Tuesday, September 16, 2014

She Works Hard for the Money!

This is a post about MONEY.   I know that most of our posts are explicitly about what goes on in our classrooms, teaching strategies, and issues related to education.

However, I know that a teacher's personal life and stress level *does* affect the lives of his or her students in the classroom.  When I am stressed out about life, I know that my students feel that stress and that this does impact the work that they do.  It is important for me to simplify my life and to help alleviate the stress that can come from a lack of dinero. 

Here are some tips and tricks that I have been using to help me.

1.) Sunday Cooking Parties and Strategic Grocery Trips
I have found that it is extremely difficult for me have enough self-control to not stop somewhere on my way to or from work to grab some overly-priced foods.  Therefore, I get four of my friends together on Sunday nights and each of us makes four servings of a healthy meal for everybody to share.  I go home each Sunday evening and I have 16
healthy meals, plus any food leftover from the meal that I made myself.

This saves me A TON of both time and money.  I scour the grocery store advertisements for foods that are on sale.  I also use the Checkout 51 App (See description below!) and plan my meal accordingly.  After I know exactly what I am cooking for my meal, I go to coupons.com and see if there are any coupons to print for the specific foods that I need.  This has been a lifesaver, and my food budget has gone down IMMENSELY!

2.) Helpful Apps
Checkout 51 -
This is an app that allows the user to take a picture of their receipt from a shopping trip and get rebates on specific items. I have been using this app for about a month now and my account is up to $12.00.  Once I hit $20.00, I can cash out.  Some of the items are for brands that are a little bit harder to find, but there are ALWAYS rebates on items that are staples and that I buy almost every week anyway!  A gallon of milk (any brand) is always on there for 50 cents or a dollar back.  Tomatoes and bananas, two foods I always buy, are also always on there.

Last week, the app offered rebates for spinach, black beans, tortilla chips, and jalapeno slices.  Of course, I decided that making southwest salads was a great idea that week!

Mint -
It is sometimes difficult for me to keep track of bills, payments, and budgets.  When I downloaded the mint app, I linked it to my bank accounts and to the loans that I have out.  I also set a budget for various categories, such as eating out, entertainment, and groceries. If I am getting close to my monthly budget, I get a text notification.  There is also a "goals" section where you can set a goal and track your progress.  This has been very effective for me. 

Yes, I seriously have duct-taped my debit card to the wall in my house and have vowed to leave it there for a whole week.  I put cash in an envelope solely for gas and emergency.  If I don't have my card on me, I can't use it!

4.) Budgeting, budgeting, budgeting....
I have been writing down EVERY LAST PENNY on a budget sheet I got from a financial advisor who did a presentation at work.  When I typed in "budget sheets" on google,
many options came up.

Get your kids started early thinking about money with my activity "Fruit Market Fun!

Set up a fruit market in your Kindergarten, First, or Second Grade classroom and have your students practice buying the fruit with money.  You can find it here!

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