How to Homeschool on a Budget


Homeschooling can feel like an overwhelming task at times — especially for beginners! 

This journey will bring many challenges along the way and trying to learn the ins and outs of homeschooling while sticking to a realistic budget can be one of those challenges. Here’s how to homeschool on a budget.

How to Homeschool on a Budget

Easy Ways to Stretch Your Homeschool Budget

As a homeschool mom of 3, I truly struggle with this one! I want my kids to learn and do all the things. However, my budget doesn’t always allow it.

If you are anything like me, this list is totally for you! Check out some of the things I lean on to stretch my homeschool budget each year.

Utilize FREE Resources

Yes! This is such a good way to stretch any homeschool budget. From free worksheets for kids to full curriculum programs. There truly are so many great freebies available!

Thankfully, we live in a time where resources are nearly endless — you just have to take a little time to find them.

Printable Freebies

Let me introduce you to a little place called Teachers Pay Teachers. This wonderful platform has tons of cheap and free options for homeschool parents just like you! You can also easily find printable freebies on Pinterest or by doing a quick google search. There are so many great options available!

Digital Freebies

While I’m not a huge advocate for online learning, technology truly is one of the great benefits of living in today’s world. Leaning on public K12 programs or utilizing free learning websites for a majority of your child’s education can be a huge long-term money saver. If your children have access to tablets or smartphones regularly, free apps can also be great learning resources. Checking the app store for freebies is a great place to start!

However, I totally advise checking with your local library to see what free learning and audiobook apps they have available as well. The results might surprise you. My kids have gained access to many amazing digital freebies over the years by signing up through our library!

Struggling to find the printable or digital freebies you need? Check out my free resource library to get your hands on 100+ free printables & educational websites for your homeschool!

Field Trip Freebies

While printables & online courses are great, some of my favorite free resources for homeschoolers aren’t actually resources at all. They are in fact local establishments such as libraries, museums, and nature centers!

Do a little digging and take some time to research what is available in your area. We’ve had great success leaning on these types of places for our field trip needs over the years. Not only are they a great way for your children to explore or socialize with friends, but they also make amazing hands-on learning experiences!

Plus, frequenting local nature centers or libraries will expand your children’s knowledge with little effort on your part – that’s a huge win in my book!

Sign up for Teacher Discounts

This is something I learned about a couple of years into our homeschool journey and has quickly become one of my favorite homeschool-mom perks. Taking advantage of teacher discounts & sales at popular stores has saved me so much money over the years!

While it’s great to participate in this kind of budget-stretching, it’s always important to take note of the rules & regulations for each program as well. Some stores offer discounts without proof of verification, while other programs require teacher IDs or paperwork.

Like the idea of saving on school supplies & extras?

Check out some of my favorite teacher discounts below!

Target

Target always offers a teacher discount near the beginning of each school year, typically in August. This is something you have to watch and apply for each year. I’ve never had any issue with requesting this discount and it can easily be done online! If you choose to apply for this discount but don’t have the proper paperwork you need, try using the sheet I use for mine. Once you have registered as a teacher, you automatically apply for Target’s teacher discounts throughout the year. They almost always drop an additional coupon for teacher appreciation week in May!

Joann

This is another simple one that can easily be done online. I absolutely love this program because, unlike sales, this discount can be used all year long! Simply follow the steps online to get your teacher discount card!

Michaels

While I haven’t personally used this discount program, I know many homeschool moms that have! Just keep in mind, you will need a teacher ID for this discount.

Not sure how to get an ID? Try creating one through Homeschool Buyers Co-Op or simply make your own!

**Be aware: Programs like this one can sometimes be iffy, only because they are teacher discounts and don’t always specify homeschool parents as being an applicable option. Unfortunately, different stores have different regulations on who should qualify — so definitely keep that in mind when applying. With that said, many homeschoolers use this program with no issue!

Barnes & Noble

This program is another one I have yet to try, but I do know homeschoolers that have had great success with it! Since you have to sign up in person, having a teacher ID or homeschool paperwork on hand is a must. Fortunately, homeschoolers are listed as eligible for these special discount days, so it shouldn’t be a difficult discount to grab!

Shop Curriculum Sales

This is one of the biggest ways I save money every single year. Curriculum companies tend to offer occasional sales and it can save you big time!

