Why I’m Not Shopping for my Classroom this Summer

Choosing not to do any shopping for your classroom can be difficult. There are so many shiny objects in the form of cute classroom supplies, it’s really difficult to resist. I have been on a journey of trying to be more intentional with money decisions and giving up classroom shopping was at the top of the list for meeting my financial goals.

Disclaimer: This is not a dig at anyone who shops for their classroom. I find nothing, absolutely nothing, wrong with wanting to spend money on your classroom.  I have in the past and I will in the future.  But there are some stages of life where other things take precedence over a new set of plastic organizer bins or a stack full of books for your library. And I want to remind you that it’s okay.

You might be seeing all the things everyone else is buying, the Target Dollar Spot finds, pretty colored bins from Hobby Lobby, or new flexible seating options from Big Lots.  Teachers love shopping for their classrooms.  And there is no shame in that game.  But if that’s not your prerogative this summer, it’s easy to feel a little FOMO or shopping envy. #thestruggleisreal

Here’s why I am choosing to have a frugal summer as far as it comes to purchasing items for my classroom.

Last summer, I shopped ’til I dropped.

It was the summer after my first year teaching and I had #alltheideas for the upcoming year. I truly did need some of it but a lot of it was for fun. The pile in my living room grew and grew.

And it was great! I have zero regrets.  I used all of the stuff I bought and it really helped make my classroom feel more like my own. But this summer, I sat down and thought “What do I really need?” Trust me, there are things.  But I am going to try to hold off and purchase what I need through my allotted school, PTO funds, and Box Tops! I realize not everyone is fortunate to get any money from school and we don’t get a lot but it will be enough to cover the essentials.

This November, I’m having baby #2.

With a baby on the way, it is tough to justify dropping dough on classroom décor. Also, when I head back to set up my room I will be in my 3rd trimester so any drastic room changes are going to be too physically challenging. Instead, I will try to simplify the best I can for my sanity (and my substitute!).
Maternity leave also equals weeks that I will go without a paycheck. And while staying home for 12 weeks with my new little one is priceless (and way better than the 6 weeks I did last time!), it will require some creative financial planning.

By the end of the year, we hope to be debt free.

Paying off debt is a new obsession.  I started following some major debt crushers on Instagram and realized how possible it is for us to reach this goal.  So if you are struggling with seeing all the shopping pics, I highly recommend looking up the #debtfreecommunity for some inspiration!

Being debt free (besides our mortgage) will be a huge help with that unpaid maternity leave and additional childcare costs with #2. I keep asking myself why we didn’t start knocking out debt sooner!

In a year or two, we plan to buy a new house.

With our expanding family, we are anticipating needing more space. We currently live in a 2 bedroom 1.5 bathroom townhouse.  I still really love our house but the 2 major issues are 1. backyard and 2. school district. Our almost 2-year-old obviously has a few years before we need to worry about school but as a teacher, I think about it often.

Regardless of the reasons, I think it’s important not to get caught up in the summer spending spree if you aren’t really wanting to this year. Think about what you really need and what you really want that doesn’t have to do with school.

NOT Shopping for the Classroom

Even if we have the best intentions, it can be very difficult to not give in to impulse buying. Scrolling past cute school supplies or walking by an adorable new back-to-school dress takes willpower. Here are a few things you can to do combat the urge:

  • Sit down and make a list of your financial goals. What could that money be going to instead? Keep a list on your phone or make a vision board of what you are saving for.
  • If you’ve been teaching for a few years, go through what you currently have and think about how you can use those items. I know I have stocked up on so much bulletin border over the years and it just sits around waiting to be used! Use what you have on hand.
  • Find a few new social media accounts that align with your goals of spending less. My favorites are @theminimelista@teachingwithoutfrills and @thelady.fire. Did you know that I LOVE sharing about finances on my IG account invest_and_educate? Come follow along!
  • Check out these ideas for having a no spend day or week this summer!
Resisting the temptation to shop for your classroom is no easy feat. The allure of adorable classroom supplies can be hard to resist. But I’ve embarked on a mission to be more mindful with my money and one of my top priorities is cutting out classroom shopping.
What are you not spending for?
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