Homeschooling has been a great adventure for us. We have learned so much just in the short time we have been doing it.
One thing I was surprised about, though, with homeschooling is how expensive it can be. Notice I said “can be.” It doesn’t have to be expensive if you’re looking in the right spots.
New textbooks, clothes, stationery, and other school supplies can claim a large chunk of any family’s budget. It’s easy to spend hundreds or even thousands on these expenses, especially if you’ve got several school-aged children. Cut your school supply bills by following these handy tips.
Stick to a School Supply Shopping List
It’s easy to get dazzled by colorful stationery
products and funky backpacks once you’re in the store. But you can resist the temptation of these items by making a shopping list of school supplies that you really need before you set off. You can find some great lists categorized by grade on Pinterest. Or if your child is in a school grab the class list. Once you’ve created your list, stick to it. If it’s not on the list, it shouldn’t go in your cart.
Shop at Home First
Before you hit the mall, take a look around your home to see which items you already have. You might be surprised what you can find in your closets and craft drawers. Your kids might prefer new stuff, but making use of existing items will teach them about resourcefulness and frugality. It’ll also cut extra clutter around your home. My kids have so many random pencils from birthdays and holidays. I won’t be buying pencils for a long time.
Look for Coupons and Sale Items
Living in the North we really don’t have much of an option other than to shop online. And with the rise of online shopping, it makes sense to skip the bricks-and-mortar stores and shop for your school supplies online. Many of your favorite retailers like Office Depot and Home Depot have online stores, which let you browse their entire range from the comfort of your home. You can also do it without your kids pestering you for items that they don’t really need! Most online retailers regularly have sales, which can save you plenty on the items that you need.
You can also save outside these times by using digital coupons. You can find these on dedicated coupon websites and some Facebook pages. You’ll find coupons offering a percentage off your total shop, discounts on selected items, free shipping, and more.
Buy Stationery in Bulk
You can often find great stationery bargains if you buy in bulk. Pens and notebooks can’t be outgrown like clothes, and they won’t perish like groceries. What you don’t use this year will be as good as new in 12 months. Keep your surplus supplies in your home office, and bring them out as your kids need them. And on that note, as much as I LOVE decluttering, I never declutter stationary. It always gets used eventually.
Shop for School Clothes at Thrift Stores
I’ve been doing this all my life so it’s a no brainer for me: buy what you can second hand. I am certainly not opposed to shopping for brand new clothes but I always look for it second hand first. And although my kids do not necessarily need school clothes for homeschooling, I do make them get dressed into real clothes- not pjs- for schoolwork.
Most children want new clothes throughout the school year. They insist that their friends have already seen everything they own and whine about seeming uncool. However, it can cost a lot to keep up with the trends. Rather than buying new items, hit the thrift store. You’ll find plenty of great pieces that were barely worn before their original owners outgrew them. Look for classic styles that won’t date. There can be a stigma around thrift store shopping, but if you shop solo while the kids are studying, they’ll never know the difference!
With these simple tips, school supply expenses don’t need to put a dent in your family’s finances. What are some of your tips for saving money during the school year? I am still fairly new to homeschooling and all the tips and tricks that can help me save some money!