New Teachers and $$$

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Obadiah, Jun 12, 2018 at 7:06 AM.

  1. Obadiah

    Obadiah Devotee

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    Jun 12, 2018 at 7:06 AM

    The other night I woke up and suddenly thought this might be a good thread to start, some advice for new teachers (or anyone new to a job situation). For my initial post, it will mostly come from the Oopsie School of Unintentional Learning, (otherwise known as the School of Life).

    1. Every paycheck, save some money, even if it's just 1.00. This does not include contributions to retirement plans or specifically budgeted money: this is money saved for unforeseen circumstances. Just 1.00 per 2-week payday=$26.00 per year that you otherwise wouldn't have. In 40 years, that will add up to $1040.00. So even that least amount will be something in your pocket should worst come to worst when you are approaching 65 years old.

    2. Budget. I like using a spreadsheet. Be strict with your budget, but also realistic. It's best to budget for more than the precise amount so that you have extra in each budgeted column, again for unforeseen circumstances and for inflation. A mistake I often made was to decide, "Well, I can get by with this much," but I found my optimism wasn't always realistic.

    3. It's important to budget some "mad money" (as my uncle and aunt called it) for frivolous spending. There will be times when you'll want to spend money on restaurants, visiting friends, etc. At the same time, don't be a mad hatter with your money. Popular must have items aren't really must haves. They can wait until you've built up a more solid financial situation. Safety should be at the foremost of your spending. Some apartments are unhealthy, unsafe, or both. Trust me, it's not fun opening an apartment door every night and seeing a guy across the hallway staring out his door all night or watching police investigate a murder in the next door parking lot. Cell phones are a need, not a luxury, but at the same time, expensive smart phones and expensive plans can wait. Always carry a cell phone with you, especially in malls, so that you may dial 911 as needed, and it's important to never hesitate dialing 911. If help is needed, help is needed. (A quick reminder, too, despite current rumors, 711 is not a non-emergency number for police; it's the number to dial a relay service for the Deaf or people with speech differences). A car might be a need, and a reliable car might mean spending extra cash. Keyless entry is an important safety feature. Depending on your weather, the newer control features might be a necessity, too. For single adults, a car that allows you to quickly check under and inside, especially the backseat floor, for hidden intruders is a must. Cable TV might not be a priority. Internet is becoming a necessity, but you might be able to start out with free dial up--check your local library. Back to smart phones, some plans are cheaper than WIFI. Sometimes TV plans on smartphones are cheaper than regular TV, and certainly a large screen might be something to wait on. Libraries provide free entertainment--DVD's and even books. Food: go veggie and limit meat or pre-made foods. It's healthier, you'll have more energy, you'll save on doctor bills and medicine, and the extra energy makes it easier to save money. Watch out for impulsive spending; at the end of a hard teaching day, walking into a mall and buying a small item does give a dopamine rush, but it also eventually wears away at your savings. It adds up. A little here and a little there after a few months becomes a tremendous amount here and there.

    4. Watch out for muggers. Don't trust every person who comes to your door, asks to use your phone (like the lady in my apartment my 4th year of teaching who asked to use my apartment phone--duh! We were in the lobby and the apartment office was open. They could have given her a phone to use. Also we were standing right next to a pay phone); or the people who approach your car in a parking lot. Walk with a purpose, like you have confidence, not like you're nervous, and know your surroundings. Always think, I'm approaching a corner, I'm approaching a large mailbox, I'm walking by a parked car. Back to cell phones, don't be distracted, especially by texting and walking, but...talking to someone on a cell phone, especially in a mall restroom, is a good safety feature. I often talk to Joe, my invisible friend, on my cell phone. Pay attention to your intuition, too. If your brain gives you a funny feeling, it's not just kidding, something barely perceivable has been noticed.

    Any other suggestions from other veteran teachers?
     
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  3. vickilyn

    vickilyn Virtuoso

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    Jun 12, 2018 at 11:44 AM

    Make sure to contribute to the FSA - the money that goes into that account is pre-taxed money, so you get more bang for your buck when paying for out of pocket healthcare needs. Try and be within the ballpark of how much you would actually spend - it is use it or lose it. The truth is, it works for some over the counter items, dental bills, co pays, and out of pocket expenses of many kinds. Used wisely, it is like putting that dollar a pay period away.

