Money-Saving Tips for Teachers

A new school year is just around the corner, and teachers are getting back into the classroom to prepare. Aside from planning fun and engaging lessons, they are also looking for ways to make their classroom more inviting and welcoming. 

Classroom decoration can get pricey, though, especially on a teacher’s salary. Luckily, discounts aren’t only in the area of car insurance for teachers. There are many available discounts and frugal tips you can use for classroom decorating on a budget and beyond.

Cost of Teaching

The teaching profession is one of eagerness, drive, and compassion. You pour so much of yourself, your time, energy, and money into your students and your classrooms. 

When it comes to a classroom, however, you want to elevate your space so that it is welcoming, engaging, and fun. A fun classroom helps facilitate the learning experience and keep students connected and invested. 

Creating that fun and inviting classroom can be incredibly costly. It’s true some of the cost for supplies and decoration can be supplemented by federal, local, and district grants or funding, but not every out-of-pocket expense can be reimbursed. 

Teaching is expensive, but that expense is offset by the moments with students sharing ideas and conquering challenges. When the financial burden seems too much, though, there are a number of ways you can save money on classroom supplies, decorations, and even car insurance. 

Money-Saving Tips and Tricks

Teachers need to take advantage of all discounts available to them. Whether the discount is on classroom supplies and decorations or simple ways to save a few dollars, any savings can be rolled back into the classroom.

Classroom Supplies and Decoration

Often the most pressing need for teachers, new and returning, are classroom supplies and decorations. You want and need to fill a classroom with books, crayons, paper, and posters to make your students feel prepared and welcome.

The cost of baskets, rugs, and a classroom library will quickly add up, however. So how do you as a teacher make this necessary investment without breaking the bank?

Ask for donations 

The most effective way to get the necessary supplies is to simply ask. For teachers in elementary and even middle school years, you can ask the parents of your students to bring in some important supplies.

Send out a quick email or mail out a list of your needs. Parents can drop off these supplies at your school’s back-to-school or orientation nights. 

Teachers can also ask for donations from local businesses. In most cases, local businesses are happy to lend a helping hand to the foundational institutes in their area. Teachers can even roll these donations into a lesson for students. It can easily be a win-win-win situation for all parties. 

Grants and Supply-Donation Programs

You can also look for and apply for grants or supply-donation programs through your district or union entities. These programs are available everywhere, but they do take a little bit of extra work.

For teachers who are interested in these programs, these grants and programs often require some kind of application process. It can be as simple as entering your name and classroom or district information. Other programs, however, require a more in-depth written essay. 

Grants and donation programs can also be a little more restrictive. If you are awarded a grant, they may be required to use that money for certain kinds of supplies or materials. 

State Sales Tax Holiday

Most states offer a tax-free weekend for school supplies and related materials. The discount may seem small, but when buying large quantities of these supplies, you can really save a bundle. 

Again, this holiday can be a little more restrictive. If you’re looking for more decorative or organizational supplies, the sales tax reprieve may not apply. It’s important that you make a list of the essential classroom needs, then do a little research about which of these supplies may be tax-free.


For those large decorative pieces like chairs, bookcases, or rugs, check out your local resale shops, Craigslist postings, and Facebook Marketplace. These places offer teachers and other thrifty shoppers the opportunity to find large furniture pieces to save and upcycle at a fraction of the price.

Upcycling also allows you the opportunity to personalize a piece and make sure it fits the theme and style of the classroom. It does take a little bit of searching and patience, but the pieces and deals are out there.

Other Money-Saving Tips

Saving money doesn’t have to stop at classroom supplies and decoration materials. In reality, teachers can benefit from their occupation and community standing in many different areas.

You can save money by claiming educator tax deductions, using your NEA membership to find discounts, and creating new avenues of income. Because of your training, you can offer after-school or summer time tutoring, or create curriculum or shareable materials through online communities like Teachers Pay Teachers. 

Teachers are often looking to continue their education, which also costs money. This isn’t just a desire they have, but it’s often a requirement if you are looking to move up in your career. There are ways to save a little bit of money in this area as well.

There are options for you to get tuition reimbursement or forgiveness. These options have different regulations or qualifications, but it’s worth checking into. You should use budgeting calculators and other resources to help stay within your spending margins.

Investing in your own education can pay dividends in the end. Districts often pay money for teachers who have higher degrees, like a master’s degree over a bachelor’s degree. The increase in salary will outweigh the money it costs for those additional classes.

Car Insurance for Teachers

Teachers can save money in some seemingly odd places, like car insurance. The insurance rates you are offered can be lower than other individuals. In some cases, teachers can see as much as 30% off their rates.

Car insurance providers often see teachers as cautious and patient individuals. In most instances, teachers drive less distance to their schools which means they spend less time on the road. This means there is less opportunity for you to be involved in traffic accidents or violations. In short, as a teacher, you are usually viewed as a better driver. 

You can also benefit from extensive discounts and benefit options. Car insurance providers offer discounts for occupation, organizational affiliation, and even education level. You might also see additional benefits like extra vandalism and liability coverage while parked on school property. 

There are more specialized benefits teachers may enjoy. Some providers offer exclusive discounts and coverage options for teachers. These options are specific to certain providers, but it’s worth asking. 

You are invaluable frontline workers. Spend time, money, and energy working with children every day helping them gain new knowledge while broadening their minds. You should know and take advantage of where and how you can save a few dollars.


Laura Gunn
Laura Gunn
Laura Gunn is an insurance expert who writes and researches for the auto insurance comparison site, She is a former high school teacher who is passionate about helping all teachers — former, current, and future.

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