If You’re a CPS Teacher In September, You’re Hangry and Broke. But Not Alone.

Up until a few years ago CPS teachers got their pay spread out through the entire year. Then it was taken away. So in order to have money over the summer we had to learn how to save throughout the year. And then make it last throughout the summer.

Sounds easy.

But it’s not. At least for me it isn’t. And for most of my friends it isn’t either.

So this is what it’s like to be a CPS teacher in the month of September.


Toast. With Butter.


Peanut Butter sandwich with Little Debbie Swiss Cake Roll. Roll. As in I opened the package and separated the two rolls and put them into separate zip lock bags to make them last longer.


Monday: Mac and cheese

Tuesday: Buttered Noodles

Wednesday: Condensed Chicken Noodle Soup

Thursday: Tuna Casserole

Friday: Jack’s frozen pizza. That I’ve been hiding all summer.

Saturday: Pancakes.

Sunday: Pray Nana invites us over.

If it doesn’t come out of a box or isn’t condensed, we can’t afford it right now. We told the kids we’re playing a little game called Hurricane. Let’s eat like a natural disaster is upon us. The game got really real when the power was turned off. The kids thought it was fun until they realized their electronic devices depended on electricity.

That was a joke. Our power did not get turned off. This year.

Mom, we’re out of toilet paper! Okay, break into the stash of napkins I’ve been stealing from Dunkin Donuts all summer. But whatever you do don’t flush them! When we were rich at the beginning of the summer we drank coffee and ate donuts. Not anymore.

Mom, my uniform shorts are too tight! You see what you do is, you take a hair band and use it as a button to extend the life of your uniform until I get paid. Or you lose some weight. And with all of the wheat we’re consuming, good luck with that.

My daughter came home from school on the second day and told us that her teacher had no money just like us. I emailed the teacher my condolences. She replied…

“To clarify, we were talking about paying bills & taxes. She raised her hand & said my mom & dad don’t have any money! I burst out laughing & said, it’s ok, we don’t have any money either!”

At least someone is listening to me.

Livin' on the cheap.
Livin’ on the cheap.

And I’m back to drinking my shitty $4.99 bottles of wine. Those $8.99 bottles are a distant memory. We’re real I-talian over here with our pasta and red wine every night.

My nails haven’t been done in weeks. I got a message the other day from the girl at the nail salon asking is everything was okay. I assured her I’d be back and warned her to be prepared. I’m back to one eyebrow. Heat up the wax, I need them back to two separate entities ASAP.

The only bright side through all of this is that most of my friends are teachers too. Or just broke. So we’re all in this together. And we’ve never been happier.

Two more days til half a paycheck. It will be like winning the lottery. I. Can. Not.

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