    More common than muggers are the scam artists - they come in all shapes and sizes, and they can empty your checking acount, while most muggers can only take what you have on you.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2018 at 9:42 PM
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  4. Backroads

    Backroads Fanatic

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    Jun 12, 2018 at 5:40 PM

    Very good advice.

    An alternative to the budget if you struggle with that is a spending plan. Where do you need or want your money to go?
     
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  5. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Jun 12, 2018 at 6:08 PM

    1) Don't spend money on making your classroom look like Pinterest. Student work and anchor charts can be much of your "decorations."

    2) Don't spend money on Teachers Pay Teachers. Most of the time, you are paying for cutesy and the activities aren't that high quality. If you go there at all, set the filter to "free" and only look at those activities.

    3) Don't buy unnecessary things for your classroom. When considering purchasing something, consider if you really need it or if it's just something you want. Only get it it's truly going to make your life easier and you have the money. I have seen some new teachers spend hundreds, if not thousands, on cutesy Pinterest type things for their rooms. I spent a grand total of $12 last year, for an online planbook that made my life easier. Yes, I could have just used a word document or something, but the set up of the site saved me a lot of time and effort in creating something.
     
  6. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Aficionado

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    Jun 12, 2018 at 9:39 PM

    I’ve gotten some good finds on TPT. Their bilingual products, though, have left me underwhelmed. I’ve often had to email sellers to let them know that the translation is incorrect/inappropriate.

    This year, I found a really good Check-In/Check-Out sheet and an awesome Forced Choice Reinforcement Survey.
     
  7. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Aficionado

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    Jun 12, 2018 at 9:43 PM

    Agreed!!!
    A few years ago, one of our newbies’ classrooms gave me sensory overload! Far too overdone, unfortunately!
     
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  8. Backroads

    Backroads Fanatic

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    Jun 12, 2018 at 10:24 PM

    I once took a few things from TPT in Spanish. Husband, who speaks fluent Spanish, totally edited them.
     
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  9. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Phenom

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    Jun 13, 2018 at 8:38 AM

    Item three covered a lot of ground. :dizzy:

    My brain in on travel overload, so I'll come back and check later when I have more time. I can probably add some things. I'm old, so I've learned some things the hard way. :)
     
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  10. RjMaan

    RjMaan New Member

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    Jun 13, 2018 at 10:19 AM

    I really like all of your advises especially the one in which you have mentioned to save some money for future. I appreciate that and if someone invest that money into some business. It would give him some extra money in future as well. But one has to make sure that his or her investment will be effective for future outcome.
     
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  11. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Jun 13, 2018 at 11:35 AM

    The first year teaching can be expensive. You will be tempted to buy all of the spirit shirts and all of the cute clothes. Buy a minimum until you find out what is the norm for your school. Where I student taught, it was jeans and stylish tops. Where my first job was, it was polo shirts and khakis. Then, I changed to a school where it was dressier.
     
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  12. miss-m

    miss-m Habitué

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    Jun 13, 2018 at 4:39 PM

    I feel like that "can be" is key -- it's easy to get sucked into the pinterest/TPT culture and feel like your room has to be stocked to the brim with all this stuff. But the first year teaching is hard enough without comparing your room and lessons to the stuff on Pinterest and TPT! I hardly bought anything my first year, partly because I'm just cheap and partly because I didn't know what the heck I even needed. I have nothing against cutesy classrooms, but that's way down the line for me in my teaching timeline because I have so many other things that I want to focus on first. 1st year was classroom/behavior management. Next year will be really nailing down content and curriculum (which may be a struggle since it's a new grade and I'm essentially starting over). Once both of those are at a good spot, then I'll think about decorating my classroom. I'm pretty minimalistic anyway because I tend to be a bit messy, and adding more stuff to the mix is basically asking to lose a kid in the clutter. :whistle:
    Plus I get sensory overload from too many colors or decorations; I can't imagine what it's like for a high-energy first grader.

    Teacher clothes are more of a necessity than a want, but even Target has a lot more professional clothing for decently low prices. I'm not going all out on clothes when I can run to Target and find a nice pencil skirt on clearance for $7.
     
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  13. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Jun 13, 2018 at 5:15 PM

    This is really good advice too! My first year of teaching, in addition to a bunch of supplies/school stuff I didn't really need, I ran out and bought a "teacher wardrobe" as soon as I got a job. My best friend is also a teacher and I remember us both being really excited about buying our "teacher clothes."

