So you desire to homeschool, but you don’t see how it could possibly work because your budget is meager to say the least. We’ve been there. Living paycheck to paycheck and desperately trying to put aside every penny we could save. Literally. Every. Penny. Yet we still felt called to homeschool our precious little ones. So we decided to work out our faith and proceed to homeschool our first, then second, and now all of our children. And I’ll show you how we have gotten from there to now, 4 years in the making.
The Ways We’ve Found to Homeschool on a Budget
Whatever we needed, we tried to find for free first. Our curriculum plan is free. A lot of the books we use are available online for free. Generous, family-friendly YouTube Videos that teach us a new skill, free. The library has a ton of stuff as well in the form of books and videos, even free events. But we didn’t stop at school stuff. As our kids grew, we were able to swap clothes with other families in our church. We learned how to grow some of our own food during the summer and any excess we were able to share with other families and sometimes we were able to benefit greatly from someone else’s overflow. And whatever we couldn’t find we found a way to use whatever we had and made it work. Which reminds me of the time we needed a ruler and protractor and we didn’t have the money to get them, but we did have a computer and a printer which we used to print those bad boys off. Great in a pinch! When you’re desperate you can always find creative ways to get the job done.
To keep our household bills down, we sought out different places to homeschool without spending any money. The library became our hangout spot at least once a week, where we could utilize their heating and cooling (we might as well benefit from the air they have to circulate for their potential customers! ), their water and sewer without spending our money on ours. The park is another great place, especially now since most have water fountains and some form of a restroom. All you have to do is pack a lunch and you’ll be good to go!
Sometimes we would end up with a little extra money due to birthday or Christmas presents, a bill being less than we initially budgeted (I love this!), or even a tax refund. When the money comes we save it for something we may need for our homeschool in the future. Like right now, we have a bit of money that we set aside just for the back to school sales that happen around this time and we will keep some of that aside for the Pre-Black Friday homeschool deals so we can purchase what we need for a lot less and make our small amount stretch even further. I also like to frequent any library sales in our area because I am bound to find something useful there. Sometimes I come out with nothing, other times a lot and all for mere change.
When we need something, we always try to find it second hand after first trying to find it for free. Throughout the year I thrift shop and there I sometimes find a few of the books I need for mere pennies on the dollar. (One of the many perks of using living books!) When we started using a math and science curriculum we did our best to find all of the books used. Amazon, Ebay, and various other used book sites became instant friends!
Close to Free
We try to never, ever pay full price for anything. When we are ready to purchase school supplies in August we wait until the supplies are on a definite clearance before we purchase. I mean at least 65-70% off clearance. In some areas people believe that 15% is a clearance and they wipe out the shelves before it hits 50%. This does make my shopping a little more frustrating, but I have learned where I can shop to find the deals. Learning to coupon helped us tremendously in the very lean times of our life. I believe this is a skill that most families can definitely benefit from this skill set. Our children know that we don’t buy something unless it is on sale with a coupon. This way we can get the items we need as close to free as we can and save our money for something that really matters to us.
So as you can see there is a lot of patience, grit, and ingenuity needed to make a homeschool run well on very little money, but it can be done. We are living proof! And those years of pure struggle we wouldn’t change for anything because it has made us better stewards of what we have. And anyway we can help our families save money to enable us to homeschool is a beautiful thing. Because let’s face it. It’s harder to be as frugal as we want to be because our kids are growing and we get sick. Just the fact that they need clothes, food, and run up medical bills is enough to keep you in the hole digging out with a spoon.