How much of your own money do you spend?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Camel13, Aug 20, 2017.

  1. Camel13

    Camel13 Companion

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    Aug 20, 2017

    I hear often stated by teachers and in the media that we spend so much of our own money on our class, due to there not being enough in school budgets, etc. I would like to understand how much of this is true, and maybe it will help me to not break my own personal bank so my students have tangible activities to learn from.

    My own situation is that I am a brand new science teacher for 6-12th grade. I have been diving a little into personal expense to decorate my classroom how I want. I look at it as creating a pleasing environment for myself as well as inviting to the students. I have probably spent $150 on curtains, lighting, etc.

    My principal mentioned there is an annual science budget of $300 a year, but also a grant that I can dive into if necessary ( although he did not mention the extent of that). He said I could make a list of what is needed and they order things for me. Well, being new, I will be developing lessons as I go with probably not a lot of lead time (hoping to stay at least two weeks ahea, so ordering Play-Doh for that cool geological layering lab may not arrive in time. I could spend $5 at the dollar store instead. I can see how things are going to add up if I get this and that every week or so. I am lucky to be in a position to not be the sole earner in our household, but I know my husband will get pretty cranky if he sees a lot of $ going out the door. I am very good at deals, DIY, and finding a cheaper way.

    Anyway, I'm interested to see how others tackle this issue.
     
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  3. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Now, I like to brag about my principles of not spending my own money, but the reality is it happens. I'd probably say I spend roughly $100 each year of my own money. I either excuse it by saying it's one little thing here and there, not worth submitting for reimbursement, or excuse a big item by saying "it'll be mine all mine."
     
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  4. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    Most of my personal expenses comes from candy---I have a big candy jar in my room that I always keep full, and that I give out to students frequently. I probably spend close to $100 a year keeping it full.
     
  5. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I spend my own money from time to time, but the amount I spend has lessened over the years. I believe that it somewhat depends on where you teach, as some schools have more money for teachers than others, and some PTOs will reimburse teachers. I do spend my own money because I want things to be mine, as Backroads said in a much more humorous way, but also because I'm sometimes afraid to ask admin for too much (so I save my requests for only the big things), and also because I sometimes need things immediately or want a very specific item. Over the years, I've become better at prioritizing and determining what is a "need" and what is a "want". I'm more likely to ask my admin to purchase my "needs", while I'm willing to spend my own money on my "wants" - if I really want them that badly.
     
  6. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    As a newer teacher I spent a lot. I graduated in a state where it's extremely difficult to get a full time position right out of college. There are thousands of applicants for each position and many people need to put in a minimum of 3-5 years subbing or being a para before landing their own position. I ended up moving states so that I could get a job my first year out of college. I think I was just so excited to have a "real" teaching job that I thought nothing of spending hundreds of dollars on things for my classroom. I remember my first trip to Target after landing my first job...I was thrilled that I was in a position where I could buy "teacher stuff."

    Since I first moved here, cost of living has risen exponentially in my area due to all of the people who are moving here. I now pay $400 more per month in rent than I did when I first moved to this city 5 years ago, and my rent is substantially lower than people who are just now moving in. The private sector in my city is booming and has kept up with the cost of living. Not only has teaching not done that, but due to salary freezes over the years, I'm an 8th year teacher but paid as a 4th year teacher on the salary scale. I am lucky in that I don't have many of the expenses that others do (student loans, car payment, children, etc.) so with careful budgeting I get by on my salary and could afford to buy things here and there if I wanted to.

    However, based on principle, I never do anymore. I wish all teachers would do the same. Schools/districts continue to not buy supplies because they know teachers will just do it themselves. The last two years the only money I've spent has been on a $20 plan book because I like having a paper book, although I recognize that I could do my plans on something like google docs for free. This year I have too many classes to make a paper plan book work, so I'll just be using google docs.
     
  7. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I don't have but three resources at school so I buy more as it's too time consuming to make them. I would say I spent at least a thousand per year.
     
  8. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I spend less each year. Because I have leftovers from previous years, but also because I grew tired of spending my money on other peoples' kids instead of my own. Now I only spend $$ when it will directly benefit ME. If it makes my environment (my classroom) more pleasant. If it makes my job easier.
     
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  9. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I hadn't thought of it this way, but I could say the same for myself. When it's going to make my life easier or make me happier, I'll spend my own money. I never buy things for the kids anymore.
     
