These days, homeschooling on a budget means you look for every deal or discount you can. If something is free – you grab it. If something is a great deal – you stock up. So what about those dollar bin homeschool deals? You know – the little school supplies, notepads, and other trinkets you often find at the front of large megastores? Are they really worth it? [Read more…]
Homeschooling can be costly. Couple that with the fact most homeschool families are single income, it can really be cause to tighten the purse strings.
Here are the best money saving hacks to slash your homeschool expenses while not sacrificing on education or fun.
Saving Money On Craft Projects
- Have a place to store craft supplies. If you have a central place you can keep your craft supplies, then they are more likely to get used and not lost.
- When you’re looking for a new project, google the project based on the supplies you have on hand. Pinterest has so many ideas, limiting yourself to the great ones that you can make without spending additional money is always a plus.
- The dollar store can be your best friend or worst enemy. There are a ton of great craft supplies in there, but I highly recommend going in with a list and sticking to it.
Saving Money On Books and Media
- Use the library.
- Return everything on time.
- Keep a lookout at thrift stores and garage sales. You can’t beat 10 cents for a book.
- Search regularly for free Kindle books for kids.
- Make use of the Gutenberg project for free classical literature.
- Look for free educational apps periodically as well.
- Take care of the books you own, clear packing tape has saved a ton of beloved books in our house.
Saving Money On Curriculum
- Choose the right curriculum the first time. Check out Kathy Duffy’s Homeschool review from the library months before you need to make a decision. Try to make the most informed decision possible so you don’t wind up with something that doesn’t work and can’t be returned.
- Buy new, if the curriculum has an excellent return policy. In some ways, this can save money. I am stuck with more used curriculum that “I got on a good deal on,” than I care to admit. It’s not a good deal if you never use it.
- Combine grades when you can. Sonlight and Bookshark, for example, are both great for this. Both are expensive curriculums but if you can use them for two grade levels, or multiple times then they become worth it.
- Join Facebook, swap and used curriculum groups. Obviously, research, research, research first.
- Enroll your kids in a homeschool charter school program. Depending on your state and the program these are free and some are fantastic. With that said sometimes these charter school programs can also be schools of last resort that aren’t all that stellar. Absolutely do your research. (Are you sensing a theme)
Saving Money On Household Expenses
(I include this because when you’re homeschooling it can cut into time that could be spent couponing or shopping sales.)
- Only go to one grocery store. Unless you have excellent willpower and ability to stick to a list. For me needing to go to a different grocery store just to pick up “one thing” ALWAYS busts my grocery budget.
- Use curbside grocery if it saves your family money. If the store you normally shop at has a curbside program, being able to see your total on the computer at home before you check out can really help cut down on expenses even after the curbside convenience fee.
- Shop your cupboard. Before you do your regular shopping trip always look in your cupboards for food that you can incorporate into your weekly meals.
Taking Advantage of Homeschool Freebies (Sign up for our Newsletter Here)
- Have a dedicated homeschool e-mail account you can use for newsletters.
- Save your pdfs in a dedicated file, flash drive, or external hard drive.
- Organize your computer files by grade and subject. (Trust me)
- Invest in a printer that gets great mileage on ink.
- Print in black and white.
PLAN to Shop Homeschool Sales
- Contact your favorite curriculum publishers BEFORE you order. Ask them if they have any coupon codes or upcoming sales. Often, store owners will share discount codes to make the sale.
- Take note of the dates when prospective programs go on sale. Many publishers will have yearly sales right around the same time of year. Make yourself a small mental note when you see these sales pop-up or mark them on your curriculum planner for next year.
Have a Homeschool Budget Tip to share? What else would you add? Tell us in the comments below:
If you’re like me you like to stretch every single penny with your homeschool curriculum.
Sometimes I’ll wait ALL year for a curriculum to go on sale just to save $2.50. No Joke.
I even pass up the 16 cent spiral notebooks during the Back to School Sales, because I know we’ve got 65% of our pages left from last year. Our binders are tattered and worn, but if they still work they still work.
When I do buy school supplies I try to focus more on quality than quantity, and I look for resources I know will last through different seasons of our homeschool.
Investing in a Home Binding Machine was one of my smartest purchases for my classroom. It takes me less that five minutes to print, punch and assemble a curriculum for my children, and provides me with options to switch things up as needed.
