Thursday, July 7, 2016
Budgeting for Your Homeschool
I saw a question on Facebook the other day from a brand new homeschooler who wanted to know how homeschoolers afford to buy curriculum. One of the first suggestions a friend made to me when I started homeschooling was that I needed to have a homeschool budget. I can remember thinking, How can I do that? Money is so tight already. It took several years before I took that advice seriously and truly one of the smartest things I have ever done was to start a homeschool budget.
The cost of homeschooling varies greatly. You do NOT need a lot of money to homeschool. You can homeschool for free or close to free with a computer, a library card, some basic supplies, and a lot of determination. But many of us choose to buy different types of curriculum and other supplies to add to the learning experience.
I have tried a couple of different methods to come up with money for our homeschool. I have had yard sales, sold items on Ebay, Amazon, and Craigslist. sold homeschool curriculum I was finished with, and used a credit card (not the best idea!) I have also tried using the cash envelope budgeting system. This did not work well for me because almost all of our money is direct deposited.
The system that has worked best for me was to open an account specifically for homeschool purposes and link it to our checking account. Every time my husband's paycheck goes into the bank, the money for our homeschool budget comes right out of our checking account and goes directly into the homeschool account. This account has to cover all of my homeschool needs. If I need curriculum it comes out of the account. If we are going on a field trip, it comes out of the account. When I buy school supplies for the year it comes out of the account. Science experiment supplies, books, museum and zoo passes, new printer, hole punch, etc.... comes out of the homeschool account. With 6 children in the house, expenses can add up and it has been a huge relief to not have to worry about where the money is going to come from since I started keeping money set aside for our homeschool.
Since every family is different and homeschooling needs vary greatly, the amount of money in a homeschool budget is going to be different from family to family. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to how much you should save. You can start small saving what you can and build it up as you are able. Saving throughout the year makes life easier for me because I have money to spend all year long if I need it,like when homeschool companies have end of the year sales with free shipping in December, or I can save it until July and buy everything for the new year at once. If I decide we could use something for our homeschool, like a color printer, I can go ahead and buy it if I have the money. Or if a field trip comes up and I don't have the money, then we won't be able to go.
I often hear people say that they can't homeschool because they cannot afford it. I had someone tell me once that if they were independently wealthy then they would be able to. I want to say again that homeschooling does not need to be expensive and when you are determined enough you can make anything work. They have been several times that I had NO money for curriculum and God provided for us in a mighty way, not just with curriculum for that year, but a way for me to set aside money for the next year as well and the opportunity to start reviewing curriculum.
Do you have a homeschool budget?