I recently read the book Love Your Life Not Theirs: 7 Money Habits for Living the Life You Want by Rachel Cruze. Here is the Canadian link for this book.
If you don’t know her, Rachel Cruze is the daughter of finance expert Dave Ramsey. I think I recently found her through Instagram and enjoyed her content so I got her book from my local library.
It was an interesting money mindset read. I thought that she provided interesting and concrete examples of how to save money. I wanted to provide some other ideas specifically for teachers on how to save money.
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I created this list of money-saving tips for teachers.
- Cut the cable and/or streaming services only keep the one you watch the most. It is still possible to get non-cable TV through a TV antenna. I really love Discovery+.
- Switch grocery stores – does your grocery store have a coffee bar and/or prepared food? You can usually get the same groceries for cheaper at grocery stores that do not have all the services. Some of these discount grocery stores offer grocery pick-up services which is a great service.
- Look at thrift stores or online thrift marketplaces (Kijiji, Craigslist, Nextdoor, Facebook Marketplace) before making a major purchase. It is amazing what you can find used for a fraction of the price.
- Cancel or reduce your magazine subscriptions if you can find them through your local library with the Libby app.
- Pack a lunch, your daily smoothie, and coffee. I am always shocked when friends and co-workers tell me the prices of their daily gourmet coffee habits. Make gourmet coffee a Monday or Friday treat instead of a daily habit.
- Limit the number of supplies you buy for your classroom. This is going to be a difficult one for teachers to think about – but what will change if we keep funding these shortages with our own salaries. I have easily spent thousands on my classrooms over the years – and some of it was for items I wanted for my daily lessons but other things were for decor. Buy the essential items that will help you teach your lesson or save you time. Give up on the notation that your classroom has to be “Instagram perfect”.
- Several years ago, I wrote this blog post about Dressing Well on a Teacher Budget. The tips I shared in this article are still true today.
- Invest in an Instant Pot. This kitchen device is well worth the money as it saves you time in the kitchen and can prevent you from buying take-out. See if you can get it on sale at Canadian Tire or your local home store. We bought ours using store points.
- Take advantage of store rewards systems for places you regularly shop. No one wants to carry around a purse full of plastic cards. Use an app like Stocard to save them all in one app on your phone. Don’t forget to scan your cards and redeem the points. I like to save up my points and use them to buy groceries, gas, gift cards, etc.,
- Shop at stores that have a rewards points system. If you have to buy that product (food, gas, etc.,) and the price is the same – shop at the store that offers you something for your money.
- Carry a reusable bag in your purse/car/backpack. If the stores you shop at charge for bags – save the planet and your pocketbook by bringing your own bag – BYOB (bring your own bag).
- Learn to love your library. I made a goal this year to not buy any new books unless I had a gift card. We have an amazing collection of Little Free Libraries in my city – four in my neighbourhood alone! As well as a well-stocked public library system. Your library most likely has books, DVDs, eBooks, and audiobooks all available to borrow for free. Does your hometown not have a library? You can usually sign up for a free library card in the place you work.
- Check the dollar store first. Before buying things on your shopping list check to see if your local dollar store sells it. I am amazed at what I find at Dollarama! I did not meet my goal of no new books this year as Dollarama had an amazing selection of books for sale on a recent visit.
- Leave online purchases in your cart for at least 24 hours. If you still want them after 24 hours then go ahead and buy them. I DM or email myself links that I see online and then wait to buy them.
- Check what discounts your teacher’s licence, union membership, auto club, warehouse store, etc., offer as perks for members. Some of these memberships give you discounts on car insurance, vacations, cellphone plans, and home improvement items.
- Can you carpool to work? Even if it is just for a few days a week it will save you gas money. I loved the times when I carpooled with co-workers. It made the long commute more enjoyable.
- Research time of use electricity pricing. Depending on where you live your electricity company might charge you time of use pricing for your electricity consumption. Learn what times are best to do electricity-intensive tasks like using your dishwasher or laundry machines.
- Have you tried meatless Mondays? There are so many great vegetarian and vegan recipes online. Check out the Oh She Glows blog for ideas.
- Call your insurance companies and ask if they can give you a better rate. Sometimes your circumstances can change and your insurance needs are not the same. Check if your employer, teacher’s affiliations, or university alumni association offer insurance discounts.
- What about your internet package? Do you still need the same service you required when you signed up? Depending on your internet needs you might be able to reduce your monthly bill.
- Compare your cellphone plan to what is currently available. Call your cellphone plan company and ask what plans are now available and if they are cheaper than your current plan. Check out competitors to see if they offer a better option. Companies will sometimes price match.
- Stock your pantry from salvage grocery stores. USA salvage grocery store map. To find more stores do a Google Search for “discount salvage grocery stores” or “discount salvage grocery stores enter your area name”. In Ontario check out The Grocery Outlet.
Help Your Students Learn About Money
If you teach in Ontario, financial literacy is now part of the Math curriculum.
Here are a few middle school financial literacy lessons that can be used to supplement your curriculum or be left as sub plans.
- Podcast Listening Comprehension Lesson – Dollar Store Prices
- Podcast Listening Comprehension Lesson – Subscription Traps
- Media Literacy: Consumer Awareness Lesson – Outlet vs. Retail
- Media Literacy: Consumer Awareness Lesson – Food Prices in Northern Canada
- Media Literacy: Consumer Awareness Lesson – Checkout Charity
- Media Literacy: Consumer Awareness Lesson – Gender Price Differences
Do you have any teacher money-saving tips you want to share?
Send me an email – I would love to know your ideas. Use this link to contact me.