Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Will You Survive on a Teacher's Salary of US$39,000.00 a Year?

His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ (Matthew 25:21)
How to Survive (and Perhaps Thrive) on a Teacher's Salary

"How to Survive (and Perhaps Thrive) on a Teacher's Salary?" On a US$39,000.00 a year salary, one US public school teacher named Danny Kofke survives and even thrives supporting his family of four. He believes a low salary should not be the reason to stop molding young minds for the future. He's discovered how to stay in the profession he loves while living happily within his means.

Statistics show that half of all teachers in the Unites States leave the profession within five years because of low salaries. Yet teaching ranks as one of the top ten most gratifying careers.

 What about salaries of teachers around the world? I stumbled on an article Teacher Pay Around the World and it shows that salaries of teachers are highest in the countries of Luxembourg, Korea and Switzerland based on a 2007 Statistics (graph shown below). US Teachers' salaries ranked 11th among the OECD countries.

Going back to Danny Kofke,  he has written a book (available at "How to Survive (and Perhaps Thrive) on a Teacher's Salary." He shares how he's able to:
■ live debt free
■ save for retirement
■ support a family of four
■ and live a financially secure life

In a CBN News story, it outlined Kofke's every day ways to get more out of paycheck. Be patient, you have to read and internalize these tips carefully. Here it goes:

1. Get a new cell phone plan -- This might not apply to everyone, but the Kofkes only use their cell phone for emergencies. A few years ago, they had a plan at $50 per month and were barely using the service. So they switched providers and now spend an average of only $10 per month.

2. Use cash -- Cash is king these days. Most stores are hurting and are willing to negotiate prices - especially if you are using cash. Kofke had a friend who recently wanted to buy a new TV priced at about $1,000. He told her to walk into the store with $700 in cash and say she really wanted the television, but could spend only the money she had. After some talk, she walked out with the TV for the money she had in her purse. Not all stores will do this, but with the economy where it is, it doesn't hurt to ask.

3. Use your local library -- We all know the library is a great place to get books for free, but most don't realize many libraries also have CDs and DVDs available for checkout. Instead of renting or buying videos for the Kofke children, they visit their local library and check them out for free.

4. Ask for free stuff -- This might surprise you, but the Kofkes have the NFL Sunday Ticket on satellite TV. This is one splurge that is important to the them because it has become their family time together watching football on Sundays. Danny said he saw an ad in a local magazine offering new subscribers to this service an added feature worth $99 for free. He called up the satellite company and said he already subscribed, and wanted this free feature, too. He got it. It never hurts to ask.

5. Save a little every day -- Some people buy their coffee on the way to work. This practice can add up easily to more than $100 a month. Instead, make your own coffee at home and save up to $25 a week, which adds up to more than $1,000 a year. Another way to save is to bring your lunch to work. On average, you will spend at least $5 eating a fast-food lunch, and more for a sit-down restaurant meal. Instead of eating out every day, bring leftovers from home a couple of days each week. You still get to eat out a majority of the work week, and will save more than $40 each month.

6. Use coupons at the grocery store -- Tracy said she has gotten serious about saving coupons. She starts with the new year and the results have been great. So far, their family has saved almost $350 in 2010.

Indeed, these are really practical tips that we often ignore. As stewards of God's blessing, we need manage our resources very well. It is not how much we receive, but how we handle our finances and set our priorities that matters. Not only that we can enjoy the blessings,we will also learn how to bless others out of our abundance.

Do teachers deserve higher pay? Have your say. Post a comment here.


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