The new school year is just around the corner, and I am sure, if you’re like me, you’ve already started making plans for upcoming lesson plans! As a home school mom, I am always on the lookout for great deals and ideas to stretch the home school budget. Whether you are schooling one child or ten children, here are some tips and tricks to make your home school dollars go farther.
Shop the Sales
Kind of a no-brainer, but it really can help you to rack up the savings. This time of year, retailers are marking prices on school supplies way down – think 24 count crayons for a quarter, folders for a dime, notebooks for a dollar – the list goes on and on. This is the time to stock up on these items that you will use a lot of this year. You can also get price breaks on other school supply items like binders, filler paper, and bigger ticket items like graphing calculators and even laptop computers. Some states offer have “tax free” weekends right before school starts back – this sale includes everything from school supplies to clothes to diapers and lunchboxes – computers and iPads may also be included in your area, too! If you coupon, you can roll grocery savings into your school supply fund to keep the money for school stuff from coming out of your household budget. Also, some stores will mark down school supplies down again around mid-September, so there will be another chance to save once the school year starts!
Shop Ahead of Time
As home school moms, we often find ourselves planning ahead to the next school year before the current one is even over. If you like to do this, you can get great deals on curriculum by buying in advance. Certain curriculum publishers will run sales a few times a year on textbooks, workbooks and other items. Last fall, I was able to get a great deal last Cyber Monday on a book we needed for school – I was planning to buy it anyway, but lucked up on a great sale and got it for half the price! If you have the space to store books and supplies for future years, this is a great option if you don’t mind shopping for deals year round. Along the same lines – use your curriculum for more than one child! For example, if you purchase a deluxe Kindergarten curriculum when your oldest child starts school, and you have four children, each time the child gets to kindergarten age, all you would need to buy would be the consumable products, like workbooks or student sheets – you already have the bigger, more expensive items, which keeps your costs for future years down!
This is probably one of the most useful tools in your money saving arsenal. You can find used home school supplies in all sorts of places. You can buy used books on Ebay or on Amazon. I have purchased curriculum from other moms in our local home school group on a couple of occasions. There are several Facebook groups dedicated to the sale of used home school books and curriculum. Sometimes, if you use a particular curriculum, there might also be a resale group for it, as well. Another great place to find cheap books – thrift stores! I have gotten several great resources that we use all the time – like drawing books, and chapter books, even textbooks – for a fraction of the regular price – at our local Goodwill. If you keep a list in your wallet or purse of books you are needing, it comes in very handy if you’re in a thrift store with a decent selection of books. Buying used children’s books is a great way to build your library on the cheap!
Both a Lender and a Borrower
One of the best ways to get home school supplies on a tight budget?? Borrow them from another home school family! Have books or manipulatives your kids aren’t using this year? Lend them out to another home school family! By borrowing books, you are saving a lot of money, and also extending the life of a book that might otherwise stay on a shelf! If you are overrun with books that you won’t be using at this time – see if any other home school families you know might want to borrow them! If you’re wondering if a curriculum is right for your family – you might be able to borrow it from someone else to see if it’s a good fit before you spend the money.
Another point to consider here – your local library can become a home school mom’s best friend. Many times, if you need a specific book, if your library doesn’t have it, they can order it from another library. Your library is also a great place to use larger books like atlases, encyclopedias, and have your kids work on different computers at the same time. Another bonus – your library may have hundreds of DVD’s that you can rent for FREE! We try and make a weekly trip to the library to get books about what we’ll be studying for the next couple of weeks. It is a definite money saver!
Finally, know that there are tons of free homeschooling resources online. You just need a good printer, some ink, and you can print out everything from worksheets to reading guides to crafts and math flash cards. The world wide web is an amazing tool!
How do you save money on school supplies? Do you have any tips to share?