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Where does your homeschool money come from?


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After looking at various homeschool curriculums from super expensive to inexpensive or free it got me to wondering where other moms get their homeschool budget. Do you work to pay for materials? Set aside so much money a month so you have it when you need it? Just buy it and not worry? Belong to a charter that pays for it?

Where does your homeschool money come from?

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We set a budget each year.  In December I anticipate what I'll need for the next school year and we write that into the budget (which I guess is technically monthly, but in essence we pull money from saving to buy before the school year begins and "pay back" in the fall.

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I kind of have monthly things after bills each month. We have so much spending money a month, some months more than others as my dh makes bonuses. Some months are better than others. So after bills, I put savings away each month that is set aside for certain things. 

Other things I know I have to spend by the calendar like: dance recital costumes and fees are due in March, so I start putting extra away in February and March to pay those. I know in March we have to pay both of our yearly car tags and Amazon Prime renewal. Then in April every year I set aside any bonuses or extra money for homeschool convention spending and for the Just Between Friends Sale I shop at. In May and June I am paying for summer camps. I updated my SchoolHouse Teachers subscription in May. In August/Sept. it is time for setting aside money for back to school stuffs, fall clothes, any co-op expenses. Then in October/November, it is Christmas shopping time.  I knod of just mark things on the calendar for the year, setting aside money for each month for these things that I know are coming up. They are like regular bills, just for different things each month. 

So things are kind of cyclical. And yes, sometimes I work for some of those moneys. I sell at the Just Between Friends Consignment sale twice a year. I buy as much as I can for my preschooler there: clothes, shoes, sports equipment, books, toys, decorating stuff, whatever I can. I try to make more then I spend each time. My dh sometimes drives Uber to help make money for some of these expenditures, especially if his bonus at work isn't going to cut it or if things are higher than we usually expect.  I also babysit whenever possible. I am usually able to keep my babysitting money or small jobs money to do things to the house, like update furniture or things we don't have budget for often. But sometimes I need to use it for kid stuff. This year I have a job for a week in June that will pay for my kids' church camp.

We usually get a decent tax refund. I usually budget that for needed things too. This year I set aside a big chunk for my dd's braces, another chunk for Christmas gifts so that I don't have to do so much out of my monthly money in the fall, one chunk for house repairs and emergencies.

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I create a master list of supplies & price for the next year, along with which store to buy them at.  That money is set aside during the spring/summer as part of our budget.  Then I work my butt off to try to find the same material used or similar for free, so I usually only spend about half of what I projected.

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I teach piano lessons two afternoons a week. I have 13 paying students and another that I barter for lessons. Her mom teaches my DD art lessons in exchange for piano lessons. I use what I make for gifts, clothes, school supplies, date night, etc. Sometimes it’s not quite enough but my DH works some overtime too so we have that “extra” as well. I try to keep costs down by choosing less expensive curricula, reusing what I have, using the library, and looking for used materials. I prioritize and buy the most important things first, then, if money gets tight, I skip things and find ways to make do without them. 

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I used to tutor once a week.

Now I plan fairly far ahead and buy things as I find them used or on sale. I have everything for the rest of 2018; I think I need to buy just one thing for next spring and one for next summer; and I just bought something for the following fall while it was on sale.

I also consign/sell non-consumable books when we're done with them. I prefer to do it locally to avoid the cost of shipping.

If I expect to need a book for a month or less, I see if the library has it.

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I just buy it. When I took my kids out of private school we saved so much money that I justified spending what I need to because I'm already saving us a ton by homeschooling in the first place. That said, I do worry about how much I'm spending just because it is in my nature to worry. BJU Press (Science) has been my big splurge. I mostly us CLE which is inexpensive. We are getting ready to outsource for a few subjects, so that will increase the amount we spend. In general, though, I don't worry too much about it. 

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Even if DD were in public school, our costs would be largely the same.   She'd still be in Dance and Soccer and Cheerleading, and I'd still have my book buying habit, even if I mentally file those under 'homeschool'.   DD's clothing would likely be more expensive in public school, lunch would be more expensive, and school supplies would be more expensive (have you guys seen those lists?).  So, if I buy SOTW, FLL, WWE, BA, Singapore, AAS and Getty-Dubay, I figure Meh, we're probably still ahead.  The main expense is that one parent has to actually be around and likely not working.  

