Spending out of pocket

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by AngelaS, Aug 14, 2002.

  1. AngelaS

    AngelaS Cohort

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    Aug 14, 2002

    I am going crazy trying to get materials for my new classroom- pocket charts, books, manips, and tons of organizational doo-dads. I really do not have any spare money for this stuff right now, and even the dollar store gets expensive when you buy twenty three things! I've gotten to the point where I only get things that are free (finds and donations)!

    I feel like a bad teacher when I pass up cheap stuff for the kids. Why do I feel like this? What other profession requires its workers to spend hundreds or more on their work rather than supplying what is needed? Every teacher I knows comes out of his or her pocket for the classroom, and I've really exhausted my resources trying to keep up with my conscience.

    I guess I'm not really looking for tips, just some viewpoints. How much do you all spend a year? Do you feel guilty for not buying things for your students? Does not spending my own money make me a bad teacher- people say no, but I think that teachers really look down upon people who don't go the extra mile.

    Thanks for your input!:confused:
     
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  3. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Aug 14, 2002

    I know what you mean about spending out of pocket. I know by the end of the year I've spent about $150 if not more... probably more. I just haven't sit down to figure it up. I pick up little things here and there. I'll buy educational toys, books, special snacks, computer games. Sometimes you just have to if you want things. I know I rather spend my money on cheap books and tapes instead of school money out of a catalog. Those things run $10 a set in a school catalog. I rather get them cheap online, thrift stores or dollar stores and save the school money for something big that I wouldn't buy out of pocket. I don't know if it is US wide or just Alabama, but teachers are going to get a $250 tax break for out of pocket expenses. It is nice when you get a parent or grandparent that likes to get things for the class. I have one that if you don't want her to get the small petty things or not-so petty things, you don't mention it. She will get it if she can afford it. You could ask a business to sponsor your class. The local Tyson's Chicken Plant sponsors my class. They buy a few things for my room and really go out for the kids at Christmas. It helps when the kids are low-income.

    Lori
     
  4. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Aug 14, 2002

    spending money out of pocket can get expensive...just always be on the look out for tag sales, donations and I am going to send home a "wish list" of things that I need for the classroom. Parents are not required to send them in, but if they have the extra money or have something lying around the house, they are usually more than willing to donate..it is for their child afterall!

    also ...keep all your recipts..and write it all off on your taxes !!
    i never heard of the tax break....i hope that is nationwide..im from NY :)
     
  5. AJK

    AJK Pre-k Montessori Teacher

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    Aug 14, 2002

    I spend a lot of money I don't have on my classroom :) You can't feel bad when you have to pass up dollar store buys, sometmes $5.00 is too much. We do get a certain amount of money from PTA every year to spend on the classroom. The amount varies each year but is sometimes $100! Like the last post-er said, I send home a wish list of classroom supplies, but not extra educational materials or toys. They come out of pocket. . A teacher at my school does save ALL her reciepts for tax time, I've never done before, but I just may this year....
     
  6. mommaruthie

    mommaruthie Aficionado

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    Aug 15, 2002

    There have been other posts on how to get books from the postoffice. I know that there are other resources that are out there. WRITE GRANTS TEACHERS!!!! The monies are out there. No grant is too small. Companies need to spend the 'donations' before a certain date and lose those funds if they dont allocate it. Create a doc. once on your 'puter to send to the Universities in your areas inquiring about funds available towards local educators. Dade County has Miami Dade community college Economics Dept. Gail Hawk is the director of the program and she comes to schools to teach about economics. Govt/ agencies also publish freebees lists. AJ Go to RAMCO on 826 East and about 57th. It is a supplier for the dollar stores. They have two prices for retail and wholesale. Still less then a dollar. I still love a good hunt thru the dollar stores to see their mini objects or practical life stuff. I did get plastic fruits and veggies to make spanish lesson labels. Place Mats, Pitchers and trays oh MY.

