One of the biggest personal challenges teachers face, can be managing our finances.

In many cases this is due to the underfunding of education and our historically low salary levels .. but financial issues also arise when teachers decide to look at options for leaving the classroom.

Often, bridging the financial gap between a job in school and an alternative income seems impossible - tying many teachers to unhappy classroom employment indefinitely.

This is not a happy or healthy situation.

I want to share 77 money saving tips for teachers, suggested by members of my 'Leave Teaching .. and Smile' Facebook Group .. to help others in a similar situation.

If you are facing financial difficulties, I hope these money saving suggestions from teachers will help you overcome the problems you have.

" I had to pull the purse strings in tightly when I took maternity leave and my partner was made redundant at the same time.

Consider remortgaging - you may find a lower interest rate or be able to extend the repayment term.

Shop around for your bills eg car insurance or mobile phone as you can make savings there.

Plan meals to avoid buying extra or wasted food. I shopped at Aldi instead of Sainsbury's and cut the bill by around a third.

Repair and up-cycle instead of buying new.

Walk or cycle as much as possible.

Sell unwanted items on eBay etc.

Worst case scenario, visit a food bank. I've been only once but it kept us going and I always put things by for the food bank, a bit like a loan I guess. "

ANON  //  Teacher (UK)

" Get a smart meter for your water bills. Most people save from these.   Don’t have the heating on at night.  


Get rid of your landline if you never use it.  If you are a single occupant, make sure you get the UK Council Tax discount for that.

Always buy alcohol on offer!

I find food shopping on line is cheaper than in the shop as, even though you have to pay a delivery charge, you save on petrol and spend less because you don’t pick up items you don’t need on your way round. "

ANON  //  Teacher (UK)

" I buy wisely on eBay, it's astonishing how much all but new you can buy.   I am a second hand Rose and nobody would know unless I told them! "

ANON  //  Teacher (USA)

" The best thing I've ever done to take the stress out of money things is automate it with a bucket system a la the barefoot investor.

I calculated exactly how much money I spend each month in the following areas: expenses (rent/mortgage, bills bit also yearly recurring costs like my car registration and then averaged out per month), living (daily food), play/fun (takeaway food, going to the movies etc), education&wellbeing (because I rarely value learning, studying and doing the healing work that upgrades my life and would be unhappy without it so it's non negotiable), savings, investment - even if the latter two are initially only small I set it up so it happens automatically each month so my brain takes it as a non negotiable thing I do. As time progresses and funds grow I increase it.

So work out the amounts, have an account for each and put the monthly amount needed direct debited into each account.

Bills get auto debited from the expenses account and I never have to stress about paying bills again.

All my brain power can now go to managing one number, i.e. the number going into the source account every month.

When I first left teaching I simply took the same amount of money out of my source account every month to distribute it over the other accounts.

Money I make from other sources all goes into that same source account. It was a bit of an effort to set up initially but has saved me from soooo much stress. "

ANON  //  Teacher (Australia)

" Look at everything in direct debit and standing order and see if there’s anything you can do without - but be honest!  


Check phone contracts and reduce these if possible, plan all meals in advance so you only buy what you need.


Say goodbye to Amazon! "

ANON  //  Teacher (UK)

" As a food lover I would say shop at Aldi! .. I have yet to fill a trolley and pay more than £100 .. food is seriously 40%+ cheaper.

I also cook BIG quantities Sunday and freeze everything so we can eat healthy food cheaply during the week."

ANON  //  Teacher (UK)

" 1. no cable, just Hulu and Curiousity stream, 

2. cancelled gym membership,

3. cook from scratch,

4. buy secondhand when possible,

5. bath and groom my own 4 dogs

6. buy store brand foods "

ANON  //  Teacher (USA)

" Lose the car and stop going on holiday. It works for me.

It also pays to eat less or no meat. Tins and take-aways are out. They're expensive. I could go on .. and on! "

ANON  //  Teacher (UK)

" We only have Freeview and buy Blu-ray or DVDs rather than the cinema, as it is getting so expensive. 