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School is a line item in our budget.  It has been since DD9 started kindergarten.  Even public school isn’t “free.”   There are always field trip costs and book fees, and specific supplies to send in etc etc etc.  So a school line item in the budget made as much sense when they were in school as it does being homeschooled. 

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Mostly from our charter school stipend, some stuff I just pay for as it comes up. I don't really budget or plan ahead too much but I do occasionally justify to myself that it's less than randomly nonsense things we might have bought, like video games and fast food.

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We have an automatic deposit monthly from our main account to our school account. That's all we used until this year when we joined a local program (We work with a company that works with schools with e-programs. So in the end it is public school funds we get.) We get the funding through reimbursements. I purchase from the school account then submit for reimbursements and then use that same money to get more things and submit again... We actually stopped putting main fund money towards school through the school year since I was able to keep 'recycling' the same money. But that didn't work anymore when I needed to buy a bunch in bulk for next year all at once to hit memorial day sales and a few renewal deals, so we restarted sending funds from the main account until reimbursements start up again in September. 

With or without the public funding we would need to do it this way using a separate account. It is for the best on both ends, keeping me accountable to a budget as well as making sure the money is there for anything I feel we need. 

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I just buy what I need when I need it, but I do try to be responsible with the funds.  I figure on about $600 a year.  If I felt I needed something that would put us way over that, DH and I would talk about it.  We don’t keep a designated home school fund or car fund or college fund or anything else fund.  We just keep savings accounts.  We may use them for the next car purchase or we may use them for a new roof or whatever big ticket item that can’t be covered by regular income.  Dh gets a large bonus in some years so the savings goes way up.  Other years he might get no bonus.

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We don’t have a specific $$ earmarked for school, but I only spend money on what we need (usually, sometimes I have been mistaken).  It is just part of the household accounts (DH is some bread winner).

We used a charter that offered $$ until selections grew smaller and strings attached increased too much. That’s been 5 years ago.

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It used to be a line item in our budget, but realistically in the last couple years we homeschooled we were blessed to be more in a "just buy it and don't worry about it" phase of life. Now that the boys are coming out of private school, it will be so much cheaper than tuition that again I'm not really worried about it. I also have quite a few materials from various sales, other homeschoolers, etc. so we need less for next year anyway.

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Overall, we are not big spenders.  We splurge a bit from time to time, but generally, we just don't buy things. You know how it is.  We just tend to keep our money whenever we can.  I have friends who are like me, and I have friends who are not like me at all--who spend quite a bit on things.  It's ok, it's their money.  But, when it's time to buy stuff for school, I don't really worry too much about it.  I don't save for school specifically, but since we generally don't spend, the money is there.

I try to keep online classes to 3 per year and only at the high school level, and $550 is about all I can stomach per class and I've managed to always find classes under that figure.  (Chemistry was only $240 last year.  Woot!)

I could budget specifically for it, but in a way I already do, by being cheap all year long and not buying things.  About a decade ago, I tried to get my DH to create a budget with buckets for different things, but that caused him a lot of stress.  I don't really understand why.  As long as we save money without assigning it to buckets, he's fine.  But the minute we say, "The money that's sitting in the bank is part of the school budget and the Christmas budget" he gets antsy.  Sooo...all our money sits there in one big bucket until it's time to spend it on something.

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I buy things as we go along and just watch what I'm spending.   I don't usually buy things that are really expensive and since I'm generally not buying everything at the same time, it doesn't really effect our budget.   We school year round and just move to a new level when we finish the previous.

I do bring in some income but it usually just goes into our general account.  

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Monthly budget. We do now belong to a homeschool charter school, but they only pay for certain things, and only a small amount of what we actually spend, so the monthly budget is still quite important.

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We get our curriculum free from our charter school and we budget for online classes and extracurriculars. Even though we spend a lot on online classes, we are still saving tens of thousands of dollars compared to private school.

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I used to babysit/preschool/teach violin lessons to a friend’s kids several days per week.  Now we’re signed up with a charter school that gives us money for all our school things and extracurriculars.

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15 hours ago, Carolinagirl1 said:

I just buy it. When I took my kids out of private school we saved so much money that I justified spending what I need to because I'm already saving us a ton by homeschooling in the first place. That said, I do worry about how much I'm spending just because it is in my nature to worry. BJU Press (Science) has been my big splurge. I mostly us CLE which is inexpensive. We are getting ready to outsource for a few subjects, so that will increase the amount we spend. In general, though, I don't worry too much about it. 

