Stuck trying to find a way to pay for the next field trip or a new batch of textbooks? Budget cuts have made it harder than ever for teachers to find resources for the classroom. For a teacher, every dollar in funding is an opportunity to further their students’ education. Here are 5 simple tips to help teachers budget throughout the school year:
- Determine Your Needs: Think of budgeting like making a grocery list. You have essentials you really need as soon as possible, and you have wish items that you don’t need now, but could get if you find the right price. Record your necessities and luxuries in two separate columns. Try to think of monthly and long-term expenses, as well as establishing how many times you need to buy these items. In business, these costs would be separated into fixed and variable costs, with one-time purchases considered fixed and repeating purchases every week or month considered variable. For your purposes, create a table with two vertical columns and two horizontal columns. Your vertical columns should be labeled “Essentials” and “Luxuries”. Your two horizontal columns should be labeled “Fixed” and “Variable”.
- Estimate Your Needs: Time to see what you have and what you need! Record the amount of funding you receive from the school, then estimate how much more you will need to cover the rest of your essentials, as well as a few luxury items. Visuals help! Programs like Excel can keep all your funding records in a single place, and allow you to create charts to visually demonstrate the breakdown of your funding received.
- Gather Donations: Why bother with bake sales and car washes when you can have parents donate directly! Crowdfunding roundups allow teachers to create causes that parents support by rounding up daily purchases to the nearest dollar and contributing the proceeds to that cause. Apps such as Sixpence even allow teachers to track their monthly donations, see who is donating most frequently, and more! They recently launched a calculator[insert hyperlink] that can estimate how much in donations a teacher could get through Sixpence per year!
- Find Deals: Use online resources to get bulk deals on supplies! Online marketplaces are full of deals, and sites such as Honey or CNN Coupons provide countless deals and discount codes for some of your favorite marketplace sites like Amazon. Local suppliers help too! Developing a relationship with local mom n’ pop stores can strengthen the ties between your school and the community you serve!
- Communicate With Parents: Be supportive of your donors! Parents are taking the time and energy to help you grow and develop your students; so let them know if you need donation support for new materials or classroom plans! A great way to talk with parents is a monthly newsletter or email blast. These updates can include descriptions of your progress with your students, as well as upcoming fundraising ideas and budgeting concerns!
So what are you waiting for? Try these simple tips today and start planning for your next classroom purchase!