When I first decided to homeschool I never really thought about the cost. It wasn’t until a girlfriend of mine who had put both her children through homeschool said, “How much did you plan for your homeschool budget?” that I even realized it would cost me money. When I asked her how much I should plan for. She told me that a reasonable estimate was $800 a year.
This was a shock to me as I am a money conscious person and I like to save my pennies anywhere I can. I thought she was joking. Then I started to take a look at the curriculum available and realized that her estimate was pretty accurate. It could not only cost that much but even more depending on what I purchased.
Preparing to Budget
The number of homeschool options is overwhelming. The truth is that even if you do all your research to pick a great program, that program might not be great for your child. This can be costly or even frustrating to a parent as you may need to switch your curriculum to meet the needs of your child. So the best thing you can do is start with a budget. It doesn’t matter if that budget is $100 or $1000. It’s important to have an idea of how much you are willing to spend on your curriculum each year. This insures that you are able to plan and save for the things you need.
Be prepared to go over budget as well. Have an estimate of how much over you are willing to go. Just like with public school additional expenses will come up. You will want to take field trips and get school supplies.
Speaking of school supplies, look for discounts. There are many different ways to get discounts on these. There are online sites like the Discount School Supplies Company. They offer great prices year round.
As a homeschool parent you also have the ability to get a teachers discount through Michaels. You will need to get a homeschool id card and fill out their online paperwork. But the extra work is totally worth it. I get a discount every time I go there.
Another way to get savings is by waiting until the school year starts and then purchase school supplies when they go on sale at the local stores. Since I’m not on a time crunch like all the other parents I can wait and get them a few weeks later than everyone else. The 50% savings or more is worth my patience.
As for discounts on curriculum, the best way to get them is to sign up for email subscriptions to your favorite ones. A lot of them will run specials for different things throughout the year. I’ve started to purchase curriculum in advance of the next school year when it goes on sale. But only for the curriculum I really like. You can also look into purchasing a lot of these used on online bookstores. But be careful. I have purchased used curriculum that said it was in “like new” condition and it was completely written in when I got it. Don’t just buy from anywhere because its low cost. Make sure you trust where you are getting your items from and that they have a good return policy.
Keep in mind budgets are not set in stone. If they are not working for you, consider modifying our changing them up. Don’t forget to plan ahead. Think about purchasing next years projects early or even after public school starts. This saves a lot of money. Feel free to let me know how you plan for and cut costs on your budget.