How to Homeschool without Breaking the Bank

Homeschooling doesn’t have to break the bank. The cost associated with homeschooling is entirely up to you. In fact, there are families that educate their children at home and spend little to no money on curriculum, field trips, and extra activities. Not only can homeschooling be done economically, it can also be less expensive than sending your children to public school. In fact, homeschooling on a budget is easier on your budget than you thought possible.

If you have ever sent your child to public schools, there are often book fees, fundraisers, birthday parties for every child in the class, field trips, “required” school supplies, back-to-school clothes, and other hidden expenses. If you track your expenses, at the end of the year, you will probably find that “free public schooling” is not free at all. I have found the cost of homeschooling to be much cheaper than other schooling options.

Free Curriculum and Free Resources

While I will not get into all the free curriculum and resources out there, and there are plenty, I will mention just a couple. I will tackle all the free items out there in another post. There are so many places to find homeschool resources for free. From unit studies using Disney movies to teach all subjects, to complete curriculum for each year such as Easy Peasy or Khan Academy. These curriculum choices give you a great way to homeschool without the cost of new curriculum.

Resources can also be found online, at your local library, and even from a local homeschool group. Getting connected to a local homeschool group enables you to meet other local homeschool moms, and to share ideas, resources, and curriculum with those moms. Throughout my years of homeschooling, I have lent (and borrowed) full curriculum packages, books, science resources, and more.

Homeschooling on a Budget: Ways to Save Money

Set your homeschool budget – It is very easy to overspend on curriculum and resources. Setting a budget is a great place to start. By knowing how much you are willing to spend, you won’t buy unnecessary resources.

Make a List of Curriculum and Resources – If you make a list of what you want to buy, you will have an easier time sticking to your budget.

Shop Yard Sales – Surprisingly, I have purchased a ton of used books and school resources from yard sales, garage sales, church sales, and eBay. Additionally, you may find items on Facebook Homeschool Curriculum sites.

Ask Questions About Resources before You Buy – 1) Be sure the person you are asking knows what they are talking about. 2) Ask about resources before purchasing. 3) Read online reviews. Sometimes you think you are buying great resources (telescopes, microscopes, curriculum, art kits), only to find out that the microscope is fine for younger kids, but isn’t what your high school student can use.

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Affiliate, I do earn from qualifying purchases.

More Ways to Save Money Homeschooling on a Budget

Utilize the Library

The library is all about free books especially if you will only be using the book one time. Additionally, there are other library resources that can be used for homeschooling. Our library puts together “kits” which are actually unit studies on different topics. You can also borrow movies, documentaries, and music CDs.

Sell the Curriculum You Used Last Year

Selling your curriculum enables you to spend money this year. This is an excellent way to keep homeschool expenses low.

Don’t Hold Onto Curriculum for More than 2-3 Years

While many people will recommend that you save curriculum to use with younger children, this practice ends up costing you more money in the long run. I have walked in homeschooling friend’s homes and see a lot of money tied up in curriculum that they used once, but “might use again.” Often you do not end up using the same curriculum for each child or a new edition comes out and you want to buy the new books. By selling the curriculum you won’t be using for 2-3 years, you free up cash for the current year.

Buy Low/Sell High

By timing when you buy and when you sell, you can actually make some money. Buying low means knowing early in the season what you want to purchase. This will take some planning, but I have actually bought curriculum and sold it a year later for more than I paid for it. Selling curriculum closer to the school start dates means last-minute shoppers are trying to get their curriculum quickly and are more willing to purchase without haggling.

Look Online for Free Printables

I can’t tell you how many bloggers and companies offer free printables. If you want to teach about sharks, (I have some free printables), just Google Shark free printables and you will find educational materials galore.

Ask About Teacher Discounts

Many, many places offer homeschoolers the same discounts that they give to teachers. In fact, that seems like another post I need to make! LOL Everything from stores such as Meijer to Barnes & Nobles offers educator discounts.

Visit Homeschool Conventions

Some of the best deals I have found on new curriculum were at homeschool conventions. However, I have also found “convention deals” online when I couldn’t go to a convention. During convention season, make sure to check out online discounts.

Purchase Older Curriculum

Buying an older edition of a math book may save you 50-75% or more. Depending on what type of curriculum it is, you may be happy with the older editions anyway. I have bought science books for $2-3 dollars each at my local library sale. Since I hardly ever use textbooks, I have just used those textbooks for an outline on what I will cover for the year.