Instead of purchasing a full-price curriculum, do a little digging to find out if or when sales on your favorite curriculum happen. Many curriculum companies have holiday deals or huge black Friday savings, while others stick to free shipping days or scratch and dent sales – all of which are amazing ways to save!

We almost always have all of our books for the upcoming school year purchased months in advance, simply because I only purchase new curriculum during sales events — which typically means buying ahead of time.

Buy Second-Hand Curriculum

This! If homeschooling on a small budget is your reality, buying a second-hand curriculum may just be the best option for your family!

Many homeschoolers purchase a new curriculum only to find out that it isn’t a good fit for their child. Because of situations like this, you can easily find lightly used or like-new curriculum for sale online at a fraction of the cost! Check out your local buy, sale, and trade groups, or join large used curriculum groups like this one on Facebook!

Purchasing a non-consumable curriculum and selling it online when you are finished with it is another simple way to stretch your homeschool budget for the upcoming year. While most of our curriculum is consumable, I always try to keep those that aren’t in really nice shape for this purpose alone.

Non-consumables can also be used for multiple children in your household — another great money saver!

Purchase the Digital Copy

If purchasing used isn’t an option for your family, consider using digital copies (PDFs) to stretch your budget instead! Sometimes purchasing PDF versions of a curriculum can save you a huge chunk of change. Other times, the cost is relatively the same. Just make sure you pay attention to the original purchase cost and add in any additional cost you might spend on printing and binding.

If you decide to go the PDF route, try printing out the curriculum in small batches or only print worksheet pages while using lesson pages on a computer or tablet instead. This simply cuts down on your paper and ink usage!

Using PDF curriculum is also a great option for large homeschool families because much like non-consumables, they can be used multiple times for a single purchase price!

Skip the Extras

This was a hard one for me, you guys! I love all the extras. However, skipping them can really save you in the end. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it – plain and simple! Stick to using core supplies only and skip purchasing extra learning aids and books.

You can easily bring new books into your homeschool each week by utilizing your local library instead of purchasing and your child can get their hands-on learning experiences by visiting free museums and nature centers. Super simple!

Sticking to a homeschool budget doesn’t just apply to the supplies you use though, it can also apply to your homeschool room. While fancy desk setups can be fun, opting to use your kitchen table as a learning space instead might be a wiser option if you have a tiny budget to stick to.

Put your money where it matters (on the curriculum) and let the rest be. Your children can still get all the wonderful experiences that homeschooling has to offer — yes, even without a fancy setup.

Cut Out Additional Monthly Expenses

Last, but certainly not least… One of the easiest ways to homeschool on a budget is to have a larger budget. Sounds silly, but it’s so incredibly true! Cutting out unnecessary expenses in other areas of your life can expand your homeschool budget to a whole new level!

First, start by cutting out unnecessary monthly expenses such as cable, subscription boxes, or streaming services and put that extra money straight into your homeschool budget! Then, make simple swaps in other areas of your life. Swap out your weekly Starbucks runs for a simple latte at home or try skipping fancy salon treatments for an at-home mani-pedi instead. You might just be shocked at how much extra wiggle room simple swaps like these will give to your homeschool budget.

Finally, eat at home! Seriously though. Eating out for a single meal can be costly for the average-sized family and can be downright expensive for a larger-sized family! Try meal planning, buying in bulk, cooking ahead of time, and sticking to simple meals at home (for the most part). While this is so much easier said than done, it can really save you big!


Tips for Getting Started Homeschooling on a Budget

While the idea of putting your homeschool on a budget may not sound fun, it is totally doable! Start simply. First, by cutting expenses. Second, by moving on to research mode. Research the sales, check out the local freebies, and get details on everything in between! Then, jump in headfirst — you’ve got this!

Looking for other simple tips for starting your homeschool journey?

Check out some of my most popular blog posts on getting started! Learn how I homeschool only 3 days a week & get all the tips for prepping your homeschool year.

Love this article? Take some time to share it with your friends on social media!

Mary Dunn

About the author

I am a homeschool mom of three, a huge introvert, and a big believer in children being bold, strong, and fearless, but also for them be completely wild and free – exploring & thriving.

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