The end of the school year can be a very expensive time.
Yearbooks, costumes for school musicals and plays, field trip costs, end of the year parties, prom, graduations and gifts for teachers can all add up to a lot of money.
In the month of May, I had to shell out money for two kids to be in musicals (I was able to pull costumes together for less than $20 thanks to the thrift store.), one field trip that included me (admission combined was $10), Teacher Appreciation Gifts and food for an end of the year party. I know that I was lucky though, my costs weren’t nearly as high as some families, especially since I only have two young children. I’m already worried about the costs of Prom!
One way that I have saved on expenses is teacher gifts. As a former (and eventually returning) teacher, I know that teachers receive many gifts through out the year and we appreciate each and every one. But there isn’t a teacher out there who wouldn’t tell you that you should never go into debt or blog your budget for a gift to them.
There are a number of ways that you can thank your child’s teacher while still being budget friendly. Here are just a few.
1. Write a note. My most treasured gifts (and the only ones I ever kept) involved a note from both a parent and the child thanking me for the year. The parent’s note was heartfelt and to this day still brings tears to my eyes. I also, will never forget the people who gave them to me.
2. Collaborate with others. Contact all the parents in the classroom and collect $5 from each person who is able to contribute. Buy 1 gift card from the whole class to Amazon, Target or a similar store. A few small gift cards from various students are nice but one bigger one can really help out the teacher.
3. Start early. In March, have your child plant a seed and nurture it for the next couple of months. By the time school gets out, it will be large enough for the teacher to replant in her own garden. A perennial will come back every year and give the teacher something beautiful in her yard. Consider planting lilacs, roses or the perfectly titled Forget-Me-Not.
4. A Hug and a Thank You. It really is just that simple. Tell the teacher thank you and offer a hug. Let him or her know how much you appreciated what they did for your child.
Also, when you are thinking of ideas for teachers please consider the following. Please avoid buying candles or scented products. Everyone has their own preferences and sometimes the smells you like are not what another likes. I get migraines from very strong smells and have had to toss out or pass on gifts because of this. Also, please skip coffee mugs, stationary, and anything with an apple on it. Teachers are over flowing with these items and they usually end up in a box somewhere.
This year, I kept things very simple. I bought two potted plants that were each under $5. The kids gave them to their teachers during teacher appreciation week. On the last day of school, I spoke to each teacher and thanked her for the past school year (and cried both times). They felt my gratitude with my words and I know that it means more to them than the stuffed animal I saw a teacher receive.