Luckily our 17 yo is very cheap to run apart from food!

Still supporting 19yo who now has a job but is saving hard to own her own place. "

ANON  //  Teacher (UK)

" Check internet and see if you can change the plan.

Netflix?

Compare energy providers, car/house insurance..."

ANON  //  Teacher (USA)

" Lose the car.

Change mobile contracts, scrap tv box contracts and shop around for broadband deals etc.

Make use of sites like topcashback to get some added bonuses on what you're already buying.

Ditch the car and walk places.

Join a voluntary organisation to get a social life for free! Lol "

ANON  //  Teacher (UK)

" I have always been thrifty, so it wasn't a huge switch.

Food: I don't eat/drink out, and I cook from scratch--a lot of soups, beans, smoothies.

I don't drink my after-teaching beer (since I am not teaching), not that I drank more than 1, but I am not stressed and don't think about it.

I walk/bike to work, and I shop for deals all the time. I think I knew that I wouldn't teach forever, so I tried to pay off big expenses (car/house) ahead of time, and that is very nice now. "

ANON  //  Teacher (USA)

" Look for grants and help for those on lower incomes. In my area Thames Water have a grant you can apply for an Watersureplus discount for people earning under 19k a year"

ANON  //  Teacher (UK)

" It’s hard to do at first… But then just becomes a way of life.

“Trim the fat”.

I was surprised at how much money I’m spending on extra things like fancy coffee, drive-through food, and eating out.

Carefully planned meals for the week and only buying what food I need cut down on my grocery bill. I think I just became more aware of what I was spending my money on and made better decisions.

I stopped buying things I didn’t need or buying things just because I felt like going shopping. It’s not easy, but it is very possible. I also started shopping for Christmas all throughout the year when things are on sale.

I buy Christmas cards and wrapping paper after Christmas when they are practically giving them away. I cut coupons and look for sales. I rarely buy anything for the full price.

We started doing many of our home repairs ourselves rather than hiring someone. Instead of going to a fancy salon, I go to a place where I can get my haircut for $19. I still get a nice haircut, just don’t get the fancy atmosphere. "

ANON  //  Teacher (USA)

" I sold my house, paid off the mortgage, downsized to a cheaper location, no takeaways, swapped electricity supplier, only Freeview, cancelled life insurance. 

Still not working yet ... I'm on ESA until January "

ANON  //  Teacher (UK)

" Mystery shopping was fun on maternity leave and got us free coffees, treats and 5 in England holidays all paid for!

Now my kids are over 5 no longer eligible for those!"

ANON  //  Teacher (UK)

" I gave up my car and TV subscriptions, negotiated better deals with mobile phone and utilities and shopped at a cheaper supermarket.

Plan meals to prevent buying too much, cut back on treats and holidays. Buy second hand or repair where possible. Find cheap or free days out. Sell unwanted items.

It's incredible what you can save when you really have to "

ANON  //  Teacher (UK)

" I used to go to the local butchers and farm shop and got everything else delivered from Sainsburys.

This morning’s weekly shop at Lidl was less than £40 - approximately £80 less than I used to spend.

I feel guilty that I am no longer supporting local businesses but, hopefully, one day, I will be able to shop there again.

Also found my alcohol bill has dropped as I don’t need it as a release from stress! 😊"

ANON  //  Teacher (UK)

" In the last two year of my teaching job I managed to save almost half of my salary towards my escape, which I think was quite an achievement, given that I'm the only wage-earner in my household.

I must point out that our expenses are lower than average though, as we have no dependent children and are mortgage free, thanks to my husband’s shrewd financial management.

