Tough economy or not, no matter the type of teacher, K-12, pre-school, daycare, private, public school or parochial educators, saving money in every way possible is an imperative task. There are however, a few key methods for stretching a dollar that every teacher can practice that can help their bottom line:
- Maximize electronic communication
Be it a classroom newsletter, letters to parents, or even progress reports, printing cost can amount to a large sum of the average teacher’s budget. The cost of paper combined with the cost of ink can be a hefty bill for classrooms that hold 20-40 students. Maximize you electronic communications instead by emailing parents’ letters and digitally creating classroom newsletters that can also be sent electronically. With many inexpensive or even free email clients and digital production software available at your fingertips, it just makes sense and its far more efficient as you can ensure that each parent receives the proper communications.
- Maximize tax deductions
For public or private school teachers, keep track of receipts for goods purchased for the classroom as they may be tax deductible. For teachers at parochial schools and at non-profit facilities, you may consider marking these expenses as donations to a charitable cause as they may be tax deductible as well. *Note: Be sure to consult a tax professional regarding all IRS qualifying deductions.
- Find and accept those hand-me-downs
With every teacher there comes a time when you just cannot teach anymore. For those who remain, ask retiring teachers for donations of the materials they will no longer be using. One teacher leaving the profession could furnish multiple small classrooms with enough supplies to last a significant period of time.
- Find sources of used books
For non-public school settings where textbooks and reading materials are generally supplied, find sources of used books. There are numerous used bookstores throughout all major cities, many of which supply textbooks or know of ways to obtain them. Amazon.com also has a used book section that can easily be taken advantage of (Amazon Books). For public school teachers, if textbooks and reading materials are supplied by the state, these sources can serve well for obtaining media resources such as dictionaries and encyclopedias or technical books that would be considered out of the scope of materials the school system will supply.
- Donations and fundraisers
One of the best methods for building classroom resources is holding fundraisers and asking for donations. Consider asking parents to sponsor the classroom for a month, by purchasing supplies for projects and exercises. Hold fundraisers by partnering with individuals who offer products like wrapping paper, popcorn, fruit or the like that can be sold to raise proceeds for supplies.
These are just some of the possible methods for saving money and stretching a dollar in the educational world. Explore these methods and try to discover more that can help save money while furthering children’s education. As you discover more, feel free to leave your ideas in the comments section below.
Several of these ideas and more were first written by Beth Lewis, former About.com Guide.