How to Save Money on Homeschooling 📚💰

Homeschooling can be expensive. When I was a kid, my aunt homeschooled my cousins, and there weren’t many curriculum options out there. Which also meant that families didn’t spend a ton of money. But today, there are literally thousands of homeschool curriculum options, and the money can fly out the window faster than you can count it.

In my post about “10 Ways Homeschooling is Cheaper than Public School“, I mention that it’s not necessary to spend money on curriculum. There are TONS of ways to get free curriculum, and even more ways to cut costs on the things you do decide to purchase. Today, I want to share with you some of my favorite tips for saving $$ on homeschooling!

Getting things for FREE:

1. Use the internet.

I can say with certainty that I spent more money in my first few years of homeschooling for one reason: confidence. I didn’t trust in my ability to school my children well on my own, so I thought I needed fancy schoolbooks to help me! Now, I save a ton of money because I have come to the conclusion that I don’t need a science book to teach science. 

Using science as an example, what I do is decide on our course of study for the year. There are many, many sciences out there, and in the past years we have done geology/earth science, plants, weather, animals, astronomy, and the human body. Once I decide our course of study, I search google and/or Pinterest for free resources. I love to create a Pinterest board for that course to keep things organized. Then I pin worksheets, visual aids, youtube videos, etc. You can easily create an entire free well-rounded year of science this way.

For geography this year, we are doing an around-the-world look at various countries & cultures. I am doing this almost entirely through library books & youtube. What I do is find a short video on YouTube about the country we are studying. I also check the free New Dimensions videos on Amazon Prime to see if there are any about the country. After the kids watch the videos, we look at library books and discuss the economy, geography, culture, and major attractions.

Here are a few places to look for homeschool resources:

  • Easy Peasy All-in-one-Homeschool
  • The FREE list from Only Passionate Curiosity
  • Free curriculum from Homeschool.com
  • FreeHomeschoolDeals.com
  • Pinterest – millions of choices for awesome unit studies, free printables, and more!
  • Google – do a search for anything you want to study along with “free printable” or “worksheet”, and you’ll find what you needed in seconds.
  • YouTube – millions of videos to show you how things are made, teach you about history, take you on virtual tours of places… YouTube videos cover virtually every subject known to man!
  • Follow blogs and Facebook groups that post homeschool freebies, and SAVE THEM so you can find them later.

There are many, many others: this is just a small sampling!

2. Use the library.

The library is a vastly underutilized resource in most communities. Besides the thousands of books they have on the shelf, most libraries have additional resources:

  • Inter-library loan systems, where you can get books from other libraries in the state/region.
  • Ebook checkout, where you can instantly get books & audiobooks.
  • The hold system, where you can get on the waitlist for hot items.
  • Language learning software & apps.
  • Educational programs & classes.
  • Additional educational resources that you can sometimes check out.
  • More than just books — get DVDs, CDs, audiobooks, magazines, & more that go along with your studies!
  • My local library even has a Parent-Teacher section, which has hundreds of homeschool books available to check out.
3. Borrow from friends.

Many of  us hold on to curriculum that we aren’t currently using — because we are saving it for a younger child, or we think we might need it again someday for another reason. Start or join a local homeschool group, and simply ask the group “Hey, does anybody have Story of the World Volume 2 that I can borrow for next school year?” Somebody probably does!

4. Use the world as your classroom.

You know what else is free? Outside.

Instead of studying plants in a textbook, go to a park. Go to a pet store to learn about different kinds of fish. Study rocks down by the river. Learn about marketing at the mall. {Get a free marketing scavenger hunt for your next mall trip here.} Visit the county courthouse and talk about what the various offices do — and while you’re there, peek in the courtroom and show them where the jury sits and what they do. You can learn about nature, the economy, engineering, geography, history — and so much more — just by going outside your doors.

