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Young Smiling Student Using Her Laptop In A Library

As we wrap up the summer and head back to school, we all can use some help to stretch our teacher wallets! Am I right? Payday can’t come soon enough. Here are my top ten ideas for preparing for the new school year on a budget.

  1. Track your expenses and make a budget. As educators, you can deduct money off on your taxes. Remember to keep your receipts as you purchase items for your classroom. I carry and envelope with me and I have talked to other teachers who also have an envelope system to help track their spending.
  2. Take free or inexpensive professional development classes. Yes, they do exist. Check with your local district or state office of teacher license and see if they have a listing. Being able to make more money on less out of pocket costs is a fabulous way to continue your education. This summer I earned 38 continuing education credits and spent $30 total. Also, Big Universe offers free webinars. Check with your district to see if these meet their criteria for lane change/step-up credit and continuing education hours.
  3. Stock up and buy when it’s on sale. Crayons for a quarter, glue 2 for $1. If you can afford to shell out some pocket change now, your wallet will thank you later!
  4. Garage sales and thrift stores provide you another great way to add items at a fraction of the cost. Purchase anything for your closet to your classroom at a fraction of the cost.
  5. Check out consignment shops for great deals and to sell your unwanted items.
  6. Get the store card. Stores cards vary their promotions. I’ve seen some that give you a discount off your total bill and free shipping. Some stores will even allow you to “give back” to a local school. This way you and your students both benefit from your shopping.
  7. Trial offers can be a bit tricky. You need to be aware of  your “expiration” date or your card will be charged.  Unless, you really want the service (free shipping is always nice).
  8. Find coupons, promo codes or add an online extension to your browser. From shoes to photos you can find discount codes online. Print them out and save money. Online extensions instantly check for better prices and can save you time by finding and applying promo codes.
  9. Apply for classroom grants. Begin the process early to help your students this year. There is money to be had to help you help your students.
  10. Carry your staff telephone tree with you. I know I’ve done this one before! I found a great deal and wanted my other teacher friends to get in on it, too. I’m sure they will appreciate the phone call.

We love to hear from our readers, what other ways do you save as a teacher on a budget?

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