• We keep our house relatively cool, only using heating when really, really necessary – we put on extra layers and jump about a bit if we’re feeling the cold. I’m always flabbergasted when I visit people who have their heating on and are walking round in light clothing!
• We only turn on lights if absolutely necessary, and switch them off as soon as they’re not needed.
• We keep boiling the kettle to a minimum (although I’m a self-confessed tea addict!) and only fill it with just enough water. I make two cups at a time for myself, as I like lots of tea!
• We only have the TV on if we are actually watching it, which is usually for a maximum of 1-2 hours per day. It’s amazing how many households I’ve been to where the TV is left on constantly with nobody watching it!
• We write a weekly menu, plan in detail exactly what we need and don’t allow ourselves to buy extra unnecessary things – we shop primarily in Aldi and Home Bargains.
• By planning the menu carefully, we ensure there’s never any food waste.
• We drive to town only once a week, mostly. We live in a tiny village with no shops, so we have to plan our visits carefully to ensure we collect all essential provisions in one trip.
• We have an old, but efficient, car that’s cheap to run and insure.
• It is very rare for us to buy anything at all that’s not absolutely essential – in the last year, I can only think of a couple of items of makeup I’ve splashed out on (old stock at reduced prices on Ebay) and I’m really shocked at how many people seem to see shopping as a hobby!
• I only buy clothes when I really have to – most of my clothes have lasted me for years and I only throw things away when they’re beyond repair.
• I buy any essential clothes from Ebay, charity shops or other budget outlets, scouring for cheap bargains. I only ever buy new shoes and underwear (for obvious reasons), but I look for out-of-season bargains and old stock at reduced prices – it’s extremely rare for me to pay retail prices for anything.
• If I need to buy books etc., for my tutoring, I search Ebay, Amazon and other outlets to source the lowest possible price, buying second-hand if it’s cheaper and still useable.
• Our leisure time is spent on mostly free outdoor pursuits – walking, hiking, mountain climbing etc. We very rarely visit pubs and don’t eat out.
• For holidays, we visit family, so accommodation is free.
• My one extravagance is my hair – I do pay for a proper haircut, as I think presenting a tidy, professional image is important, but I keep it to every two months and use a cheapish hairdresser (I pay about £25 and my hair takes about an hour to do, so I think that’s very reasonable). I also buy non-budget shampoo and conditioner, as I have very sensitive skin and cheap stuff gives me sores, but I only buy it when it’s on special offer.
• I keep skincare products to a minimum – I’m currently using Aldi rose oil and Eucerin dry skin cream and each will last me about a year, which I think isn’t too bad. "

ANON  //  Teacher (UK)

"I managed to reduce almost all of my fixed bills by shopping around or renegotiating.  This has saved me thousands over a year.

I plan meals and buy for those to avoid waste.

I can walk to work now so save on fares.

I found keeping a rigorous spending diary helped, but I was always quite frugal, so the main difference now is it is going to take much longer to save up for a special holiday. "

ANON  //  Teacher (UK)

" I cancelled pay tv, negotiated better deals for utilities, ended my monthly charity donations, lowered the temperature on our water heater, set the dishwasher to air dry dishes, stopped using a tumble dryer.  I shop at Aldi, switch off power points when tech items are charged, set the thermostat a bit lower in cooler months, unplugged the rarely used garage fridge and I even keep jugs close to sinks to fill, while waiting for hot water, and use this on the plants."

ANON  //  Teacher (Australia)

" When I stopped focusing on saving money but doing things that would help me get the things I needed, my world expanded.

Like I initially started mystery shopping as a way to take my daughter to fun places. Since then, I have done it to go to the movies, get oil changes, even get a hair cut (it was bad though).

Also, try bartering for goods and services. My sister needed a ride to church every Sunday and she exchanged that for providing tech support. In the US, there are two ways to approach it. The person still does an invoice but they put "in kind" on it for payment and an accountant could help reflect that on a tax return.

Or you could join a bartering website (some are better than others). Finally, I rely heavily on Freecycle and Nextdoor to get items I need that people are giving away. You can request or give away too, so it's a great way to dejunk. "

ANON  //  Teacher (USA)

Teachers saving money on bills

What do YOU do to save money day to day?

Please add any money saving tips of your own into the comments section below ...

If this hit the spot - please pass it on ..

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