One of the most common fears of a new or prospective homeschooling mom is MONEY.
“We have a one-income family. How can we afford to homeschool? How do I spend less money, but maintain high quality? I don’t want to be broke during the entire span of my children’s educational years.”
Thankfully, there are options.
Given the enormous amount of public funds that are shelled out day after day in traditional school establishments, one would think the task of thrifty shopping is impossible when it comes to brand-new or high-quality homeschool curriculum. Fortunately for penny-pinching homeschoolers, there are many ways to continue offering your children a high-quality education without breaking the bank. My most favorite option for saving bucks is buying in bulk — just like the major big-box retailers – and school districts — do.
It is common practice in the business place to offer product discounts when the wholesaler purchases in high quantity. You understand the concept of Costco, right? The more you buy, the more you save. Storing extra paper towels, napkins, and canned goods is no problem — you know you’ll eventually use them. But, for homeschoolers, it’s not always that simple when it comes to books, DVDs, and pencils. Unfortunately, homeschoolers typically only need one, maybe two copies of any given particular book title, workbook, or paintbrush.
I’ve found some great bargains at bulk purchase warehouses such as nationally known Costco and the Wal-Mart owned, Sam’s Club. Great library additions can be had at substantial savings such as reference items like atlases, maps and globes; classic book titles packaged in 6-packs, and wonderful how-to books like cookbooks, gardening, knitting, sewing, chess, foreign language, and more. A savvy shopper can even unearth an educational resource gem like the Core Knowledge series by E.D. Hirsch, (“What Your Kindergartner Needs To Know, What Your First Grader Needs To Know”, etc.) amongst the Costco book tables. These items can be found at retail bookstores at much higher prices.
Another opportunity to bulk-buy purchase is by teaming up with a few local moms and then approaching the vendor directly with a large quantity order. If a vendor is already open to the idea of bulk purchase discounts to the general public, they will sometimes post the special pricing on their website, as well. Some extra research clicking and digging can save you a bundle in the long run. The down side to this is that there is also extra time, energy, organizational skills, money collections, delivery errands, and more effort involved. If you’re only teaching one kindergartener, this may be right up your alley; but, if you’re like most homeschoolers, you have multiple children, multiple teaching, multiple homework checking, multiple events to taxi the children to, multiple errands to run, multiple housecleaning chores… and the list goes on.
Fortunately, for the overloaded mom, there’s another option available — an online homeschool community organization called The Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op. This organization offers free membership to any bonafide homeschooler, and exists to negotiate bulk pricing on behalf of homeschoolers. They take care of all the heavy-lifting. Moms like you and me, need only visit their website, browse the choices, and pick the “group” purchases that we want to be a part of. There are other homeschool curriculum purchasing cooperatives available, but they only work with traditional school systems. The Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op is the only one I’m aware of that caters specifically to homeschoolers’ needs.
Why pay more, when you don’t have to? Next time you find yourself already at Costco getting the groceries, make a point to swing by the book tables. You’ll surely find something to enhance the learning at home and you’ll certainly NOT pay retail. If you’ve got the free time to organize your own private bulk purchase with some of your local pals, then I suggest you get busy. There’s no reason to keep spending extra dollars unnecessarily. If finding spare time is not an easy task for you, then why spend those precious family minutes on the phone collecting orders and payments from other moms? If there’s an easily accessible, online, program available already doing all the legwork, then pour yourself a cup of tea, grab the computer mouse and click-buy-and-save.
No matter which option you choose, I highly recommend tapping into bulk purchasing power for your Homeschool classroom. The bottom line is this – you have to spend – you might as well spend wisely.