Many people just think that teachers have taken a vow of poverty, and that life is too expensive for anyone to get ahead as a teacher. Well, I am a Texas teacher, with a wife, and three kids ages 8, 11, and 13, and we have lived for 15 years on one teacher salary, and saved money every single year. Today I wanted to show you what my real expenses look like 40 minutes outside downtown Dallas, and show that teachers can live the rich life.
Just to give some insight, I have never had any student debt, but did have two car payments, and other dumb stuff in my budget from debt over the years. I learned to hate all bills, and got us down to only the bare necessities for a few years early on. We had no cell phones, no extra insurances, no eating out budget, and no kids stuff since they where babies (babies are cheap!). Our groceries, with couponing (we don’t coupon any more), was about $350-$400 a month at one point, so as you look at this budget know it can still be cut in many places. We allowed some lifestyle inflation to happen over the years, as we had a fully funded emergency fund for 5 months of expenses, or 8 months if we cut some stuff immediately. We mow our own grass and don’t water it, since we live in the country on acreage. Also, living in the country means some city fees, HOA, and other stuff is gone for us. We also cut out yearly property taxes by $1,000 a year moving out of the city limits. My commute to work is the same as when I lived in a neighborhood, but now I have to watch for deer or hogs some mornings, and there is no traffic. You will also notice there is very little health insurance. Our school district, that my wife and I both work for, pays our health insurance, and our kids insurance is taken out of my check at $278 a month. I don’t add it in the budget because its not a bill I pay, and I never bring home the money either, so I never count it in the budget.
|Internet||62.89||*Over Air and Expensive|
|Ooma phone||5.34||*Home Phone in the country|
|Health Gap||46.95||*Our jobs provide free health insurance|
|Eat Out||200||*Average depending on activities|
|Extras (Changes a lot)|
|$3,529.72 x 12 months= $42,356.64 a year|
|*$39, 461.52 for 2017|
|We usually come in below our expected expenses|
So, that is what I am looking at currently for 2018 each month. Some months kids sports could be $600 or $0 depending on who is doing what. Gas prices go up and down, but that is discussed each month. $2 a gallon and $2.50 a gallon change the budget for us, and sometimes we cut places to make up the difference. We also, do have two teacher paychecks. We live off my salary of around $60,000 a year ($52,000 take home), max out two Roth IRA’s, fund kids college funds, and put $300 a month in a 403b, all from my check. We use my wife’s paycheck to pay off the mortgage faster, go on trips, or if really unexpected things happen that we didn’t have a clue about pop up we have an extra paycheck as cushion. $600 in car repairs over Spring Break fell into this unexpected category. We can also live two lives like we did last summer. We traveled to 15 states and 2 Canadian provinces because my check paid for things at home, while we where away, and her check paid for life on the road that month. basically allowing us to live two lives full of expenses without saving.
Learning to live on one paycheck is a blessing to your family. It allows you to save over half of your money, every month for years, and creates financial security that brings happiness to your family. Look over your budget, learn to hate bills, and sacrifice early, so you can live it up later. With a plan, some research, and some budgeting knowledge you don’t have to be a stereotypical poor teacher.
It only took a few years of sacrifice to get our finances in order, and in the end you can live like a king on a teacher salary or on two! You can get rich on a teacher salary! And you only have to work 187 days a year as a rich teacher too!!