Sunday, January 25, 2015

Homeschool Money Matters

Many families shrug off the idea of homeschooling due to financial constraints or based on the unfounded belief that it takes thousands of dollars to educate a child (News Flash! It doesn't.)

In this post, I hope to break down some of those barriers and also offer some practical advice.

Money is tight for most of us these days. Jobs are often scarce, and most are having to take whatever they can get (which may or may not be the best-paying). Most people have the idea that for a family to survive, both parents have to work full-time jobs. This seems to eliminate the possibility of home education.

But there is hope!! Thousands of homeschooling families make it happen on just one income (most often Dad's). And a good number of these families have alot more children than I do!! What is the secret?? I will give you several things here to ponder.

Get on a budget!

Live within your means.

I know this sounds old fashioned to some, but it works. You will be very surprised how far one income can go when it is properly managed.

My husband and I are huge Dave Ramsey fans because his plans for both spouses working together at being debt free, creating a workable written budget, saving for emergencies, and just basically having a plan for every $ that comes in is both Biblical and financially sound.

If you need help getting your finances straight before making the decision to homeschool, I recommend you visit Dave Ramsey for more information. I also recommend Dave's books The Total Money Makeover and Financial Peace

Start a home business!

You would be surprised how much many families can actually save by Mom not working outside the home! You could save on day care/babysitting, gas, car maintenance, clothing expenses, eating out for lunch, not to mention the stress Mom would be leaving behind.

But remember, the woman in Proverbs 31 did not just sit on the couch all day. No, she was actually a shrewd businesswoman!

Many homeschool moms help supplement Dad's income by either helping out in the family business or starting their own. You would be surprised what you can do and still be a full-time mother and homeschooler! Here are some ideas that might inspire you:

  • Teach music lessons
  • Offer sewing services
  • Babysit (The more the merrier, right?!)
  • Sell stuff on eBay or Craigslist
  • Sign up with a direct selling company you love
  • Have yard/garage sales
  • Open a business that is homeschool oriented (i.e. consigning used textbooks, writing and marketing your own curriculum, tutoring, teaching a co-op claas, etc.)
  • Start a blog!

All of these ideas and so many more have been used by homeschooling mothers to help make ends meet.

Check out Christy Wright's book Business Boutique: A Woman's Guide for Making Money Doing What She Loves and Crystal Paine's book The Money Making Mom for great ideas, encouragement, and advice in entrepreneurship!

Be frugal!

Who says good things have to cost alot? Here are some more practical $$-saving tips:

-Food: Buy generic brands, shop the cheaper places like Save-a-Lot or Aldi, keep an eye out for coupons for items you regularly buy, grow a garden and can/freeze your own veggies, cut down on junk food (it's not just unhealthy; it's pricey!), and of course place limits on eating out.

-Clothing: Shop Goodwill, yard sales, and eBay; learn to sew!

-School Supplies: Buy notebooks, pencils, crayons, etc. when they go on sale at the end of the summer. Swap textbooks with other homeschooling families or buy used ones. Keep an eye out for books, games, flashcards, puzzles, and other learning materials at Goodwill, yard sales, and on eBay. Subscribe to blogs (like mine!) that offer free printables and can keep you updated on sales and special deals on curriculum.

And, of course, USE THE LIBRARY...IT'S FREE!!! (Unless you're like me and have a tendency to accumulate fines like crazy.)

Ultimately my point is this: If you want to homeschool, you can; no matter what your family's income. And the benefits of homeschooling far outweigh any sacrifices!

(This post contains affiliate links. Making purchases through these links helps provide my little homeschool family with a small extra income. Thank you!)

Has your family had to make financial adjustments in order to homeschool? Do you have any other advice for a family who might be overwhelmed at the thought of living on one income in order to homeschool?

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