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Financial Security for Teachers: Earning Extra Income

One of my biggest passions is finance. I love talking about ways to earn supplemental income. I love learning and sharing ways to make your money work harder for you. Being a teacher, that might seem counter-intuitive. However, it’s exactly for that reason that I have found that being driven to be more self sufficient is all the more necessary.

One of the most powerful quotes I have ever heard is about your ability to achieve in life. I can’t quote it exactly, but it says that achievement has more to do with what you’re willing to suffer through than what you are trying to aim for in life. Having a great job with a great salary is an amazing opportunity, if you receive that opportunity. On this side of the window, we have to work harder for and be smarter with our money. So today I wanted to share with you how I am earning 10k more per year and using it to pay down debt, invest in short and long term goals, and having fun along the way.

Number 1: Take a long hard look at yourself and your spending habits. 

This should go without saying, but to a lot of people, it’s massively hard. Even the smallest of spending habits can change how much monthly income you have to save or spend. For example, do you really need that new phone, which will add 30 dollars a month to your bill? Or, could you keep your old phone and save the 30 you were spending and make your phone last a year or two more? Simple math: 30 x 12 = $360. That’s money you didn’t have before. There are many other things you can do with this line of thinking. Car insurance, coffee habits, phone service, etc. They are all costing you money. What can you afford to cut?

Number 2: Get a second Job. 

This one is where the suffering comes in. Time is money. The more time you can put in, the more money you can make. As a teacher, I’m on a salary. So what do I do? I teach online with VIPKid around 10 – 15 extra hours a week. It’s an awesome gig that generally comes out at $20 per hour. You can’t beat that for sitting in my basement on a computer. It’s a great job where I feel valued and appreciated. What’s more, there is no planning on my part. They make all the lessons. I just have to plan what I’m going to bring to the table (props, pictures, etc.).  On top of all that, I set my own hours. 
How else can you make money from home? There are plenty of extra jobs out there. Personally, I chose not to Uber due to the enormous amount of time and energy dedicated to earning a very low wage, IMHO. There are many other work from home opportunities. Here is a link to one of my favorite financial sites, The Penny Hoarder, talking about work from home opportunities. 
Another great way to make money from home, as a teacher, is by putting your materials on Teachers Pay Teachers (Which is exactly how this site got started.) I have written books, posters, and games that I have placed on there. Sure it’s a lot of work up front, but the payout over the longterm makes it worth every minute of perfecting that powerpoint document. 

Number 3: Invest your money.

Now that you have an idea about how to make extra money through saving on items and services and working extra hours, it’s time to make your money work for you. Investing is a scary endeavor. It was and still is one of the hardest things for me to do.  Of course this is all in addition to my 403b and a ROTH IRA. There is no replacement for saving for retirement! But I will say that when it comes to investing my spare cash, the apps that I have found have given me some piece of mind.
The first and foremost app that I trust is Betterment. Why do I trust them? Because they invest in all the smart ways. Best of all, it’s extremely low fee. In fact, I stopped paying attention to the fee, which I admit is breaking my number 1 piece of advice on here of tracking your expenses. Nevertheless, it’s a great app that takes your financial goals into consideration and builds a profile for you, with no minimum investment amount (technically, they wont invest until you have $10, but that sure beats the $1000 dollar minimums of many other firms.) As of typing this, they are listed as the number one robo-investor and have the most money in assets. I think that speaks for itself. ALSO- Betterment offers both ROTH and Traditional IRA options. If you don’t have one, get one. 
My second choice is Robinhood, but let me give a short caveat on this one. Robinhood is more for trading, something I don’t have a lot of time for. Another thing besides time that you need to do trading is money. You need the capital up front to buy shares of stock that you think are worthy of trading. That’s how you make money. The reason I choose Robinhood? It’s free. All trades are free. No annual fees, no hidden fees, nada. It’s all free. So when I have time to put into research, and money to put into stocks, I choose Robinhood. 

Number 4: Invest in yourself. 

Yes I made this header bigger! You should always invest in yourself, especially as a teacher. Thinking about a masters degree? YES. Thinking about a certificate to further your marketability, and teacher potential? YES. Thinking about learning to code or maybe learning another language? YES. Each of these things are common in that they all are ways of investing in yourself. But there doesn’t just have to be a potential for financial gain to invest in yourself. Investing in yourself can also include exercise and treating yourself to a good time every now and again. This also includes investing in your friends and family. They matter too. So while you’re working your rear end off trying to retire in Key West, just remember who’s holding you up in the background. They are investments worth just as much time and effort as your side jobs and monetary investments. 
There are lots of ways for us to be savvy with our finances and come out on top, without all the worry that I see in a lot of teachers who scour the markets near their retirement. 


  1. Really liking this post. Number 4 seems like very good advice. I'm amazed at how many people seem satisfied with their prior knowledge or current languages. Computer skills sound especially relevant. I'm already afraid of some future when I too am not familiar with the technology in the classroom.\”Investing in yourself\” might also look like extra time during the summer to make an amazing unit plan that brings in all the best strategies and engages student's interests. We can't all be \”Pinterest\” teachers, but having added something great each year will make co-workers, administrators, and students alike appreciate our contributions to the team and make us stand out as leaders without even taking a leadership position.


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