A Teacher Spends $480 A Year On School Supplies: True Or False?

Should teachers be spending upwards of $3 billion of their own money on school supplies? According to the U.S. Census and TakePart.com, that’s how much teachers in the U.S. spend every year. That works out to about $480 a year.

Do you spend more or less than that? Share your experiences down in the comments and let us know how much more (or less) you actually spend. I’m guessing the $480 figure is a bit low but we’ll see!



  1. Donna Dillard

    September 16, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    I would have to say that I spend at least $480 a year on supplies for my room. Everywhere that I go I am constantly looking for something that would be vabluable to my students in an effort to promote their learning. Every student learns differently and a one way teaching approach is not effective therefore I always have my eye open for something that will reach them.
    I just asked my husband this very question and he said that “some” spend more than $480 a year……….:-).

  2. Marty

    September 16, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    This is an average. Many of us spend much more than that, especially if we teach science.

  3. Krishna Longanecker

    September 16, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Not only do I spend much more than that on school supplies, but I also pay about 4 times that much each year for my own professional development to maintain my certification. Wish the general public had a better appreciation for all that teachers do to create the best possible conditions for learning…

  4. Brien

    September 16, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    My wife just spent $30 on headsets for her classroom computers. It’s just the second week. Last weekend she spent over $80. If she only spend$480 I’ll be pleasantly surprised. I’ve spent over $250 so far and its my fourth week of school.

  5. HollyAnne

    September 17, 2012 at 12:46 am

    I teach at a private school, but I promise you I spend that much per semester.

  6. teachermrw

    September 17, 2012 at 7:10 am

    $480.00? That’s about right. I teach at an independent school. It seems that beyond any extras for curriculum come out of my personal budget. And while there’s the tax write-off of $200.00, it’s been that much for years. There was even discussion to get rid of this. While $200.00 is $200.00, the tax write-off should be more in line with the average amount.

  7. Jeannie

    September 21, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    Being a special education teacher, I spend approximately $1200 a year on supplies, supplemental curriculum, snacks, activities etc.. Working in a low socio-economic community unfortunatley puts the burden on me of supplying my students what is necessary for them to succeed. But I do it because I am passionate about my job, students and the community that they live in. To make a difference in just one child is better than not making a difference at all!