    I live near a port and learned of a resource there that the casinos only use a deck once! There are brand new decks of cards waiting for us! Also, Lowes, and Home depot have given away their build a kit sets. (wood birdhouse, bug houses, tic tac toe) These would be great fathers day/mothers day gifts~Ask at All the stores as certain managers may be more sympathetic and also find the stores that have the Sat/or Sun workshops for kids so you know there supply is ample. Older School libraries and public libraries have 'discards' books. Public schools have book depositories that is open to the public. Dade/Broward counties teachers should be familiar with CRAYONS FOR COMPUTERS which is Nova SouthEastern University*NMB/167th area Teacher Store! Supplies there could range from: office chairs, teacher desks, file cabinets, desk materials like pens, computers, art supplies. Also I know of Ocean Bank having a depository warehouse I did attend before. I dont know if it is still in existence. If you go to your local eckerd or walgreens often like I do, and KNOW the staff, there is a percent discount they can give you. BE HUMBLE and beg for your classroom. Take the rejection and keep trying. Its awesome if you can 'sick a parent in your class on these types of hunts since time is also valuable'. hit the grocery stores for packaging materials to make projects with the foam trays a weaving project with the old strawberry crates, brown bags for book covers or vests...or egg crates for art/paints, etc... AJ have you seen those SUSHI trays at Publix and WinnDixie. I know they are not SUPER sturdy but they are so cute for smaller lessons! I dont know what resources are available in all states but maybe we should start a new thread: The hidden but available resources! GOOD LUCK
     
  7. AJK

    AJK Pre-k Montessori Teacher

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    Aug 15, 2002

    Ruth, you are absolutely right. You need to go beg and borrow supplies. My assistant and I have no shame and often go begging for supplies one Saturday/Weekday Afternoon a month. I had a parent get a beautiful area rug donated to us last year. Most smaller/family run carpet stores are anxious to get rid of remnants for little or in the case no cost! I have a friend who parents own a company that distributes a paper goods, office and medical supplies. They will give me shipments of paper towels, lunch bags, baby wipes, etc. That have been "damaged"
    meaning the shipping boxes were ruined, etc. There is free stuff out there you just need to look for it!
    Oh, I've never heard of RAMCO but will definately check it out. Thanks for the tip!
     
  8. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Aug 15, 2002

    Despite many of the free things I've been able to get I still spend a pretty penny on my class and my classroom. When you count everything it really adds up. Decorations from the Schoolbox, music cds, etc. I spent several hundred dollars over the course of last year. I think the younger the age you teach the more expensive it is though. It also depends on the amount of support you get from your school.

    New teachers, that first year of teaching can be especially expensive!


    Nick
     
  9. musicbug

    musicbug Rookie

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    Aug 15, 2002

    I know I have spent quite a bit over the years. I don't mind too much. What gets me is when parents get irate over our use of older text books and then whine about the amount of taxes that go to the schools. I have a copy of the newspaper story.The tax break is from the feds!!!! All of us in the States are able to claim and gain.
     
  10. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Aug 15, 2002

    You can't feel guilty when you can't afford to buy the extras. Just remember the first year of teaching is the most expensive when you're buying room decorations and the organizational stuff. I always ask if the store has a teachers discount, I've even had employees give me their employee discount when there isn't a teachers discount. Know what is "expected" of you in your building--are you expected to give the kids a Christmas present? Don't be afraid to ask stores for freebies you neve know what you may get, I've gotten stuffed animals, placemats, crayons, markers, candy etc.

    Save your receipts for your taxes!
     
  11. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Aug 15, 2002

    I understand your point of view completely. I am a new teacher and the teacher before me cleaned the room out completely. People told me to wait for the special ed. money, but I wouldn't of had anything in my room for the first few weeks of class if I had done that. I had to put a stop to the money I was spending, because like you, money is tight until the first check comes in. One thing that helped me was getting to know my fellow teachers. I told them about my problem and you wouldn't believe the support and supplies that I got. Several of them told me that they don't mind sharing, and they wanted to help sooner, but were afraid to step on my toes. Don't feel guilty about not spending your money. It gets to the point when you have to say enough. Anyway, just wanted to let you know that you aren't alone.
     
