Cost Cutting Classroom: Supplies, Software, and Tax Tips for Teachers

by Guest Contributor

Tax Tips For TeachersBeing a teacher is incredibly rewarding, but it costs when it comes to supplies and in-class needs.  School systems watch their dollars and cents closely, and so teachers get left needing to cut corners to provide the same amount of efficiency.

Supplies, software, and taxes don’t have to amount to as much when you know how to cut costs.  Get smart and learn how to avoid full price and empty wallets.

Here are supplies, software, and tax tips for teachers…

Keep Track

Saving can be as simple as keeping track of expenses and out of pocket buys for your classroom and students.  Speak to other teachers, your principal, or financial planner about tracking costs and filing for reimbursements at the end of the quarter or year.

Consider Claiming a Home Office

If you qualify, you can claim a portion of your home as an office.  Those who tutor after school, at night, and on weekends may qualify as a ‘business’ owner, saving on taxes.  It may even create a greater incentive to spend more time making a supplemental income!

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Track Mileage

Expenses are not books and supplies alone.  If you coach or manage a school-affiliated team and use your own vehicle, you can get compensated for gas and vehicle maintenance.  It’s small savings if you live in the same town as the school, but if you live over twenty miles and go to and from multiple times per day, the mileage and stress on your car adds up.

Ask for Donations

Sites like help provide by asking for donations from the public, so teachers don’t have to pay directly out of pocket.  Communities rally behind good teaching and there is no shame in asking parents, community members, and advocates of literacy to donate a few dollars toward a good civil cause.  Speak with other teachers or your school’s human resources department about establishing an account or getting involved with a present one.

Bargain Shop

Some have a knack for finding deals while others pay retail on the regular.  However, be a smart shopper for at least a part of the year, searching for back-to-school deals or making bulk purchases after the season closes.

There’s seldom a day that goes by that vendors do not offer coupons and deals on something.  Check sites like SumoCoupon for ongoing discounts.

Look For Grants

There is a lot of paperwork involved and non negotiable deadlines to meet, yet a number of teachers get thousands of dollars through varied grants and associations.  The US Department of Education maintains an open database of grant competitions and information.  Get to work and begin applying for several.

Exchange Materials

Check sites like Craigslist or online teacher forums for chances to exchange or barter materials to decorate the classroom, provide resources to students, and escape the need to pay full price for limited materials.

Thousands of teachers nationwide are in the same predicament, and there’s strength in numbers.  So get online or check local listings for teachers just like you.

Use Free Software

Rather than pay for software, seek out a number of free applications and resources that help maintain a classroom budget, compose lessons, and help you communicate with parents, school officials, and friends.

For example, Google offers hundreds of products and services such as email, video conferencing,  and cloud storage, and it’s all free.  Don’t pay anything when there’s opportunity to pay nothing.

Find Hand-Me-Downs

Teachers regurgitate old lessons from prior years, so why is there a need to buy new supplies each school year?  Even if it means collecting a few dollars from your department members each month to rent storage space, it’s worth the ability to get what you need when you want it rather than spending retail each time.

Find storage vendors in your area or ask the school principal if there is an indoor or outdoor area of the school where teachers can maintain and store materials to escape costs.

Partner with the Library

Partner with the school or a local library lending free tutor lessons or volunteer hours in exchange for their resources.  Librarians have similar needs as teachers, yet are forgotten when it comes to peer partnerships.

Back to school does not have to mean going broke for teachers and aides.  Take a lesson from textbook investors and spend more time on thinking of methods to save.  Often, we’re our worst enemies when it comes to saving; buying too much and at full price is much easier and a hard lesson to learn to avoid.

Russell Matthews has a great knack for budgeting and numbers. As a CPA, he loves helping everyday people find ways to improve their spending opportunities for maximum use.

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This article was written by a guest author. For more information about this author, please see the bio information listed in the article. If you would like to write an article for Money Q&A, please visit our Guest Posting Guidelines page.

Guest Contributor has written 260 articles on Money Q&A. Learn more about Money Q&A on Twitter @MoneyQandA and @HankColeman.

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