I wanted to share some of the things we have done to keep our homeschooling budget to a minimum. The first year we homeschooled, I went nuts. I had grand visions of what I wanted to teach and bought all kinds of books and workbooks and kits and whatever else you can think of. But then the reality of time kicked in and I realized there was no way in the world we were ever going to get to everything. We ended up with quite a bit that never got used. When the next year rolled around, I sold those things on e-bay and used that money to get what I needed for that year. This time I had a little experience under belt and had planned more carefully. I bought only what we needed. I have been selling my used editions and using that money for the following year ever since.
At first, just about everything I bought was brand new. Now I hardly ever buy anything new. I start looking on e-bay in January, when some homeschoolers reach the same conclusion I had the first year, we can’t use it all. I don’t mind having to erase if it means I get the items at a very reduced price. I also go to a used curriculum store, tons of tag sales throughout the year, Goodwill and other thrift stores, and library book sales. I keep a list of what I am looking for making my hunt for good books focused. It’s amazing what great deals I have found. When I do need new items I compare prices from 3 places; Rainbow Resource, Christian Book Distributors, and, would you believe, Wal-Mart on line. When the catalogs come in, I use them as reference books, not only for price checking, but also for the descriptions of the product. While perusing my catalogs, I make a “wish list”. Then I research the items. The Rainbow Resource catalog is an encyclopedia of curriculum insight. Also, a lot of company sites have sample pages for you to look at to see if the product is for you. This aids in deciding if that book will fit your needs. I wait a while before placing any orders, because what strikes my fancy one day may not be what I’m looking for the next. This also helps me not to spend unnecessarily.
Then there is my favorite money saving source of all; the Internet. There is so much offered out here, that some ambitious homeschool moms can school their children with only an Internet bill and the price of an ink cartridge a month. I use whatever free resources I can find that fits our needs.
With the help of some experienced homeschool moms, I have learned a lot since my first year and I continue to learn. I know that these ideas are not original but I hope that I can pass these lessons on down to others so that their school budget doesn’t break them.