The cost of homeschooling your kids – especially multiple kids – can add up in a hurry. Finding and sticking to a homeschool budget can be tricky. But, it’s not impossible.
We have four kids, and I’m always looking for ways to do this homeschool thing on a budget. We’ve been homeschooling a little over 10 years now, and I have a few tricks up my sleeve for saving money.
You might be in the same boat with having to juggle your homeschooling budget. And with the holidays coming, it’s always good to know how to save a few dollars.
Easy Ways to Stretch Your Homeschool Budget
1. Combine subjects.
Don’t buy each child their own history or science curriculum. Combining subjects is an area where you can really save. You might change things up from year to year, but combine these subjects so you’re just buying one set of curriculum, rather than one for each child.
2. Save a little money from each paycheck.
Put a little money back each week to go towards homeschooling. We started doing this a few years ago, and it’s made an enormous difference in stressing over money. Either set this money aside in its own budget category or put it in an entirely separate account. You’ll be so glad to have money set aside when you need it.
3. Hang on to textbooks and curricula.
Plan to reuse non-consumable texts with younger siblings. Even if something doesn’t work well for one of your kids, it may be perfect for another. You’ll be happy you hung onto it in the future!
4. Take full advantage of sales.
Look for library book sales, yard sales, and homeschool group used book sales. Check out sites like Thriftbooks.com. I have found probably 50% of the books on our shelves at used sales! So worth the hunt!
5. Take advantage of selling.
Make money for new curriculum and recoup some of last years’ budget by selling your books and curriculum at used curriculum sales. Usually, you can set up a table for a small fee (or sometimes free) to sell.
A few tips for selling:
- Make sure your items are clearly marked.
- Check used book sites before you price your items. You don’t want to be way off in your pricing.
- Group like items together and label your categories clearly: History, Science, etc.
6. Share with friends.
Swap curriculum with or work out a deal for sharing curriculum with each other for the year if it works out.
7. Save money on co-op classes by creating your own with close friends.
Homeschool classes can be so expensive, but it is great to get together and learn as a group and share the load of teaching all the subjects with other passionate mamas. A co-op doesn’t have to be large to be effective. Set up a small co-op with a group of friends to save money, share supplies, and hold each other accountable.
8. Check your local community ed center.
Speaking of homeschool classes, before you spend all that cash on co-op classes, check to see what’s available in your community. Community colleges and education centers may offer classes such as pottery, drawing, photography, computer programming, and lots more. These classes are an excellent way for your teen to earn some high school electives credit for low cost.
9. Use your library!
I know this one is really obvious, but there are so many ways you can use your library. Books are the obvious treat from the library, but don’t forget about audio books, ebooks, videos, computer games, CDs, book clubs and sometimes even free classes for great things like chess or music lessons. Check what’s happening at your library! There might be more going on than you think.
10. Take advantage of freebies.
Look for free trials, samples, sales, and classes from your favorite homeschool companies. Many will offer free trials before you buy their full product. I got hooked on Brave Writer’s Arrow guides by trying out their free samples. Pandia Press provides free try-before-you-buy samples of their products, too.
11. Opt for reusable curriculum instead of consumable ones.
Try to choose books you can use over and over instead of repurchasing them each year.
12. Use affordable or free online resources whenever you can.
There are lots of free or inexpensive online resources available for homeschoolers.
A few of my favorites are:
- Super Teacher Worksheets for all sorts of maps, spelling lists, and so much more.
- Donna Young’s website for TONS of helpful forms and printables.
- Starfall is a great, free reading websites for early readers.
- Dance Mat Typing is a free source for learning typing.
- Homeschool Share offers loads of lapbooks, unit studies and printables.
13. Wait to buy.
So many times I’ve seen something cool out there and had to fight the urge to hit the “BUY NOW” button. More often than not, if I hold off on buying something, I’ll find a more affordable version or scrap the idea altogether. Take some time to consider your purchases so you don’t experience buyers’ remorse.
14. Avoid social media.
If you’re struggling with balancing your budget, you may want to avoid social media. It’s hard to see all the bright and shiny things all your friends are sharing when your budget is strapped. Seeing all the deals going on or the fun packages your friends are opening on Instagram only makes you feel worse.
Take a breather from social media. Be grateful for what you have on your shelves. Enjoy your kids and read a book together.
15. Discount sites are a great way to find deals.
Check out discount sites for deals. Homeschool Buyers Co-op is a great place to find your favorite curriculum at discounted prices.
16. Only buy with a coupon code.
There are so many deals out there on your favorite items, you should hardly ever purchase without a coupon code. Watch popular sales weekends like Black Friday or Columbus Day or Back-to-School sales to find some great deals.
Sign up for your favorite homeschool vendors’ email lists. They will often send new members a coupon code, and emails subscribers are usually the first to get announcements of their sales.
If you can’t find a coupon code, email and ask. Sometimes there are unadvertised codes available for those who ask.
Why Homeschooling on a Budget Is Important
Most of us homeschool parents are either trying to squeeze in work-from-home opportunities or are balancing life on just one income. Making ends meet can be a difficult thing to do! Homeschooling on a budget is essential so we can save where we can and be good stewards of the income we’ve with which we’ve been blessed.
Someday when our homeschool days have ended, we won’t feel guilty about the shelves full of unopened curriculum we were too busy to use or stuff bought because it seemed like everyone else was using it.
Find your favorite resources, maybe add in a couple of new things each year, and be wise with your homeschool budget.
Homeschooling on a budget has been an important topic in our house. I’ve written a post about how to homeschool your child for just $100 per year if you want to read further.
Good luck in your quest to pull off this homeschooling gig on a budget! It can be hard sometimes, but it can be done!
What are some of your best tips for homeschooling on a budget?