    This is another thing that ended up being totally unnecessary. In my home state (at least in the schools I was in) teachers dressed up for work. Here, things are very casual and I was WAY overdressed my first year. Basically, clean and "put together" are the only requirements here- nice tops with jeans or tunics with leggings are very common here, with school t shirts being worn on Fridays. My first year, people kept asking me what I was doing after school that I needed to be so dressed up for :oops:.

    Keep in mind that people are likely to be dressier in the first week of school or so than they are the rest of the year, so don't assume you need to go buy a bunch of dresses if that's what you see the first week. You can also ask teammates what the normal dress code is at the school too.
     
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  14. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Habitué

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    Jun 13, 2018 at 6:00 PM

    New teacher here! The one expense I am worried about is teacher clothes. I look young so I like to dress nicely. In my student teaching, I started to dress nice but I realized I was the most dressed up person. Most people wore jeans and t-shirts every day. So, I started to dress down. I didn't wear blue jeans, but I wore a lot of colored jeans. I really didn't build a teacher wardrobe but I realize I need to now.
     
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  15. Been There

    Been There Cohort

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    Jun 13, 2018 at 6:40 PM

    I'm with you. I kept a minimalistic classroom for my entire teaching career which had a mutual benefit for my students and I. I'm a tightwad by nature and tend to be disorganized and easily distracted - my special needs students were also easily distracted by decorations or learning aids attached to the walls. My priority every year was on creating innovative instruction to deliver the curriculum.

    Target's OK, but don't underestimate a good thrift shop. I've bought a brand new pair of SAS shoes (normally $200) for just $3 and Teva river sandals at another more expensive store for $6. My wife has also purchased high quality designer clothes that can only be found at places like Neimann-Marcus for just a few bucks.
     
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  16. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Fanatic

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    Jun 13, 2018 at 8:03 PM

    I am always dressed up! I wear what I am comfortable in, and that's dresses, skirts and dress pants. Most of my colleagues dress casually, but that doesn't influence how I dress.
     
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  17. Backroads

    Backroads Fanatic

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    Jun 13, 2018 at 11:09 PM

    I've heard tale it also helps to make friends with the employees of thrift and consignment stores... they can "hide" good deals for you.
     
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  18. MaleTeacher

    MaleTeacher Rookie

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    Jun 14, 2018 at 7:32 AM

    You should always look on craigslist. You can find lots of useful (and cheap) stuff on there. Sometimes there are teaching materials and supplies that a teacher (who retired or is moving) decides she or he no longer wants. The other day I got a sequin dress for free, and today I am selling it to a neighbor for $60.
     
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  19. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Jun 14, 2018 at 11:28 AM

    A home school coop in a nearby area went out of business recently, and sold a ton of great stuff for cheap!

    To add to the teacher wardrobe, I spend way less money on clothes now, because I've figured out what works for me. I have five pairs of trousers (from Dress Barn, all the same style but different colors) and maybe 8 blouses, and five cardigans. I mix and match. I mostly do solid colors, and add ballet flats with a fun print, or a scarf in the winter. I have two pairs of jeans, and a ton of school shirts. I have two dresses: a casual one and a fancy one. I do laundry every other week. I need to replace maybe one pair of pants a year, and treat myself to a new shirt or two each semester, and rotate out the oldest ones. I used to buy practically a new wardrobe each year, but now I spend maybe $200 a year on clothes.
     
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  20. Obadiah

    Obadiah Devotee

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    Jun 15, 2018 at 6:40 AM

    Bargain hunting online is a strong asset, but from what I've read in the news, you also need to exercise extreme caution. Online sites are not as regulated for security as physically shopping in Walmart or the mall, but then again, on the other hand, physically shopping has its dangers too, nowadays. It seems each week we have an armed robbery in a neighborhood(s) that, when I was growing up, rarely if ever saw an armed robbery. The most violence that happened was in our living rooms, either on Gunsmoke or Batman.
     
  21. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Habitué

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    Jun 15, 2018 at 2:44 PM

    I am also going to think about how I can cut costs in terms of expenses. I like to buy coffee every day, but I am going to stop because it is expensive and honestly unhealthy! I am going to try to just make tea instead.
     
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