Some of you may not know, teachers don’t get paid in the summer. Like WHAT!? I always assumed that this was known but when discussing this with some of my colleagues, family, and friends, they had no idea. Many schools either don't pay teachers over the summer break, or they pay them less during the school year so that they can still receive a check in the summer. I thought - budgeting must be impossible for them. I reached out to my friend who has been a teacher for 5+ years now, to get some insight on how she budgets for the summer. For the purpose of this interview, we’ll call her Ms. M.
Business Athlete: So Ms.M, summer must be a tough month for you in terms of finances. How do you budget?
Ms. M: Well for one, my district does not divide our checks out to last all 12 months. We only get paid for the months we work, which can make budgeting difficult. I have to be aware of how much money I put away for each paycheck so I can be sure that I have enough money to last me through the two summer months.
BA: So, how much would you say you put aside for the summer?
Ms. M: I get paid bi-weekly, so I put aside about 5% of each check that I get throughout the school year
BA: What are some tips you can give other teachers for budgeting their money in the summer?
Ms. M: Well first, make sure you're spending wisely throughout the year. Take advantage of discounts that are available. Teachers for example, often get discounts on car insurance, home insurance, and things of that nature so make sure that you're taking advantage of those. You also want to make sure that you're budgeting so have set aside money for outings. If you want to go out to eat, have a set of my budget for that.
BA: I love what you said about setting aside money for outings…not many people factor that into their budget. About how often do you treat yourself with food outings, going out with friends, and travel?
Ms. M: I would recommend traveling once or twice a year. (more if you can afford it). In terms of outings, you may want to limit your outings to once or twice per week. Also, utilize your resources at home to have fun as well. Think outside of the box, you can cook meals at home or do an at-home paint night.
BA: Do you typically work in the summer?
Ms. M: Yeah, so the past two years I did work during the summer doing tutoring at home. This year I decided to take a break from summer school just because I started to experience burnout. I recommend if teachers can and if they're feeling up to it it is definitely worth it to work during the summer because summer teaching jobs often pay much more per hour than you would make an hour during the school year.
BA: When we head back to school - what is one budgeting piece of advice you’d like to give fellow educators?
Ms. M: The first is to make sure that you're not spending too much money on school supplies. You should be spending a very minimal amount of your paycheck on supplies, and make sure that you're coordinating with the director of your department to use your set-aside budget. For example, if you're a science teacher, your chairperson would usually have a certain inventory where you can order your lab supplies instead of paying for them out of pocket. Also make sure before the next school year begins, that you make a supply list of any potential supplies you may need, that way you can order them if you forgot to place an order the previous school year. Also, there are websites like Teachers Pay Teachers however if you subscribe to Facebook groups, they often have a lot of free alternatives to ready-made lessons and resources that you can use.
We hope all of our fellow teachers found this helpful. Also - pay it forward, and leave your tips in the comments!