Report: Teachers Will Spend Over $820 of Their Own Money on Classroom Supplies This Year

By Scott Winstead

This story originally appeared on

A new school year is upon us, and as teachers all across the nation get ready to welcome students back into their classrooms, they’re spending a pretty penny in the process.

Surveys have shown that almost all teachers say they pay for supplies for their classrooms without getting reimbursed.

And despite recent increases, the educator expense deduction still isn’t nearly enough to cover how much teachers have to spend, only allowing teachers to deduct up to $300 of out-of-pocket classroom expenses when filing their federal tax returns.

Over the years, the amount of money teachers are spending out of pocket on items for their classrooms has steadily risen, reaching $750 in 2021, and this year as the cost of goods rises, our study shows things are only getting worse even with back to school sales going on.

Our analysis finds that teachers will spend an average of $820.14 out of pocket on school supplies during the 2022-2023 school year — the largest amount ever.

Teachers are now spending about 37% more on school supplies than they were back in 2015.

In total, teachers across the US will spend around $3 billion on essential items to help their students succeed during the upcoming school year. This includes items like pencils, paper, cleaning supplies, books, software, and other materials.

On average, teacher spending this year will look like this:

  • Non-consumable supplies (books, software, etc.) – $193.55
  • Classroom decor – $172.23
  • Consumable supplies (pencils, paper, etc.) – $142.70
  • Food & Snacks – $121.39
  • Prizes – $119.74
  • Cleaning supplies – $70.53

And while they’re spending more of their own money than ever before, teacher salaries haven’t even been keeping up with inflation over the years.

The problem has gotten so bad that many teachers across the country are turning to crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe to raise money for their classrooms, but even then, some districts are expressing concern and disapproval because they’re unable to track the spending.

Meanwhile, America is facing a “catastrophic teacher shortage“, in part because many teachers feel underappreciated, underpaid, and overworked. Undoubtedly, many teachers would point to the fact that they have to spend their own money on classroom supplies as just another sign of unfair treatment.