Saturday, July 23, 2016

Creating a Homeschool Budget

If you haven't read "Let's Get Started", start there!

Welcome back to my series that is helping you get started on homeschooling. This series, along with my new Homeschool Planner Plus, will help you get started and organized so that you can homeschool your family.

If you have been wondering why I'm calling it the Homeschool Planner PLUS, the PLUS has to do with the extra information that I have added to the planner. There are many pages of organization, but there are also pages where I give you some tips. Most of these tips are just based on mistakes and trials that I have had over the past few years. I feel that all of us homeschool parents are meant to help and encourage each other, so I want to share my wisdom and hopefully help you!

Today, I'm going to share some information about homeschool budgets.

Here is a look at my budget for this year. As you can see, I have yet to total it up. Thankfully, I do not need many things for this year, but if you are just starting out, you might want and need more than you are comfortable purchasing all at once. Here are some thoughts on budgeting for homeschool that may help:

1. Make a note of things that need to be paid for now and things that can wait. 
In the above picture, you can see that my first two items are swim lessons for my children. $240 for swim lessons is not in our budget in September! Luckily, this includes what I will spend for the whole year and $120 will be all that I spend in September. The other $120 will not be needed until March or April. If you really cannot afford activities for your kids, but want them to have the opportunity to join group activities, consider asking for things like homeschool swim lessons, karate or dance classes for Christmas or birthdays.

2. Shop the off season!!!
Aside from lessons, remember that you may not need to buy ALL of your curriculum books right now. See on my list where I wrote "Explode the Code #4". I wrote that down in March. As it turned out had a sale in the spring and I was able to get many of the "Explode the Code" books for $4 and under! There are many ways to save on curriculum, but checking out the homeschool websites between October and April can save you some real money!

3. Only buy what you need.
The next item on my list is printer ink. I hate that I need to put that on my list, but I use my printer often for school and nothing is worse then when I have no ink! When I wrote it down, I was expecting to pay $75. That was because I thought I was going to buy one of the sets of ink that has all of the colors and black. As it turned out, I have been very conservative with my color ink, so I decided to buy just the black ink. Also make a note, my printer ink has the option of buying longer lasting ink. This kind of ink has whatever the number is for your ink cartridge with the letters XL after it. These may cost more, but the once that I used will provide more than double the pages for a cost that is NOT double the price!!!

4. Keep your eyes open.
One of my most favorite things about summer in Pittsburgh are the church rummage sales! I have found so many gems for next to nothing! You can see that next on my list are the math books that I need for my son and the handwriting books that I need for my daughter. My eyes are wide open looking for these items! I will also be scouting ebay to see if I find them. Typically, what I find at the church rummage sales are math manipulatives. I have been lucky enough to actually go to sales where they are doing "everything you can fit in a box for $5" and find classes sets of stuff like tangrams and puzzles to go with them. That's like finding gold!!! I always grab up that stuff and I share with whoever can use it.

5. Freebies!!!!!
One thing that I planned to have on my list, but no longer need is Science curriculum for this year. I had made my mind up about what I was going to use, but did not purchase...I REALLY like to wait and not jump the gun. Well, patience paid off! A friend of mine is still new to selling Usborne Books. She asked me to host an online party and I told her that I would try my best. As it turned out, the party went insanely well! I received over $150 in free books and Usborne happens to have some great Science books, so I'm going to use what I got from there for Science this year. Here are some examples of Usborne books that I already own (my new books haven't arrived yet). Nothing is better than free!! Consider having your own Usborne party and you can also receive free books or you can order right from the site. This link, will take you to the site of the friend that was the consultant for my party. Lauren is also homeschool mom and would love the business.
Isn't this cover beautiful? The pictures
inside are just as wonderful!!!
This book may look familiar if you saw
 the post on our egg hatch. I was in love with
 this book, so I bought it!!
6. Buy your school supplies with the rest of the back to schoolers or shortly after they go back to school.
Although you may not need tons of school supplies, if you even need a few, back to school is the best time to buy. Even if you overbuy, I'm sure you will not be sorry! If you don't believe me, wait until October to buy a pack of Crayola markers. The price will no doubt be $3.97 or thereabout for 8 markers!!! That same pack of markers will be around a dollar during back to school. I usually buy 2 or 3 packs of markers and crayons per child for school. This allows me to get rid of ones that aren't working or crayons that have broken and start new midyear. I also use back to school time to load up on super cheap, like penny deals at CERTAIN office supply stores for things like "stuff a bus" donations. One year, our church was asking for donations of backpacks filled with school supplies for children in need. I was able to buy a backpack and fill it with supplies for less than $10.

Well.....get started on that budget!!! For more help on getting started with homeschooling, stay tuned!!

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