  10. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    When I first started teaching, I spent a lot, but I was also very thrifty - clearance sales, garage sales, thrift stores. Now, I don't spend much because I honestly have too much in my classroom. I do buy some small prizes occasionally - little erasers, stickers - and also some organizational things. For this coming school year, I've spent maybe $35.

    It's worth mentioning, though, our community is awesome about donating things and keeping students well stocked with items on our supply list. Our children come to school with the supplies they need. I'd spend far more if I needed to buy whiteboard markers, paper, pencils, etc.
     
  11. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Outside of the receipts I lose (ha), I spent virtually $0 on supplies.

    However, I'm a book-a-holic ;) and probably spend $50-$100/yr on books for my classroom library (1,500 books after 3 years) that I completely own.

    Then, I probably spend $100ish on extra things for the kids. A couple examples: I give them each the opportunity to pick a free book from book orders as a winter gift (amongst a couple other things), and on several of the state testing days, I surprise them with something (i.e. a smiley face made out of strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, with a message of "you're going to do berry well today!).

    In essence, I spend nothing in terms of necessities, but probably end up spending $150-$250 (excluding amazon or scholastic purchases where I'm using gift card money / points / etc...) just because.
     
  12. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I spend far too much on books; that is, however, completely my choice. I probably spend around $200 on other things--special treats and activities. None of those expenses are necessary; I chose to spend the $ (and can easily afford it).
     
  13. Preschool0929

    Preschool0929 Cohort

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    This year I spent about $50 just getting my classroom decorated. My first few years teaching, I easily spent $300 or more/year. After I had a good collection of stuff, and started having kids, I couldn't justify it anymore. My classroom may not be Pinterest ready, but my students grow and make progress, and I'm not feeling guilty that my own children have to do without something just because I needed to put more into my classroom.
     
  14. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I buy things to make my life easier. I make a lot of my decorations. I'm moderately crafty. I buy things on sale when it's a super good deal. Usually I use school funds.
     
  15. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    It really depends. Some principals have been great and have paid for so many supplies. Others pay for almost nothing. Some years in my life I have said, "I'm broke and I won't buy much." Some years I have had the money and I have splurged. I guess my low was about $75 for a year and my high was about $500 (a lot of it was books). It is always higher for me my first year in a school.
     
  16. FourSquare

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    I spend less every year. Though bella did just convince me to drop $22 on magnetic whiteboard strips. :laughing: But I suppose I didn't NEED to make that purchase. I drop a few hundred dollars a year on books, too. Maybe a sporadic purchase on TPT every now and again. And despite me saying I'm not going to, I'm 100% going to want to buy new border tomorrow when I start unpacking all this $#@!. New border makes me happy. We are fortunate to get a $250 reimbursement that helps.

    One thing I completely stopped buying is school supplies. The school does a good job of helping out kids who don't have anything. My last school had nothing. If I wanted the kids to do interactive notebooks, I'd be buying those composition notebooks myself.
     
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  17. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Tell me more about these whiteboard strips... :rolleyes:
     
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  18. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Do you use electric tape to mark off sections of your board? Apparently they make that magnetic now and you can just move the strips around. No more redoing the tape at Christmas or squeezing small group names into a box you thought would work well when you made it in August!

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00I0CU1QS/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    They're also at Walmart and other places.
     
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  19. Mshope2012

    Mshope2012 Companion

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    I still spend too much. Teachers at my school got no money per year. We can do a budget per department, but most of that gets turned down.

    I probably spend $500 per year on pencils, pens, paper, prizes, decorations, candy, books, hand sanitizer, glue runners, Sharpies, and food. I also spend a little on Teachers Pay Teachers and other pay sites for curriculum material. I have cut back a lot from my early years. Do I need to buy hand sanitizer? No, but I alway feel like I get sick if I don't have it. I sure as heck know some of my students do not wash their hands in the bathroom. Oh, I also spend money on cleaning supplies such as bleach wipes, sponges, cleaning sprays, and paper towels. My school does have supplies, but they are old and the worst level of quality. For example, the tape we get is NOT STICKY. It will not hold a paper on the wall! Our school uses the cheapest of everything like paper and garbage bags. Our janitors have to double bag because trash will spill everywhere (therefore it is not cheaper.)

    One thing I've always liked to do is have a little celebration with this remedial class I teach. It is smaller and the kids are hard to motivate. However, it seems like food and candy prices have gone up so much. I have started asking kids to bring in food because everything seems to have gone up.