5. Ask the expert.

Most people love to talk about their trade, and would gladly do it for free. Ask your mechanic if he wouldn’t mind if your 10-year-old son watched him change the oil. Ask your IT friend if he can tell your kids more about what he does over dinner. If your sister-in-law is a photographer, ask her to show your kids some stuff about DSLRs. There is no education better than learning by doing.

Getting things cheaper:

1. Don’t overbuy.

Most homeschoolers end up with more curriculum than they need or will use. I recommend getting the bare minimum, and adding to it with the free supplementary materials I referenced above.

2. Buy used.

There are hundreds of places online to buy & sell used homeschool curriculum. I think it’s also great to buy/trade with local homeschooling families. Do a simple google search and you’ll find lots of marketplaces, as well as online Facebook buy/sell groups for curriculum. Do watch the shipping costs though! They can add up if you aren’t careful.

3. Consider ebooks.

Amazon has tons of homeschool books free & cheap available in Kindle book format. This isn’t great for books you want to write in (actually, I’m experimenting with a pdf viewer/ worksheet completer program using a stylus and my iPad, but that’s still a work in progress). However, there are many, many books that you will want to use just as a reference — or one that the teacher (you) will read aloud to the kids. Get the Kindle version and save money, time, clutter, AND it’s better for the environment!

4. Go straight to the publisher.

If you’ve seen my yearly curriculum roundups, you know that I’m a HUGE Evan-Moor fan. I discovered a few years in that I can buy their workbooks for $20 each from Amazon… OR I can buy them directly from the publisher, and I’ll have the option to buy just the student pages. It’s a much smaller book, with no teacher pages or answers, but it’s only $7 instead of $20! I also got a $5 off coupon for signing up for e-newsletters, so that $20 book became $2!

Many times purchasing directly from  a publisher can net you other benefits as well, like financial aid (if you need it), military/clergy discounts, and more. You just need to call and ask!

5. Copy your books.

If you have a workbook that you plan to use for multiple children, then make a pdf copy of the book and save it to your computer to print later for subsequent students. If you have ALL of them use the copied pages, then you’ll have a brand-new book to sell while you’re at it! Most school books have copyright restrictions that do allow parents to copy pages for use in their own household.

6. Invest in an efficient printer.

With all this copying and printing, you’re going to want a good printer.

My first printer was an HP, and it sucked ink like a leech. I did a lot of research and eventually settled on a nice Canon all-in-one printer/scanner/copier. It cost under $80, and it is super ink-efficient. It has 5 separate ink wells — 2 black, and 1 each of red, yellow, and blue — so I don’t need to replace a cartridge before I am totally out. It also lets me keep printing and printing until the cartridge is completely empty (my old HP would say “time to change your cartridge” and then refuse to work any more, even though I could SEE that there was still 1/5th of a tank in there).

I changed my default settings to use very little ink, and when printing from a website I use printwhatyoulike.com to remove unwanted sections. I buy replacement cartridges from discount sites like 123inkjet, at a fraction of the cost of buying from the manufacturer.

7. Use sheet protectors, binders, & dry-erase crayons.

For some school books — especially for the younger crowd — I like to put them in binders with sheet protectors instead of scanning/copying. Yes, it costs a little more to do this if you don’t already have the supplies (I did). It works great for pre-k and kindergarten workbooks, or anything super colorful that you want to keep the color but don’t want to keep printing in color.

Using sheet protectors to prolong books ~ #TipTuesday @Our Cozy Den!

8. Resell!

Lastly, when you’re done with all of the curriculum that you DID buy, resell it to another family. You get a little of your money back, and they get to save money over buying new. Win-win!


*I also wanted to add that if money is really super tight for your family and you need curriculum, HSLDA offers some scholarships and financial assistance. Go here to check out those options.


And since we’re on the topic, CLICK HERE to see more posts about homeschooling, including a free Magic School Bus Curriculum, free 50 States curriculum, and other freebies!

I’d love to hear in what ways your family saves money on homeschooling!

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