Money doesn't tend to be a topic in the staffroom, and with salaries rising to £41,000 in England and Scotland, it's easy to think that most teachers don't have money worries. But with the rise in the cost of living and higher outgoings than other professionals, teachers aren't left with much disposable income at the end of the month.
Higher than average pension contributions, exorbitant rents, transport and lifelong training can all put pressure on a teacher's salary. Then there are the extra classroom expenses that see teachers spending a fair bit of their own money on supplies for their students. It all adds up to make finances difficult to manage.
So how can teachers save money? And what are the best saving tips, whether you're a trainee or a school head? We've put together this article to help you make the most of your pay packet and manage everything from your mortgage to your discounts.
How can a teacher save money?
Some of the perks of the job, including the long holidays, can also be the biggest drain on your finances. So one golden rule for teachers is to plan for that by saving into a holiday account. Set up a standing order that kicks in immediately after payday. That way, you won't miss the money you're putting to one side to cover expenses later on.
But that's not the only way teachers can make their money go further:
Did you know that teachers can claim tax benefits on work clothes and professional subscriptions? With an average rebate of up to £250, it's well worth claiming, and as a bonus, HMRC will also adjust your tax code, so you get the same benefit every year.
Teachers are needed all over the country, which means you're often forced to buy in pricey areas. Checking your mortgage deal on a price comparison website could save you hundreds per month, which gives you more to spend on classroom supplies! (Or add to an emergency fund).
If you're a teacher who doesn't know about the wide range of discounts available, it's time to learn. For example, teachers are entitled to 10% off Apple products, 30% off Hilton hotels and up to 30% off your phone contract. In addition, look out for freebies like will writing services and make the most of discounted travel and cheap life and car/bike insurance.
What are 10 ways to save money on supplies?
Of course, every teacher knows that one of their biggest outgoings is classroom supplies. But these clever money-saving hacks can save you hundreds each year:
- Use your discounts. If you want to make savings, shop where the deals are. For example, WH Smith offers a 10% discount to teachers.
- Stock up at the pound shop. When you're looking to decorate the classroom or find student rewards, you'd be surprised what you can find for a pound.
- Never pay full price. You've seen something you like in the supplies catalogue. Now go away and look for it cheaper elsewhere. Sign up for alerts and wait for the sales to get the best possible price.
- Try car boot sales. You never know what you'll find, and if you mention you're a teacher, you might even get a discount.
- Ask parents to donate. Boxes of tissues, hand sanitiser, pens and pencils, notebooks — whatever your class needs, ask parents to do their bit. Put together a list of items you need for the year and circulate it at parent's evening.
- Hunt for sales bargains. You can get some great end of year bargains. Just store them carefully and make a note of when you need to use them.
- Look for free online resources. Make the most of free trials and ask around the staffroom for recommendations for the best sites for free teaching resources.
- Use school resources when you can. If your school has a copier, printer, or laminator, then make use of those items when you can. Waiting in a queue could save you money in the long run.
- Buy quality. They say buy cheap, buy twice, and that definitely holds true for classroom resources. The better the quality, the longer your items will last.
- Do you need it? A new rug or bulletin board might make your classroom look snazzier, but what's most important is whether they make a difference for your students and their learning. If they don't, invest in something that does
What is the 30 day rule?
When you're trying to save money, there's a simple strategy to give you control over your spending. It's called the 30-day rule.
When you get the urge to make an impulse buy, whether it's school supplies or a new pair of shoes, stop. Leave the store or the website. Instead, write down the details of the item including the price and where you found it. Now, mark that date on your calendar and set an alert for 30 days.
Putting a brake on your spending can help you separate needs from wants. In addition, you'll have time to do some comparison shopping and think about why you want the item in the first place. Another step is to put the money you'd spend in a savings account, which could set you on the path to saving for something bigger.
What are the 5 best money-saving tricks?
At Salad Money, we have plenty of saving tips to help you get started. But these are the five best tricks when it comes to saving money and achieving good financial health:
- Budget using the 50/30/20 rule: essential spending/ discretionary spending/ saving.
- Prioritise paying off high-interest debt, so you have more money to save.
- Automate your savings using an app like Chip or Plum.
- Build up an emergency fund that protects your savings and other assets if you fall ill or lose your job.
- Set SMART saving goals that are achievable and realistic.
Salad Money can help
Whichever area of education you work in, Salad Money can offer financial support. We provide fair, ethical loans for teachers and other workers across the UK. So if you need a small and affordable loan to help you sort out your debts and get started on the path to saving, apply online at Salad Money today.