I also create many of my own resources and share them with our newsletter readers.
If you don’t already, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter. It’s free and it’s a great way to stay updated with our newest freebies and eBooks added to our curriculum store.
We also feature many exclusive offers from Top Homeschool Curriculum publishers.
Currently, our newsletter is featuring 50+ Deals on some of your favorite publishers at up to 89% off.
There are products in Math, Language Arts, Science, Special Needs, Technology, Phonics, History, Geopgraphy, Art & Music and even All in One Curriculums.
You don’t want to miss these deals or the ones we have planned for our future newsletters.
Well, I’ve done it again.
I’ve waited until the last two weeks before really coming up with a solid Homeschool Plan.
Sure I’ve been collecting various eBooks and curriculum resources over the Summer, but it’s been more like a Homeschool Curriculum feeding frenzy instead of an organized and thoughful process.
It’s time to load everything on the table and see what I’m working with here folks
That is not even this years photo.
I’m so far behind, I haven’t even made the obligatory mess of dining room table yet.
It’s going to be a busy week folks.
So to keep myself invested in this process I decided to update our Independent Weekly Homeschool Calendar, as well as our Goals and Planing sheets. You can still print the older versions here and here if you like them, but this year I needed a little Color Pop to get my act in gear. If you’re struggling to wrap your head around how to schedule your curriculum, try this simple tip for each subject. How to make a list of Goals, Resources, and Action Plan
I’ll be using these with my younger children this year for sure! My older children are going to try Lesson Trek, mostly because I thought Middle School would be a great time to learn how to keep an online calendar as well. We’re always looking for real life scenarios to add in that Technology requirement!
I’ve just finished our Letter of the Week Preschool Curriulum, and it’s very low-prep, so grab that if you need a quick fix for your kiddo too.
When it comes to curriculum planning I like to keep things organized.
But sometimes I get bogged down by the actual organization process.
This is pretty much how it goes every year:
I print up my planner.
I sharpen my pencil.
I heat up my tea.
I clean my desk.
I organize the drawers.
I check my email.
I look at all the curriculum I’ve flagged
I spend HOURS pouring over detailed reviews.
I hunt down the best prices for each title.
I load my carts
But before I EVER purchase anything,
I step back and make a list.
I list out ALL of the curriculum titles that I’m 90% sure that I will use.
Then I take the lists with me to each every homeschool book sale, and convention
in hopes that I’ll find each specific curriculum at a bargain price.
This also helps me deter away from impulse buys.
I usually write out this list by hand,
but this year I decided to make a printable Curriculum Planning List
Isn’t it cute?
It’s not rocket science,
but it sure makes my lists look a whole lot more organized.
Plus you can print one up for each child,
staple them together and take them with you to your Summer sales
When you’ve got a zillion kids it tow,
it’s nice to have something that fits in your back pocket and frees up your hands.
So there you go, 6 years of homeschooling and I’ve managed two planning sheets.
At this rate, I should have a full printable planner by the time my children graduate :)
Do you know what’s going out and what’s coming in?
And between all the Back-to-school supplies, Used-Curriculum sales and crazed Online ordering,
I am at a loss for what I actually spent on our Homeschool this year.
So in an effort to regain my sanity,
and in classic, “I should have done this FIRST” mode,
I have created a simple (and pretty) homeschool budget tracker.
Just a few places to keep track of what I spent for the year,
to help me plan for the following years.
It may look extra simple,
but over the past few years I’ve found that simple is good.
I even gave myself some simple rules for using this budget sheet.
Rule #1: Don’t write down each and every individual item. Seriously, you have other things to do. You don’t want to give yourself a case of Budget Burnout
like last year.
Rule #2: Don’t even separate things by subject, or child. Just keep your receipt and write down the dollar amount. Go for a general budget idea. Trust me, I know you.
Rule #3: Be proactive, write out a best guess at what you’ll spend beforehand. Come back and see how close to target you were. Give yourself a little incentive……Extra Homeschool dollars can be spent on coffee.
Rule #4 Tell the Truth. You know the difference between homeschool NEEDS and WANTS. You’ve got ZILLIONS of half used pencils. Reuse last years notebooks. Seriously. Get real girl and remember….coffee.
Rule #5: When you’re all done, look up the price of Private Education and pat yourself on the back. Job well done Momma!
What about you?
What Budget methods work for you?