  12. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Aug 15, 2002

    I know in Birmingham, AL the new teachers go invited to a special whatever you want to call it to get free and cheap stuff for their classrooms sponsored by local businesses. I wish that had that around here when I started 5 year ago in my class.

    Lori
     
  13. teacherkasey

    teacherkasey Cohort

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    Aug 15, 2002

    I can't tell you how much money I have spent on my classroom and kids. I got $140 from parents regestering thier children and some money from the state so I made it stretch. I shopped around for bargains and sales and made the money go pretty far at the beginning of the year. Now for the rest of the year it's my money and I can't keep track of how much I spend. And like you I feel guilty about not buying a few more inexpensive things for my classroom... I just try to remember that I need money to do things for myself outside of school.
     
  14. AngelaS

    AngelaS Cohort

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    Aug 15, 2002

    Wow! Thank you all for your responses- I know this is a topic that hits home for almost all of us. I went into my classroom today to set up and there was NOTHING there (even a lot of the furniture was gone. although the principal found more for me). I am expected to teach an entire third grade class with nothing other than a set of textbooks for each subject and a small box of math manips. How in the world am I going to pull this off? My new team is fantastic and is offering to share, which is great, but I can't help getting frusterated because I should be paid for all of these things I buy, and for all the extra time I work... I know a lot of loonng days are coming up...
     
  15. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Aug 15, 2002

    Same here! But after a while, it just gets ridiculous! I am starting to feel like I am funding their educaton, instead of their parents. I feel like not only am I funding their education by the $1000's I have spent, this only being my second year; (breakfast /lunch-tax money)treats, snacks etc.

    Crazy!!!! We must really, truly love kids and teaching them.
     
  16. Amanda

    Amanda Administrator Staff Member

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    Aug 15, 2002

    Regarding the $250 deduction... that is federal. Here it is straight from www.irs.gov:

    I have already spent $300-400 on my classroom this summer. I usually average less than that for the whole year, but I am being assigned to a brand new classroom so I am tempted to buy more this year. :(

    I think the problem with teachers is that we never have everything we need and we're willing to spend money to get what we want just to make our lives easier.
     
  17. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Aug 16, 2002

    I am in the same boat with you. I have just over this weekend spent $150.00. I continue to spend throughout the year on small prizes, art supplies, new little games and such. I have no money to do this but I have to get what we need to complete projects and to have what I think is a successful year. Every year I find that my class has a difficulty. My first year the class had trouble in addition so I spent money on more math manipulatives, the next year rhyming words so I bought additional materials that specifically went over that and so on and so on. This cycle never ends. Every year I change the theme in my room. Last year it was frogs so I bought all borders, posters, job charts etc that matched this year I did UInder the Sea so I went and bought everything that again matches the other. I believe I am addicted to school supplies and stores that carry them. Help!!
     
  18. musicbug

    musicbug Rookie

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    Aug 16, 2002

    We're all addicted to teacher stores. Imagine having to create all of those goodies by ourselves.Yikes!!!!! Iwas very lucky the teacher who had the room before me retired and left me her classroom library( with my own bookcollection the kids have an awesome library.)and all of the games she bought for the kids. I only need to spend about twenty dollars more and I'll be all set.
     
  19. 5leafclover

    5leafclover Companion

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    When I stepped into my room last year it was completely wiped out by the previous teacher. So I spent a few hundred bucks outfitting it and decorating before school even started. When you add the math manips, the snacks that parents wouldn't send and all the other little things that pop up I am sure that spent at least 400 dollars.

    This year I've been much better. I refused to buy even one more scrap of border(I was tempted.) I've made all of my decorations work as best as I can and I've limited myself to spending a set amount each week. Well, the first week of school is now over and I already have a huge list of things I need to go out and get this weekend. I've already spent about $150 this school year. The big plus about moving up to 2nd grade is that I can still use a lot of my kindergarten things(in different ways) but there are a lot of things I won't need to buy.

    Of course I have an attic full of strictly Kindergarten materials now!

