Budgeting tips on teacher's salary

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by vivalavida, Nov 28, 2011.

  1. vivalavida

    vivalavida Companion

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    Nov 28, 2011

    So everyone says you are never going to have much money on a teacher's salary. Of course, I agree that teachers are not paid enough for the amount of work they put in each and every day. However, I'm curious as to how difficult it really is living on a teacher's salary. For the long-time (or even new) teachers who are willing to share, what advice do you have for someone who plans to be living on a teacher's salary? Any budgeting tips or tricks? Is it really THAT bad?

    Thanks :)
     
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  3. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    Nov 28, 2011

    I think "THAT bad" depends upon your perspective. When I first started teaching 25 years ago at a private school I brought home $750 a month. I had to get a second job to help pay my bills.

    For me the trick was budgeting every single stinking thing so I knew exactly how much money I was spending. I budgeted line items every month for drycleaning, food, insurance, gas, utilities, school stuff, clothes, eating out, dentist, doctors, savings, etc. If I ever spent money on it I had a line item in my budget for it.

    Initially I had to use the envelope system to keep myself on track. I couldn't keep it all straight on paper. But, it worked. And the next year I got a job bringing home $1300 a month and it was much better for me.

    Yes teachers salaries are lower than most. Yes, some of us have a hard time budgeting. I think it depends upon what you expect your lifestyle to be like and how much you feel you need to make in order to live that lifestlye.
     
  4. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    It depends on how and where you live. I was able to buy my own house (1600sq.ft. brick on 1.5 acres) my 8th year. I had no trouble paying my bills. I have everything I need, and I can get a good bunch of what I want.

    I live in an area where the cost of living is relatively low.

    While I don't make enough for the time I put in in my own, I make more that most others I know if I consider that my pay is for a 180 day contract.
     
  5. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    As Tracy said, it all depends on your definition of "that bad". It also depends on the lifestyle you lead and how well you can differentiate between "needs" and "wants".

    I only worked half-time last year as an interim teacher, but managed to build my savings up quite a bit, even though I was only getting half a teacher's salary.

    It's all a matter of actually living within your needs, not buying things on credit and realizing you don't have to have the latest and greatest things out there.
     
  6. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Nov 28, 2011

    I have yet to see. I'm starting the initial stages of looking for an apt since I just got my job 2 mos ago that I plan to be my lifelong career. It's not a teacher, but a SLP. My starting salary though is pretty good since they count all college units & I'm working on 2nd grad degree & my previous 1 yr of special ed teaching has counted towards this job. However, I also work 4 days a week, so that lowered it some.

    You may want to read here too!

    http://forums.atozteacherstuff.com/showthread.php?t=141503&highlight=teacher's+salary

    http://forums.atozteacherstuff.com/showthread.php?t=135823&highlight=teacher's+salary

    http://forums.atozteacherstuff.com/showthread.php?t=120303&highlight=teacher's+salary
     
  7. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    Nov 28, 2011

    Four years ago when I went back to school for my credential, I looked at the salary scales. I found that if I'd been teaching for as long as I'd been working in Human Resources, I'd actually be making a comparable salary.

    Much of it is due to your own choices. Do you feel the need to lease cars or buy a new one every few years, or do you hold on to a paid-off car until it won't run anymore? Are you obsessed with designer labels? A splurge on a quality item once in a while is always nice, but if you need an army of Coach purses, you may want to consider the reason for that. How often do you go out for meals and other entertainment? How often do you take costly vacations? All of that is part of living within (or under) your means.

    Also, someone else mentioned cost of living. Where I live, the cost of living is outrageous. It is incredibly difficult to live alone here. I don't know many teachers who can do it if they're not married and have an additonal income. Rent and housing costs are ridiculous. Many people live outside of town and commute in --which also adds to cost of living.

    I guess my point is that you can make almost anything work, but it may take some sacrifice and some adjustments.
     
  8. bondo

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    As pp mentioned, distinguishing between needs and wants. This is hugely critical, and has helped me greatly. Record every purchase in an excel spreadsheet. After a set amount of time, go through and distinguish between needs and wants. BE HONEST! If you cheat it, you will have wasted a lot of time. If you really look at where your money goes you will be surprised at how much you can save. For example, I used to eat out a lot, for convenience and fun. After cutting out some of it, I saved a lot of money.
     
  9. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Cost of living is huge for what's "that bad" and what's not. I live in an extremely high cost of living area. The average house costs 1 million (yes, that is literally the average). Yet I make almost the exact same salary as I do had I gotten a job in my hometown in the midwest. In my hometown, the average house was 150,000. On this salary in my hometown, I certainly wouldn't be rich or anything but I'd be getting by just fine without having to worry about money, and I'd even have some leftover for vacations and things like that. Here, I barely manage to save anything because my entire salary just goes to the cost of living here. It's definitely something to look into when you're job searching- what it costs to live in that area.
     
