Book Budget

We’ll start with books, since that’s where many teachers end up draining their bank accounts. Many of us end up buying shiny new collections and methods only to find that we can’t use them with our real-life students. 

Set Your Book Budget

So your first action is really a resolution. But it needs to be a realistic one.

  1. Calculate how much you spent on books last year. 
  2. Work out how much of that you used. This can be books that you gave directly to a student or books that you had a student go buy and you kept yours as a teacher copy.
  3. Take the second number away from the first to see how much you overspent. 

Your ideal book budget should be roughly the second number (how much you used) plus 10%. If your overspend is more than that, consider giving yourself a strict book allowance for next year. If you’re worried you’ll go over, see if you can keep a separate bank account or online payment account (or wallet, if you pay in cash) with just the correct amount in it each month.

Exception: If you’re in your first 1 – 3 years of teaching, you will end up spending more on books than teachers with more experience because you need to learn by exploring.


In the sewing world, they call their fabrics their “stash”. Just like music teachers and books, many sewists are a little too liberal with their fabric purchasing and they end up with more fabrics than they can use. Thus were born a multitude of “destash” social media accounts and websites. 

If you have a lot of books that you think, realistically, you will not use in the next 2 years, it’s time for a book destash. Take a look through your book collection, pick up each book and imagine yourself using it with a student. If it doesn’t fit your teaching philosophies or is a genre of music your students just aren’t interested in, put it in your destash pile. 

Take photos of each book and list them for sale online. You can use a local listing site or Facebook groups like ‘Piano Teachers Buy Sell Trade’ to try to offload them.