This is pretty much us. Our umbrella school does give us funds for curriculum but I tend to use that money for enrichment classes. We were paying so much more when they were in private school that I feel somewhat justified in buying the curriculum I want as they are getting a better education more cost effectively. With that said though, I tend to know my general plan for the following year by mid year so I start looking for it at a reduced price either new or used. 

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We use YNAB and have a budget for homeschooling, but honestly, I've mostly just bought what we've needed when we've needed it and it has worked out. We aren't the cheapest homeschoolers, but we aren't using outside classes or super expensive resources for the most part, so it hasn't been too bad so far. My guess is that in a few years when we start outsourcing more, this is going to become a bigger issue. DH and I see homeschooling money as a necessity, just like groceries or gas. It is just part of life and we make it work. Part of that works out because I am the type to research in depth and be very honest with myself about curricula. And I'm not drawn towards super expensive curricula much. ?

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We set a different budget every year and then I buy it. Around March, when our homeschool convention comes to the area, I have an idea of what I want to buy for each child, and then I tell my DH how much I need. 

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I am one of those who outsource for high school so that is pricey and my elementary dd does MP core. So school isn’t cheap. We usually get a sizable tax refund that comes in around the time we can register for classes with early bird discounts and get free shipping from MP.  My dh has a teaching gig that pays extra in the summer so that is a time to catch up and order any books we still need. Honestly, having college kids has been cheaper than homeschooling so far. It wouldn’t have to be- that is just how our family has chosen to do high school and college

I cringe when people ask about our homeschool choices because of how expensive they are. But we all make our choices. We don’t have big birthday parties or gifts. We eat out very rarely and only take a vacation every 3 years or so. So our homeschool money comes at the expense of some of the fun experiences those around us enjoy. We are comfortable with our choices though.

 

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I am much less structured than a lot of you.  When we have money I spend more on curriculum and when we don't we use hand me downs and freebies.  My only non negotiable splurge is Singapore math which is exxy to get in Australia but the text and HIG go through all three kids.  I'm lucky enough to have a lot of handed on stuff.  

DH tends to have a lot of extra at times due to overtime work and at other times things are tighter.  

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My kid is 5. I have bought somethings when we have the money for it. Like Horizon Math K minus the TM. I downloaded Rays Arithmetic for free, it's done orally in the first book. From Walmart I picked up addition and subtraction flashcards for less then $5.00. I also got a wipe and clean numbers book so she can practice writing #s.That takes care of math.

I downloaded Blend Phonics for free from Don Potter's website.  Great resources there. I also have downloaded somethings from ElizabethB site, also a great resource. I borrow Phonics Pathways from the library. In fact I get a lot of our things from the library like McGuffey Primer, phonics readers, read alouds, audiobooks, history and science books too.

She knows how to print but wants to learn cursive. I will purchase it when I have cash for it.

We also find things for cheap at yard sales and books sale at libraries too.

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We also buy as we go along (for the most part).  However, apart from future need for microscope, chemistry equipment, physics equipment, robotics/computer parts, etc., I'm growing more concerned about extracurricular activities.

So homeschool educational materials are cheaper for us than sports and fine arts.

Granted, private school is costlier, but I prefer to save money if at all possible just in case something arises. 

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We set aside a certain amount each month. We do this for lots of expenses, not just homeschool. I like to have money throughout the year so that I can keep an eye on Facebook sales and get things used when I can. We do sometimes supplement the usual budget with our tax return. We also have a huge local trade show twice a year and we are looking at renting out our home for that. That money will help us pay for field trips and extracurriculars.

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We've always bought what we (I) felt we needed and made it work. But this doesn't translate into an unlimited budget, of course. Big ticket items like online classes were discussed ahead of time. But most thing I just purchase.

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I plan out what I would like to do for the year and then figure out the cost.  Sometimes I need to cut things and make it work within our budget.  All of our income is from DH's job, so I need to work within that limit.  We don't do a lot of outsourcing.  The only thing so far was art school one day a week for DD for a couple years.  I am strongly considering outsourcing my middle kids science next year, but the cost is making me hesitate.

