Budgeting Tips for Homeschooling

Use Your Local Library

It is amazing all the wonderful things you can find at your local library. The library is a vast resource of material that can be used to supplement your home school needs. Most library systems now allow you to access their services online to search for the availability of items as well as reserve items for your use. Libraries also offer more then just books. You have access to the latest periodicals (magazines, newspapers, etc.) and most offer internet access as well.

Our regional library system (Timberland Regional Library) offers movies, music, and computer software for check out also. Our youngest son loves Nancy Drew computer games. In the store they are $20 but checking them out from the library costs nothing (other then waiting a little while for the more popular items).

Remember, public libraries are funded by your tax dollars and making use of them provides some return on your investment. Also, pay attention to the rules on checking out material. Many libraries charge fines for returning items late.

For our kids, going to the library is a treat and we always leave with something different for them read, play, or watch.

Take Advantage of Thrift Stores

Many people may not like shopping at thrift stores, but it is amazing the items you can find at them. From Goodwill to Value Village and the many other thrift stores out there, you have the opportunity to find good values on everything from clothes, books, furniture, and just about anything else you can think of.

One item that we found for our kids that was beneficial were surplus school desks. They were great for creating a classroom environment for our kids and provided each of them there own workspace. We also take advantage of these stores, by picking up old public school text books. These are great for alternative material to supplement your own home school material.

Find Treasures In Other Peoples Castaways

Saturday morning garage selling is another way to find items for your homeschooling needs at great value. You can find many items that you won't find in a thrift store or will have to pay high prices for new.

One of my favorite items to find at a garage sale are old history related books. But there are many other things you can find. Don't be afraid to ask about paying a lower price then what something may be marked. Many times they will take it. Remember if the item is in a garage sale they are looking to be rid of it, most likely.

Make Use of Bulk Stores

For families on a budget, large warehouse stores like Sam's and Costco are excellent for purchasing items in bulk. Up front you pay a larger price for more of the item, but over the long run you save money, by not having to buy it as often. Buying in bulk usually means that you are paying less per item.

We buy many of our kitchen items such as paper plates, plastic cups and plastic ware in bulk. Other items that can save you money buying in bulk includes toiletries, snacks and drinks. There are also other food products that we buy in bulk to save money. Anything that you use often that is canned (such as tuna fish) is an excellent buy in these stores as opposed to buying individual cans in a grocery store. A large package of hamburger meat will feed a family of 4 several meals. We will make hamburgers, spaghetti, chili, and tacos. That is almost dinner for the week.

Bulk stores won't meet all your needs and you will still have your regular trips to the grocery store, but look at where you spend on 'necessities' on a regular basis and you should be able to find something in a bulk store that will save you money.

After shopping you can stop in the food court and get a hot dog and drink for $1.50. After feeding the kids a hot dog we like to stop and pick up some entertainment for the kids using Redbox mentioned below.

Cheaper Alternatives For Entertainment

Don't be afraid to cut cable television if your family is on a budget. There are several alternatives out there to cable that not only save you money, but also provide you with a means to control what is presented to your children.

If you want to save money on renting movies we recommend a subscription to a service like Netflix. It is very affordable and the kids get excited when the mail comes. It is a treat for them to get a movie. Netflix has packages starting at 4.99 a month and we have found that they have a very quick turnaround in shipping movies out when they receive movies back from you. With Netflix you don't have to worry about late fees.

Redbox is another inexpensive alternative. For $1 a night you can rent a movie from these convenient rental boxes that have been appearing at grocery stores and even fast food restaurants. The convenience comes in there location as well as the opportunity to return a movie to any one of them (not just the location you rented it from).

Speaking of screening what your kids (and yourself) watch. We make heavy use of Focus on the Family's Plugged in Review site. This site provides a detailed review of new releases to the theatre and DVD. These reviews will tell you about positive and negative elements of each movie including how many bad words, amount of sexual content, and other beneficial information to assist you in determining whether a movie is right for you and your family.

Enjoy God's Masterpiece at a Park

Go to a park. This is free and fun for the whole family. It is very relaxing to walk around a park and enjoy the beautiful world God created. Parks provide opportunity for your kids to get exercise as well as interact with other children. Remember, these parks are paid for by the sales tax and property tax that you pay. Make use of them and get a return on your investment.

Have a Family Night

Have a family night. Turn off the TV and play a board or card game with the kids. This is free and the kids will love it.

 

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