Frugal Money Saving Tips to Afford Homeschooling
The financial aspects of homeschooling can be tedious. How do you afford homeschooling?? On top of the costs, sometimes it involves either you or your spouse quitting a job or cutting back your hours to allow for quality homeschooling to take place. A reduced income can cause an additional burden to homeschooling, on top of the other struggles that homeschooling provides. Plus, the best curriculum that you have been eyeing aren’t always cheap.
We have learned a lot about how to make ends meet while homeschooling. Here are my best strategies for pinching pennies to afford hoemschooling and the homeschool life!
1) Make a List
For starters, make a list of everything you will need or want for the coming homeschool year. I usually start this an entire year prior so I can keep a running tab of what we will need (like pencils and binders) and what I would like to have (like specific curriculum for the next grade level). It is never too late to start your list though! It will really help to afford homeschooling!
By keeping a running list throughout the year, it allows me to see what we have obtained, see what we still need to plan on purchasing, AND provides the opportunity to hunt for a good deal throughout the year. If we haven’t found a reasonable price by homeschooling conference season, I usually hunt for good deals online or purchase from a homeschooling conference booth as a last resort.
2) Buy Used
If it is possible, ALWAYS buy used. If you have your list made early, you will have plenty of opportunities to find your curriculum and books you would like to purchase throughout the year. Buying used saves SO much money. Ebay, Facebook marketplace, Homeschool Classifieds, and Knowledge Tree are all places we have scored some amazing deals on curriculum that I was preparing to pay full price for!
You can also check your local homeschooling groups (Find your local groups HERE by State!) to see if there are any used curriculum shops in your area. Because my family is not capable of checking out books at the library AND returning them on time on a regular basis, we try to buy any books that are needed for schooling either used online or at our local thrift shops. Keeping booklists on your “Homeschooling Needs List” will allow you to acquire them as you come across them during the year.
3) Shop Thrift
Thrift shopping has saved us incredible amounts of cash throughout the year and maybe the main reason we can afford homeschooling and the homeschool life. We buy that vast majority of our clothes, shoes, toys, and even binders at thrift shops. Keeping a running list of the things your family will need for the next season can help you not to overspend even at thrift store prices.
I am continually amazed at how many like-new things you can find at thrift stores. You would never know by looking at them, that we only wear used clothes and that which was gifted to us! Significantly reducing our clothing budget has helped us tremendously when it comes to affording homeschooling and the homeschooling life. And my kids are still dressed cutely too! 😉
4) Meal Plan
Meal planning saves us not only money but also a considerable amount of time! I usually meal plan 15 – 30 meals that we all enjoy, and then loop those on repeat throughout the months. Even though we may want to try a new Pinterest recipe occasionally, keeping the meals the same from month to month allows us to keep our grocery list the same. (Get a FREE printable master grocery shopping lists HERE!) This saves my family time and headaches because I can just grab our master list, shop the house for what we already have, then head to the store in a matter of minutes!
I also plan out our meals weekly, adjusting for any requests my kids and husband may have for the week. This takes a few moments to write down a simple plan for each meal and snacks that we have on hand. We keep this on a whiteboard on the fridge so everyone knows what to expect. This keeps us from staring at the freezer at 5 PM wondering what on earth we will eat, and prevents a lot of last minute emergency drive-through runs which can really add up quickly.
5) Utilize Co-op
Do you already have a homeschooling co-op or group you are a part of? Let them know that you will gladly accept hand-me-downs or will go through their garage sale or goodwill piles! We live in such a stuff hoarding society, and many families have a stash of stuff that they have been meaning to get rid of. I would LOVE if someone wanted to come go through our pile and save me the trip to donate it or the hassle of trying to set up a yard sale.
Asking also allows other homeschooling mamas to keep you in mind when they finish using a curriculum, books, or their children outgrow their clothes. Getting first dibs on quality used items and an amazing price can be a lifesaver when you are trying to afford homeschooling and the homeschool life. Don’t forget to return the favor when your family has finished using or outgrown something! We are in this homeschooling thang together after all! 😉
Which leads me to my next point: ask for what you will need! If you have grandparents who are spending their money on toys or gifts that you don’t need, then ask for what you do need instead! Saying something like, “I am so thankful you are wondering what to get for the children’s birthdays! They will be needing summer clothes and these books for school next year. Anything on this list would be a huge blessing!”
A little bit of asking will go a long way toward allowing your family to afford homeschooling. 🙂
The most important thing you can do to afford homeschooling and the homeschool life is to PRAY. God tells us to bring our needs before Him, because He already knows them anyways. I have been astounded by the way the Lord has graciously and miraculously provided for our family during our homeschooling journey.
Have you ever prayed specifically for size 2 winter pants? Or a specific book for homeschooling? Or for money to fix your car? When we have a need and I remember to bring it to God, He is so faithful to provide! It isn’t always in the way we expect, or in the timeframe we desire it to be. But He ALWAYS provides for our needs.
For us, these answers to a homeschooling mama’s prayers have been someone randomly giving us a trash bag full of size 2 winter pants right before the coldest days hit, finding the book I really wanted to read to my kids at a $1 used curriculum sale, and someone randomly handing us a card full of the money we needed to fix the car. Relying on Jesus more and more has been one of the ultimate blessings while trying to afford homeschooling for me. <3
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