  10. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Nov 28, 2011

    Cost of living and salary are huge, but you also need to look at the benefits your district offers.

    Our current health insurance has us paying a minimum of $150 a month (for just the employee) with a $2500 deductible each year. Once we meet the deductible, then we go to an 80/20 split.

    Well very few of us ever reach our annual deductible, so it is really cost prohibitive for us to go to the doctor for anything other than a major illness. Our annual exams are covered, as long as it's labeled "preventive" which means the results come back fine. If you have to go back for a 2nd or 3rd test, as many, many women do for mammograms, it's not covered.

    For employees who want to insure their entire family, the cost is $1000 a month (with a $2500 yearly deductible and an 80/20 split afterwards).

    I can afford to own my own modest home (as a single mom) and save a little bit, but if I get sick... well... it scares me.

    Honestly, credit cards have to take care of my emergencies. I will never have enough in savings to cover really big emergency expenses.
     
  11. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I truly think I am "due" a higher salary, but at the same time I would be able to live comfortably on my salary if I were single.
     
  12. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    We're okay. I make more than DH. It's the unexpected expenses that get us. DH is good at saving money, but it just bugs us to have to dip into the savings, which is actually our vacation money to pay for those unexpected things.
     
  13. Major

    Major Connoisseur

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    bandnerdtx, your health insurance costs seems incredibly high.....
     
  14. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Yep. It's really quite depressing. When we had our last benefits meeting a few weeks ago, people actually left in tears. It's particularly bad for our paraprofessionals and custodial staff. Many of them can only get insurance through the district because their husbands work in professions that don't offer any (remember Texas is a "right to work" state, so there are no unions, and construction jobs are all contract). They simply can't afford family insurance. It's very, very sad.
     
  15. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Nov 28, 2011

    No matter how much (or little) you make, commit yourself to putting some into an investment.
     
  16. Major

    Major Connoisseur

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    Good advice.......... I've been putting something in the kitty since the 8th grade.. (still do it) and it's paid off in spades .........
     
  17. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Personally, I do think it's "that bad." I have to work a 2nd job to make ends meet. If I only had my teaching job, I would make just enough money to cover living expenses and bills. My second job allows me to buy gifts at birthdays and Christmas time, go out to eat once a month with friends, and buy a new pair of shoes when I need them. Before I started working my 2nd job, I was borrowing from my parents to put gas in my car.

    However, I do have an $8,200 credit card bill, and $40,000 in student loans. (And, believe it or not, I haven't used that credit card in 3 years...Stupid stupid stupid college spending habits.) So, I'm working like crazy to pay off my debt. If I didn't have that stupid debt, I would be working one job, and feeling comfortable about my income.
     
  18. Major

    Major Connoisseur

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    We use credit cards daily ..(it's convenient) ..... but always pay off the entire debt at the end of the month....... We've never had a finance charge.

    Note: The $40K student loan is a rough one ..... I was very fortunate in that I went to college on a scholarship .
     
  19. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    My boyfriend does the same thing with his credit cards. I just can't use them...There have been too many times where I promised myself I was never going to use them again, and then I go back and spend another $3,000. This is my longest run, though: 3 years without touching one. I just paid off 2 cards this past weekend. It felt great to call and cancel them!

    As for the loans, some will be forgiven eventually, and the rest I will be paying back forever! I could have been way more financially responsible in college. I always took out the max amount for loans, and spent the leftover money on other things. If I could turn back time...
     
  20. Cerek

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    My mom was an office manager for many years. One of the counselor's there and his wife did the same thing, they put both checks into savings each month to earn the interest and paid all their bills on the credit card, then paid the card off at the end of the month. That allowed them to earn a small amount of interest on their monthly pay while using their credit card as an interest-free loan for the month.

    Don't know that banks offer enough interest to really make that worthwhile now, but a credit union might offer a better rate on a money-market account.
     
  21. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    Nov 30, 2011

    I worked a second job 30 of my 35 years of teaching.
    My first half year teaching I made $2,640.00 (1974) (because I had to drive between 4 schools I also got paid milage $3,960.00 I got paid more for driving my pick-up than teaching)

    You have to budget, budget and budget some more.
    If it wasn't for my divorces with my retirement and Social Security I'd have 113% of my Salary to live on instead I only get 97%.
    By watching my money and putting away as much as was reasonable I have a reasonable retirement.
     
  22. Major

    Major Connoisseur

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    We use a couple of different cards and both pay a 1% rebate. Both credit card companies send my wife an email with amount due.... and with the push of a button she "oks" payment from the bank. She's "automated" most all kinds of monthly payments .... utilities, phones,cells, cable etc.
     

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