We are a thrifty family. We try to cut cost where we can. I have been called cheap, but I take that as a complement. It's important to save money where we can.
When we were new to homeschooling, we use to spend a bundle of money on books to homeschool our children, but sadly most of those books would just sit on the shelves. We would find a few that worked for our kids, but the rest would sit collecting dust. I think I bought so much stuff in order to impress family that was not really supportive of our homeschooling. Things had to change. We wanted to be more thrifty in this area. The more we can save the more we are able to give.
I want to share with you the ways we save money on our homeschooling curriculum and supplies. Why spend more than you have to? It is possible to give your child a great education without breaking the bank!
Our favorite place to shop for homeschool books is our local thrift stores. Many times families use textbooks for a year or two, or find out the textbooks they bought were not suitable for their family, so they donate them to thrift stores. They are usually in good condition and most are hardback. If you can pick up ones that are fairly new, you may be able to purchase workbooks and test/quiz booklets online for a low price. The textbooks are usually what cost the most. If you are teaching the elementary grades, the teacher’s manuals are not always needed, but as you get up into the high school grades, you may want to be sure that you can get the teacher’s manual for the textbook you are looking into buying. I have found that when families discard their curriculum, most of the time they get rid of it all, so it is easy to find the textbooks and teacher’s manuals right there.
We have also built a home library by shopping for books at thrift stores. Having a little library at home saves on trips to the library. I get so excited when I find books that are not only educational but fun for the kids to read. Be sure to look through the books you want to purchase and check them for lost or ripped out pages or marks that make the books hard to read. Many times parents will discard almost brand new books. What was one man's trash may become another man's treasure 😉
Our next place to shop is yard sales. Every summer, l look forward to seeing those bright, beautiful signs. I know when I see these sale signs, I am going to save money! A few years ago, you couldn’t have gotten my husband to stop at a garage sale, now I find him looking for them more than I do. The best ones to look for, when searching for homeschool books and resources, are ones of retired school teachers, or homeschooling families where their children have outgrown materials or graduated. Many are listed in your local newspapers. They are usually anxious to get rid of all the goodies they have used over the years, and are priced fairly. You can find workbooks, art materials, posters, fun educational games, and much more.
Our next stop is flea markets. In our area, we have a few flea markets that we are able to check out every couple of weeks. The flea markets are not as cheap as your local garage sales, but the fact they are in buildings and open a certain time each week, is nice. You know exactly where to go and what times to be there. Many vendors are reasonable and willing to work with their prices, especially if you are interested in buying quite a few things. One year we were able to buy like new text books for our high school students. The vendor even had the teacher’s manuals and testing supplies to go along with the books. I was willing to pay a little more money to be able to buy everything right there, but I still saved a bundle.
Another way to save a few bucks is to wait for local stores to have back to school sales. I rarely buy school supplies after schools begin classes in August. The prices are more than doubled once schools are in session. In July, most stores begin their back to school shopping sales and that is the best time to purchase things like crayons, scissors, glue, paper, folders, and spiral notebooks. I always get my list of supplies early on, so I can get the best deals. I try to buy enough to last the entire school year.
Another great resource for your homeschool needs is online sites. My kids love their e-books. We use many online sites to download free or cheap books for them to read. There are also many websites that offer free printables that are great for supplementing your curriculum. The key to using online worksheets is to find a good printer that has cheap ink. Another trick to printing from the internet is using draft print or some printers call it quick print. It saves tons of money on ink. Be sure that you follow the guidelines for each site and only print materials that are meant to be used for printing.
As a veteran homeschooler of 19 years, I have found that you don’t need a lot of things in order to teach your children. You just need time, patience and some creativity. They need your focus and attention more than they need the latest and greatest educational book or computer software. You are the key to giving your child a well-rounded education. Have fun as you teach and allow God to lead you.