printables.
Now blogging will not make you a millionaire overnight, but it is a great way to earn extra income if you stick with it. Most educators are extremely passionate about various topics which make for a great blogger. They can make money through advertisements, affiliate offers, or sponsorships.
As a teacher, your job is one of the most valuable jobs around. You are making the next generation of lawyers, teachers, scientists, and leaders. Worrying about your finances should not get in the way of a job that you are truly passionate about. Spend 30 minutes each month developing a budget for the month and think about creative ways you can make money on the side. Just like in your classroom reflect upon the budget each month and make adjustments. Your students will thank you for it later…