After the student teaching is done and the teaching contract signed, a new teacher is born. New teachers are inundated with tips from veteran teachers trying to lend a hand. Classroom management and communication with parents are common tips for new teachers. Unfortunately, there are very few financial tips for new teachers. These five financial tips can help new teachers stretch their teaching salary and keep more money in their pockets.
1. Supplemental income
Extra-curricular activities provide a great opportunity for new teachers to earn extra money while connecting with students outside of classroom hours. Teachers can receive stipends for a variety of positions like coaching, band director, class advisors, choir director or any other positions that is unique to their school. Background experience in these positions is usually required but not always mandatory. Stipends from extra-curricular activities can range from a couple hundred dollars a year to as high as several thousands of dollars. The amount of money earned from extra-curricular activities can help new teachers pay for living expenses during their first summer off of school.
2. Ask for discounts everywhere
Building a library of teaching resources and a professional wardrobe can be very costly for new teachers. That’s why new teachers should bring their school ID whenever they go shopping. Many name brand retailers offer teacher specific discounts that offer any where from 15% to 50% off select merchandise. Thankfully, teacher discounts are not exclusive to classroom supplies; teachers can get discounts on anything from clothing to vacation packages. Barnes and Noble offers a 20% discount, The Limited and Ann Taylor Loft offers 15% off your purchase while Dell offers teachers up to 30% off select PCs.
3. Keep your receipts
For the 2009-2010 school year teachers spent an estimated 3.1 billion dollars out-of-pocket for classroom supplies according to the National School Supply & Equipment Association. New teachers should keep track of all receipts for any un-reimbursed school supplies like books, computer equipment and other equipment used in the classroom. The cost of these items, up to $250 can be deducted from a teachers adjusted gross income when filing taxes. The $250 deduction can help lower the blow to an already meager teacher salary.
4. Get help paying off your loans
New teachers should check if their school is in a low-income area or if their subject matter is in a shortage in their school district. If so, new teachers may be able to have part or their entire loan forgiven or deferred. In the Stafford Loan Forgiveness for Teachers program, educators who teach full-time for five consecutive years in a low-income area and meet other qualifications can apply to have their loan forgiven up to $17,500. Those teachers who have Federal Perkins loans may have up to 100% of their loans forgiven if they meet certain requirements.
5. Learn how to write grants
New teachers should make a habit of applying for grants. Grants are available by state, grade level, subject area and many other criterias. School districts are great resources for local grants, which are less competitive than national grants. The summer months can be a great time for new teachers to write grants. New teachers may be able to keep more of their hard-earned money in their pockets, if they actively search for and apply for grants.