Monday, March 20, 2017

Homeschooling - Can You Afford It?

If you are finding yourself wondering if you can even afford homeschooling, here are some tips to keep in mind to save money:

Set a Budget

Have an idea of how much you want to spend each year and stick to it.  It can be really tempting to buy everything you see when you walk into a used curriculum sale.  Research ahead of time the prices for each item.  Write it down and bring it with you.  Just because all the other moms are equipped with roll carts and bags, doesn't mean you have to be.  Relax and look for what you need.

Make a Spreadsheet

I started one when our daughter was in Pre-K.  I keep track of the item's retail price, how much I pay for it, and how much I sell it for.  

Borrow or Swap

If you know someone who has what you need but they are not using it this year, see if you can borrow it or swap it for something you have for the year.

Use the Library

If you have a well stocked public library nearby, this is a cheap way to find all those books on your reading list.  Take advantage of their interlibrary loan system.

Buy used

Buy from friends or shop your local used curriculum sale if you have one.  In the past I have had good luck with the Homeschool Classifieds.  It was pretty simple to set up an account and look for what I wanted.  I was able to buy and sell a few things, which worked out great!

Shop Sales

Buy school supplies when everything is on sale, and during the tax-free weekend if your state offers it.

Shop Online

I have found that if I can't find something used, I may be able to find it cheaper on Amazon or Books-A-Million.  Both offer free shipping if you buy over $25 and Books-A-Million has a 20% off educators discount for teachers.  You just have to sign up for the card and then register the card number to your account.

Join a Co-op

Co-ops offer support and ideas that you would not have available otherwise.  If there is not a co-op near you, you could join the Homeschool Buyers Co-op, the world's largest purchasing cooperative for homeschoolers.

Hand Down/Combine Kids

We only have one child so we sell things after we use them, unless they would be a good resource for the future or they were consumable.  But for bigger families, hand down books and curriculum to younger siblings and combine children close in age so they can use the same curriculum.  

Search FREE Sites

If I can find a free online site that has games, resources, or materials, I have tried to incorporate it into our schedule.  Stay tuned for an upcoming post about FREE Homeschooling Resources. 

Last year we decided to cancel our Direct TV and get only our local channels and Netflix. We LOVE Netflix!! There are many educational movies on there and you could probably find something to go along with any topic you are learning.

Amazon Prime

We don't have Amazon Prime at the moment but I've thought of getting it for the instant streaming of movies and TV episodes. Plus, there are over 350,000 Kindle titles to borrow for free. Still something we are thinking about. 

I hope this has been helpful!  There really are ways to stay within your budget so you can homeschool!  

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