Look for Sales

Online curriculum sites such as offer discounts several times throughout the year. Their biggest sale is usually in August with a Buy One Year, Get the 2nd Year Free. This online curriculum is PreK to 12th grade and has over 400 courses that you can use with the entire family. Even if you only use 1-2 online classes each year, it is well worth the money.

Additionally, is a great resource for music lessons, art courses, social studies, spelling, Bible, language arts, and more. Additionally, they have all grade levels to choose from.

Finding Other Ways to Save Money

Sign up to use Affiliate Links

Affiliate links enable you to make money by recommending curriculum to your friends and family. When you sign up for a membership, you are automatically enrolled in their affiliate program. This means that if you share your unique links with your online friends and family members and they sign up, you can make some extra cash. There are other companies that offer affiliate programs too.

Get an Amazon Prime subscription

The money you save on shipping alone can pay for this service. When I need to purchase just one book, I don’t have to put together a minimum order. Additionally, with Amazon Prime, I have access to movies, documentaries, and other free resources. Additionally, you can find great deals on homeschool supplies, art supplies, or craft supplies. Furthermore, if you blog or have social media accounts, you may be able to sign up to be an Amazon Affiliate and recommend products to others.

Homeschool Days

If you are on a tight budget, often field trips and even vacations are the first things to be cut. However, there are great deals to be had for the homeschool community. Amusement parks offer discounts for homeschool families. Sometimes you need a group to go, but that is one advantage to being a part of a homeschool group.

Don’t Purchase Back-to-School Clothing

This is one area where I have really saved money. I have not needed to buy back-to-school clothing and shoes. Even though you think you are getting a deal, I have found that I actually have saved a lot of money by waiting a month or two to buy clothing. Stores actually raise prices before their “back-to-school” sales.

Back-to-School Supplies

I purchase all my back-to-school supplies such as glue sticks, notebooks, construction paper, etc. during the back-to-school sales. These supplies are cheapest during the traditional back-to-school events. Additionally, these supplies cost much more at other times during the year.

Unit Studies

Teaching a unit on marine biology, horses, trains, or Disney, means that you can teach multiple grade levels at the same time. This helps you to save money. A unit study can incorporate multiple subjects such as Bible, social studies, history, geography, science, and literature with multiple grades.

Split the Cost with Friends

Buy in bulk and split the cost with friends. Many items are cheaper the more you purchase. Glue sticks, paper, crayons, scissors, or folders can have significant savings when you purchase in bulk. However, you might not use all the supplies. By splitting the cost with friends, you can save even more money.

Outside the Box – Homeschooling on a Budget

Sign Up for HP Instant Ink

HP INK has saved me tremendously, and if you sign up with my link, you can save too. Printing worksheets, lesson plans, and curriculum can get expensive. Ink is expensive, but by subscribing and paying only 4.95 a month, I have saved a significant amount of money over purchasing ink in the store. For a fixed monthly fee, I can print up to 100 pages a month and the pages I don’t use carry over. There are several different plans to choose from.

Travel Off-Season

Traveling when everyone else is in school means significant savings. We usually take a beach vacation in September or October when the beaches aren’t crowded. Many restaurants and hotels raise their rates during their peak seasons. If you travel outside of the peak season, you can save a significant amount of money. While you might not think that this is a homeschooling item, because you are no longer tied to a school calendar, you can save money on traveling and use it for curriculum.

Group Lessons

You might want to give your child private art or music lessons, but those can be costly. Get a few friends together and share the cost of those lessons.

Have Grandparents or Aunts/Uncles Buy Memberships for Christmas and Birthdays

Memberships to museums, zoos, or gyms are a wonderful gift and allow your children to have experiences you might not be able to afford. Grandparents love to give gifts that keep giving all year long.

And remember to use everyday life skills to teach your children. Spending time in the kitchen with baking, cooking, and learning how to plan and budget for meals should be skills your child learns at home and not when they are out on their own.

This list is just some of the creative ways homeschooling expenses can be kept at a minimum. Your homeschool year can be fun, inexpensive, and you can provide a quality education for your child without spending much money.

Homeschooling on a Budget

1 thought on “Homeschooling on a Budget”

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