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You can’t determine what your homeschool curriculum budget is going to be until you get a hold of your household budget. This means evaluating your income and all of your expenses. By tracking where your money goes, you can easily determine where you are losing money and where you can cut things out to save more.
How to create a budget that works
Keep an expense journal, keep track of everything that you are spending your money on. That includes your daily cup of coffee or the package of chips you purchased at the store. Little purchases really add up so once you are able to add up all of your expenses it really opens up your eyes as to where you money is going.
Slim down Unnecessary Spending
What are your absolute necessities that cannot be cut from your budget? That would include rent or mortgage, phone, internet, gas, car payments and so on. And then make a list of the other stuff, what can you get rid of? We don’t have cable and we have the cheapest phone plan to date, I have no data on my super old prepaid phone, while my hubby needs more since he’s working away from home. This is where you can start to trim things down. Do you spend too much money on clothes, are you doing the best that you can on your grocery bill? Where can you save more?
Set a Budget
You now know what you can afford, set a monthly budget and stick to it. If you know that you can only spend $100/week on groceries, then stick to it, that means no eating out and having to cook meals from scratch daily. Know your limits and stick to them. Look through sale flyers, find coupons, check out money saving apps. I’ve just started using Checkout 51 to save money on groceries, love them.
Build a Stockpile of Sale Items
Clear out the remains of your freezer and pantry if you have to to save on your groceries, this ensures nothing is wasted or expired. This will also leave room to stock up on sale items. Non perishable items can be easily stockpiled, things that used often can be purchased in bulk like rice, beans, flour or sugar. When you see a sale stock up. When whole grain pasta and their tomato sauce $0.99, we stock up for a good 3 months and wait until another sale to stock up again. If it’s not on sale I don’t buy it.
If you have the freezer space, it’s great if you can stock up on meat and freeze thoses. I like to divide up meal portions ahead of time so that it’s easier to defrost.
We shop second hand for a lot of clothes and furniture, and while you may not get exactly what you want right away, if you keep checking around those thrift stores or online listings, once you do find something, you’ll have purchased it at a bargain price.
We’re a one income family so I have to work harder to get the extra things I want. We shop at one grocery store but we price match sale items from a variety of different stores to ensure we are getting the best prices and then stock up on those sale items.
Is it a need?
Only then can you decide what is your homeschool budget for the upcoming year. This will give you an idea of what you have to work with and what you will have to do without. Is the homeschool curriculum that you’d like an absolute need or can you find an alternative?
Creative budget solutions
You may need to come up with some creative solutions to get those homeschool items you’ve been wishing for. Sell your old curriculum or items from your home. Barter your services to receive music lessons from another parent. My friend felt as though her kids were lacking in the science department so she started a homeschool coop where another parent would come in to teach her kids science with amazing experiments and then she teaches their children cello. Win win for all.
Follow along in my 31 Days to a Better Planned Homeschool series.
You’ll also want to check out the other 26 bloggers in this series to see their amazing homeschool series.