This week I’m participating in a money saving collaboration with the YouTube Mommy Meetup community. My video is on Using Your Calendar to Grow Your Savings!
You’ve read the reviews, looked at your choices as thoroughly as possible and made your wish list. And then the sticker shock of it all hits you. Homeschooling expenses add up. They just do. And there aren’t many ways around that, especially as you move into the middle school & high school years. With time, patience & a little leg work, you can keep your homeschool budget trimmed.
Use your local libraries! Besides checking out books, you can often find many other resources through them–computer classes, school-aged classes, videos and music to supplement your curriculum, sometimes even your curriculum! Our last library had a variety of science units available including Snap Circuits & Lego Tech. If you live near more than one library system, check into a card at all of them. For a nominal fee, privileges may be extended to you.
Buy used. Local Facebook groups, Homeschool Classifieds, sell boards on your favorite homeschool forum (Well-Trained Mind is mine), local curriculum sales (often in late spring). Each spring I always ask on Facebook if friends are selling what I’m looking for and I’ve been able to obtain several items that way. But look beyond those more obvious ways to buy used. I found my daughter’s pre-algebra book for $5 (with shipping!) on Amazon’s used section. Abebooks is another site I check before I buy new. If you have the time to wait, PaperbackSwap can be a great resource for homeschool materials, too. More than once I’ve been to a garage sale hosted by a teacher or former teacher who is getting rid of classroom materials, sometimes including old textbooks!
Sign up for the e-mail lists of your favorite publishers and online stores. Some offer a discount for first-time purchases and others will send out periodic coupons.
Two Thanksgivings ago, I was browsing the Well-Trained Mind forums when I stumbled upon a Black Friday sale thread. I didn’t open it at first because I thought it was for Target, etc. No! It was all homeschool materials! I would never have thought to check for sales on Black Friday & Cyber Monday if I had never stumbled upon that. If you know by November what you’ll need for the following school year (HA! Not me!) or you like to freshen up each January (me!), check out sales around Thanksgiving–I saw sales up to 50%!
My childhood library had a great selection of art work that I loved to wander through. It wasn’t until I was a young teen that I learned I could check it out! Many libraries offer art & photographs. You may be able to find art to supplement your history or science or just to study on it’s own.
If you don’t plan to reuse curriculum for another child or you only have one you’re homeschooling, renting your curriculum may be worth it. Yellow House Rentals is the only one with which I’ve had experience (a positive one!) but I know there are others, such as Book Renters.
If you have older students, check your local state university libraries–many extend check-out privileges to residents. Books, videos, videos, etc may be available to you to put together your own unit or supplement one you purchase. If it has an education department, you can often find textbooks there.
Zoos, parks and museums often offer ‘curriculum in a box‘ for check-out. Hands-on materials, information for the teacher & handouts may be included. We have obtained them for free and for a nominal fee (under $20). Check the education page of your local attractions!
Keep an eye out for offers from companies like the engineering box from Dyson (the wait can be long on this and classrooms are prioritized over homeschools) and the recent Speedometry by Hot Wheels offer.
Do you have other ways you save on your curriculum?