If you have a low-paying job (teacher, social worker, childcare worker) these tips for living on a teacher’s salary might help you create financial abundance no matter how much money you earn! These budgeting tips are from teacher Danny Kofke, author of How To Survive (and perhaps thrive) On A Teacher’s Salary. You may not earn a huge salary as a teacher…but you don’t have to feel deprived…
Before his tips, a quip:
“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” ~ William Arthur Ward
No matter what kind of teacher you are, you need to eat and pay your bills. And, perhaps even buy your own house! To learn how to get the most out of your paycheck, read How to Survive (and Perhaps Thrive) on a Teacher’s SalaryAnd, here are Kofke’s tips for living on a teacher’s salary.
What is an average teacher’s salary?
This varies depending on where and what subject you teach, but the median teacher’s salary is approximately $40,000 annually.
Can you own your own home on a teacher’s salary?
Yes, you can. My family actually just refinanced our mortgage to a 15-year loan — and we’re on one teacher’s salary. My wife is a stay-at-home mom. You can save money even when you don’t earn much!
What would surprise people to learn about living on a teacher’s salary?
You might not make what Tiger Woods does but you can still retire with a sizable nest egg on a teacher’s salary. In addition, according to a recent social survey, teaching ranks among the Top 10 most gratifying jobs so many teachers do not feel the need to overspend. They don’t buy materialistic things to get happier, since they get such great satisfaction from their jobs!
3 Tips for Surviving With a Low-Paying Job
1. Write down everything you spend. After Tracy and I were married for a few months, we took a pen and paper with us everywhere and wrote down all of our purchases. Yes, this was time consuming but well worth the effort. I think so many people are in financial trouble because they do not know where their money is going. They don’t have a financial budget, and that’s imperative when you’re surviving with a low-paying job. For many, it’s not the big ticket purchases that cause trouble. Rather, it’s the $5-$10 purchases (eating lunch out, drinking coffee out, buying sodas/snacks from vending machines, etc.) that add up over time. To live on a teacher’s salary, write the purchases down so you can see how much you are spending on these items.
2. Use cash to make all your purchases. After creating a spending plan or budget, use cash to pay for your purchases. After analyzing your expenses, you’ll be able to see how much you need each week for items such as food, transportation, entertainment, etc. Let’s say this amount is $300. Every Friday (or whatever day works best for you) take that amount out in cash. This will be your budget for the week. When you run out of this cash, you will have to eat in or wait to buy something until the following week. This may be tough at first, but it helps you get a better control of your spending!
3. Analyze your monthly expenses. We have all of our monthly expenses (mortgage, phone, utilities, etc.) written down – you would not believe how many people have no clue how much their house, car and utilities cost! Tracy and I look over our expenses every so often to see if we can cut back anywhere. A few years ago we realized we were paying too much for our phones. We changed the plans on both our cell and house phones and saved over $75 a month by doing away with things we did not even use. We never would have realized this if we hadn’t analyzed our bills.
Read 9 Money Saving Tips to Ease Financial Stress for more tips on living on a low to medium income salary.
If you have any questions or thoughts on surviving with a low-paying job, I welcome your comments below…
Danny Kofke, currently a special education teacher and author, resides in Hoschton, GA with his wife Tracy and daughters Ava and Ella.