    I draw the line at pizza parties and other bigger rewards. Some teachers at my school give out gift cards and food coupons as rewards. I don't do this as these are a bigger expense for fewer kids. I give all or nothing to my classes.

    I have cut back a lot. One reason is that other teachers were always asking me to "borrow" things like bleach wipes and Sharpies. That is irritating because many of them make more money than me. I have started to say "no" or just not buy things when I run out. This is another issue though!
     
  20. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I guess I wasn't counting parties in my yearly spend total, so my number goes up for that

    I don't/won't do pizza parties either, but I have done ice cream sundae parties. It can be done for pretty cheap... Giant round plastic container of ice cream for $6, toppings from the dollar store $5 (crushed cookies, syrup, some candies), and some bowls and spoons for $3. The whole thing can be done for under $15. Thinking of it, though, I could probably do pizza for about the same amount if I got the $5 pizzas from Little Caesar's... but they're never open before our lunch time.

    Gift cards... man that's crazy!
     
  21. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    I spend less now than when I started teaching. As a new teacher, I bought a lot of stuff - definitely hundreds of dollars. Now I am better at planning ahead and asking to purchase via the school. However, I always have and always will spend thousands on books and courses. It's not a requirement of the job, but I find the continued engagement valuable and can't see myself doing it any other way.
     
  22. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Right now my TA and I are debating snacks as we seem to have a small group missing breakfast (the school serves breakfast). We both are in the camp of "don't buy what the parents are supposed to", though, so this might depend on more factors if we decide to buy snacks.
     
  23. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Comrade

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    Our district either steals or misappropriates funds set aside by the state for student supplies.

    That, in combination with MASSIVE teacher pay cuts in Indiana, means that I'm no longer willing to spend much on supplies for other people's children.

    Over the past decade, I went from spending thousands a year to a couple hundred.
     
  24. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Shoot, even as an administrator, I use my own funds to purchase things. I'm sure I could get the district office to eventually approve them, but I can't wait months and months for signage that I need around campus. I'm the type of person who likes things done right away, so I'd rather do it myself and pay out of my own pocketbook than to sit around waiting for approval/denial from the head honchos.
     
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  25. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    There is something to be said for paying for convenience.
     
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  26. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    Yes, my school has a reimbursement process, and had I the foresight 7 years ago, I could have made a request for what I need today. :) OK, I'm exaggerating...a little. It is like survival of the fittest. If you can persevere, endure and wait, you can sometimes get reimbursed.

    That said, in addition to the paltry reimbursements and the meager purchase order items made by the school, I spend waaaaaaaaaaay too much money to put in writing. It's embarrassing. I do use gift cards from students who are benevolent, but even so, I spend a large amount of money annually. I don't save the receipts because I don't want to be accountable to the family budget. If the totals were made, well, I would be spending waaay to much money instead of waaaaaaaaaaaaay too much. :)
     
  27. mcqxu

    mcqxu Comrade

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    I don't spend my own money on classroom materials unless I want them for me, as others have said. No one at my school does, as it is a private school and pay is lower than at the public schools in our area. My school is pretty good about reimbursing teachers for things they need. I hope this doesn't change, as it is very nice not to stress out about that. However, when I do look for things outside of our normal classroom items to have them reimburse I am pretty frugal - dollar stores, etc.
     
  28. Sab

    Sab Companion

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    I feel like I spend way too much of my own money. I'm new and heard that the district can only reimburse me for up to $150 a year, which seems extremely low to me especially because I need materials for science labs...still figuring out how that works.
    I did send home a materials list and asked for a bunch of optional donations for the classroom of things like soap, paper, pencils, tissues, crayons, glue, etc so hoping some students will bring that in!
     
  29. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    Yup, I agree with this. I get some things from Teachers Pay Teachers when I know I can use it and have it save me time. I get lots of free stuff on there too, but I spent about $30 on there this summer accumulating things for this year. I spend about $20-$30 on classroom books - typically $1 each at my local library or through Scholastic. A few other random items here and there and I also pay $70 for the year for a subscription to StoryBoardThat as I have my students use it frequently enough that it's worth it to me. So all in all maybe $200 for the year with it all added up.
     
  30. Camel13

    Camel13 Companion

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    Aug 28, 2017

    Some things that are hard is the realization that I don't have some things that I consider pretty important but they are big ticket items, like gel electrophoresis units and power supply or carts and tracks for teaching physics. But, I know some things like the latter, we can invent and other things like the former, I can find grants for once I have the time (lol).
     

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