Obviously, people don't join Teach for America for the money. Becoming a public school teacher in a high poverty area isn't the most lucrative option most college graduates have available, even with the value of the snazzy Americorps education benefits factored in. I'm signing on for this out of a desire to help others, not get rich.
Still, it's good to know I'll have enough to live somewhat comfortably. The salary range for first year teachers in the Delta that TFA quotes is $27,000 to $35,000, but they also tout the opportunity to save money for the future as an advantage of teaching in their rural placement regions. Cheap housing makes a huge difference, and I expect that at the least I'll be able to budget for funding a Roth.
The difference between making $27,000 and $35,000 seems pretty significant. That might be related to differences in the cost of living in different communities, or it might just be differences in school funding. Since I'll get matched with a district rather than interviewing, I won't be able to take salary into consideration.
Honestly, I'm more worried about lifestyle inflation. Even though the pay won't be fabulous, it's still substantially more than the typical grad student stipend. I'm going to try to create a tight budget, sock away as much as possible, and develop spending habits that will be sustainable if/when I return to school.