    I'll definitely be cashing in on the tax deduction. But here's my problem with it. I keep my reciepts and what if I spend more than $250? It's not good that I can only claim $250. It's a good deal if you don't want to keep reciepts and itemize, but it's a bad deal if you don't mind doing that. I'd be willing to do the extra work to get a bigger deduction.

    And one more thing! What's up with the outrageous prices of places like Schoolbox? You'd think that they would give us a break. I'm sure that "Busy Bee Border" didn't cost more than a few cents to produce. Why do they charge $3.00? And those bulletin board sets for $9.00 or more, they can't cost more than a dollar to produce. I'd be surprised if they cost even that much to mass produce and bulk ship them. Sigh.

    Nick
     
  20. AngelaS

    AngelaS Cohort

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    Aug 17, 2002

    I agree, Nick. Everyone knows that supplies from teacher stores are much higher than other places. For example, you can get construction paper at Walmart for a dollar or two, but expect to pay twice that at a teacher store. You would think they would give us a break. I guess they know we need this stuff and will pay whatever for our 'essentials'.

    This year, I am going to rethink 'essentials'. If the county thinks I can teach all year with a few manips and textbooks, then I am going to try my hardest to do it. I'll be making, having kids make, having older kids make, borrowing, or doing without materials. Like Nick said, the primary kids need less than the PreK and K kids that he and I are used to buying materials for.

    The only thing I'm spending money on is management systems- organizing containers, bins, a few more lamps (I don't use overhead lights), and things that generally make the room more comfortable and more conducive to learning. I'll let you know how long this lasts (school hasn't started yet!)...
     
  21. mommaruthie

    mommaruthie Aficionado

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    Aug 17, 2002

    Angela, I think we should write to the learning channel and they do programs for under one thous. dollars and two days to alter someones home/room. So, wouldnt it be great if we had something of such for TEACHERS!. Someone to come in draw mural, build sitting areas, exploration tables, flooring etc... :) Need pencils and pens? what about contacting the printing companies. They must have mistake items when someone ordered personalized stuff! Too much time to think. Im going to go nap now!
     
  22. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Aug 17, 2002

    Hi I am a new timer, I just wanted to say I hear you all and raise you one. My principal decided to cut money for supplies and not order very much of it. ( Well I suppose this is super, because now she doesn't have to cut a teacher or two.) This will only mean the $150 I have already spent this summer will only increase. I once had a professor to say to the class "Plan to spend at least $500 a year on your class. " At that time I didn't think much of it, now I know exactly!
     
  23. mommaruthie

    mommaruthie Aficionado

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    Aug 18, 2002

    Before i got married I lived as i pleased- saved each year in an IRA but spent every penny extra on improving my classroom. Book club books, treasure chest trinkets, candy jar on the desk, pet supplies, dry erase markers, if i wanted it, i bought it.
    THEN, I got married, my husband proved to me that in the first three years of knowing me that i had never even took anything from the garage! His theory was that if i didnt need it since, i wont need it at all!. He called my stuff, gasp, "JUNK". Valuable resources were called junk, right, why else would i have saved it!? My husband offered to help me thru each box and together we would make this project to go thru the 'teaching stuff'- long story short- i watched as my husband got pinned under hurricane shutters and two weeks in bed, off his legs/ and he still had his very life was enough for me that really proved to me my stuff was junk!.I made the garage my project this summer- to not only get rid of the strollers and walkers but also to get rid of my 'junk'. So, I went thru the garage this summer (if you are following time sequence, that would mean 3 more years passed) I was on a mission to give away to anyone who asked (AJ was the only one specific enough for me to help!) Then, I called reading in the abacoss out of the local college, they came and took away 'stuff'. I went down to NOVA and dropped off LOTS of stuff. I just wanted to know what i had been saving and waiting for that HUGE classroom that you could bring it all in and use as a resource room. Nothing had the same value to me anymore: maybe it was marriage, maturity, motherhood. May it had been god watching us go thru the'junk' that day that we had our hurricane shutters accident? Who knows? I do know that it is all replaceable. I hope your school year is an amazing one. (i just bought my kids their school supplies and my husband threw in a couple extra packs of crayons and scissors for my class- hey the price was great!)
     

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