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6 hours ago, greenfields said:

We also buy as we go along (for the most part).  However, apart from future need for microscope, chemistry equipment, physics equipment, robotics/computer parts, etc., I'm growing more concerned about extracurricular activities:

  • Piano - almost $2000/year
  • Various non-competitive athletic activities - almost $2000/year
  • Martial arts - almost $2000/year
  • Other non-academic activities - $500 to $1000/year

 

So homeschool educational materials are cheaper for us than sports and fine arts.  In fact, I found myself not relying much on paid workbooks.  I often improvised - just winging it as days went by.  I do find word roots workbooks fairly useful, but those materials are still far cheaper than extracurricular activities.

Granted, private school is costlier, but I prefer to save money if at all possible just in case something arises. 

Yep extra curricular are a killer.  Martial arts is exxy.  We ended up giving up music lessons because I wasn't willing to pay when the kids weren't practising.

although we might do some after school stuff if the kids were in school it wouldn't be as much as we do now.

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On 6/1/2018 at 1:21 PM, seemesew said:

After looking at various homeschool curriculums from super expensive to inexpensive or free it got me to wondering where other moms get their homeschool budget. Do you work to pay for materials? Set aside so much money a month so you have it when you need it? Just buy it and not worry? Belong to a charter that pays for it?

Where does your homeschool money come from?



I buy as needed. I generally buy used if it is something new to me and often even if it isn't.  We've been doing this for so long, I just know I'll have homeschooling expenses throughout the year and have for a long time. I used to make a big purchase each fall (or tax return time) but now we own a LOT so I just purchase things as I have a need.

Our CC classes are paid for by our homeschool program district.  DS had a class last year that wasn't covered - we paid for that.  Our outsourced classes are sponsored (teachers are paid) by the district. 

I'll be honest in that I have had years where I have spent very, very little and years where I've spent a LOT (Tapestry comes to mind with IEW writing when it was fairly new) and I think I've hit a happy balance now.  But, I'm back to pretty much everything I originally started with - almost entirely TWTM recommendations.  I'm very happy where I am and I'm using Rod & Staff and Saxon again - both non-consumable.

 

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I use the Black Friday sales and plan ahead for the next year. It is cheaper than school costs by a lot anyway where we are, but I still am careful. My husband's employer would have contributed part of the cost for brick-and-mortar school, but not a penny to homeschooling. We still come out ahead. We've always been big book buyers so the book costs didn't bother me. I give our used materials to our homeschool co-op group.

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Homeschool money comes from hard work.

We budget the amount we need for the year and plan some of our income for it. My husband works full-time and I teach in co-op. I plan ahead on what curriculum I need and I look for sales.

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The extra-curricular activities are by far the most expensive, and we'd do these whether we homeschooled or not. We can get more affordable and conveniently timed activities during the day, so homeschooling has been a big benefit. It's worth homeschooling simply to avoid having to put my sporty kids into certain sport leagues in the area - I'm thinking mostly of hockey. ? Having a daytime homeschool hockey program has been amazing! 

Activities unique to homeschooling haven't been that expensive. We don't do pricey on-line courses, rather find alternatives that are much cheaper. We share curriculum and expertise with other homeschool families. We are so blessed with an active and generous homeschool community in our area! 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

We're in Alberta, Canada and the provincial government gives each homeschooling child about $850/year for homeschool expenses. It comes with a few strings attached, as we have to be supervised by a homeschool facilitator, but overall, we do have a lot of freedom to do as we wish. Some Canadian provinces don't fund homeschoolers at all, but I guess I can count my blessings that we get some money.

My daughter is going to a public-ish school next year -- not fully funded, so we have some fees. Most public schools around here are not places I want to send my child, so this one with the extra fees is it. It is going to cost us over $5000, with uniforms, school supplies and other school fees. I want to cry! Homeschool is so much cheaper!

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For most of the time we had 2 kids homeschooling, we were on one modest income.  I had a few clients here and there but it wasn’t a lot of money.   We received $200/kid/year from the homeschool resource center (a public school enrichment program for homschoolers) and the rest usually came from our tax return because we qualified for the EITC.  I would also buy used curriculum with PayPal funds from selling curriculum we were done with.  

Now we have only one homeschooler and I am working a lot more.  We haven’t bought curriculum recently, have not needed to.  I will be buying 4th grade Oak Meadow over the summer sometime.  

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It's a combination of things here.  For the most part, it boils down to "just buy it," but I make lists for price comparisons, wait for certain sales and used deals, and try to sell of some of our old stuff. Dh usually gets a commission check mid-year, and I make sure to buy the big ticket items like lab kits then, but I often spread the smaller stuff throughout the year.  Toner and paper is a regular household expense!

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