“Have fun this summer… by the way, there’s no paycheck!”
Does your office say that on the last day of school?
Some teachers don’t get paid during the summer months. If you’re a new teacher or switching districts, you might not think about pay structure, you’re just happy to be working in a great school.
I call this a pantry raid. I have tons food in my pantry but often go to the store anyway because I’m in the mood for something else. I can save big bucks by eating out of the pantry instead of shopping. I can recover an entire paycheck over time just by doing this and I eat really well.
First, I take inventory of what’s there, then I make a menu featuring those things. Beans, grains, flours, canned foods, freezer items, nuts… It truly is a feast.
- Examples from my most recent pantry cooking: Pasta puttanesca, polenta with sundried tomatoes, date nut bites, slaws, huevos rancheros with frozen sauce, soups, about a million rice dishes, chili, hummus, granola, hot cereals, several salads, miso soup, smoothies, muffins, frozen cheesecake from my birthday… I could go on! Recipes to follow, of course. Keep checking the “food” section or the @broketeacher Instagram where I photograph many of my food creations.
Put things on autopay and overpay
I autopay bills and send an extra thirty or forty bucks each month to the electric company. This way, I have a credit in the summer when my family blasts the A/C. This is a great strategy to save for no-paycheck season.
If you can possibly overpay student loans, car payments, or make an extra mortgage payment during the year, you can be on top of things when no paycheck summer rolls around.
Be careful to note you are paying toward an additional payment so that the amount is credited properly or your payment could be applied to interest overall instead of getting you ahead the intended extra payment. If you think this won’t be applied correctly, save it aside in a separate savings account and pay on time.
Look locally for activities and adventures. There’s a laundry list of things I keep meaning to do and see right in my backyard but I’m always rushing around. Make a list of those things–get to them this summer.
Recharge your batteries without overspending by staying local. For family fun, we’ve got the beach, lakes, ponds, hiking, and a ton of outdoor stuff. During times where I have to stretch the budget, there’s still fun around–if I can only remember the list of things I wanted to do.
Keep a list
I always forget the adventures I wanted to have when it comes time to do them so I keep a list. The list has several categories, ranging from “things I want to do,” to “to learn” and “to read.” If I’m bored, I consult the list. I pick out a project, book, activity… and refocus my brain on something good that doesn’t cost a dime.
This summer, I plan to spend a lot of time writing, homesteading, and improving my photography. Those hobbies are inexpensive ways for me to have fun.
Make some cash
I recently wrote about a teacher who scans the side of the road for garbage, then repairs it and sells it on Craigslist. He’s saving the environment and making some cash. Many other teachers correct AP exams or freelance over the summer to make ends meet. You can use your free time to make a little cash for that emergency fund–in a fun way.
Whether you work a shift here or there, do some freelance work, or sell something on an Etsy shop, use your talents to help you get through no-paycheck summer.
What’s the point of this?
…That’s exactly what my upcoming book, “A Broke Teacher’s Guide to Success” is all about. How do you build and live the life of your dreams–on a teacher’s salary? Could you earn more? Yes!
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