For many parents, the decision not to homeschool is a financial one. They continue sending their children to school in spite of a number of reasons why they feel that it’s a bad idea simply because they feel they can not afford to do anything else. Homeschooling supplies and curriculum are expensive; and losing one income so a parent can stay home to homeschool simply doesn’t seem feasible. However, there are things that you can do to make homeschooling possible after all—as long as you’re willing to make a few sacrifices.
Eat in more. Eating out can rack up a huge bill in a hurry. For a family of four, it’s not uncommon for dining out to run as much as fifty dollars or more. That same fifty dollars could provide an entire week’s worth of dinners on a tight budget, and certainly two or three nights’ worth even on a more extravagant one. In addition, if you’re at home, you have the ability to prepare those meals from scratch rather than rushing in after work and discovering that no one set meat out to thaw, the fridge is empty anyway, and you have no idea what to have for dinner.
Reduce your cable bill. How often do you really watch TV, anyway? How many of those shows are things that you could live without? Consider using a service like Netflix or Amazon Prime and removing your cable bill entirely.
Gauge your gas. How much gas are you spending just to get to and from work every day? Would you spend the same amount if you were at home, shuttling children here and there, or can you have entire days at a time when you simply stay at home—or at the very least stay in a much smaller geographic area? And while you’re thinking about that….
What work expenses do you have that could be removed? Everything from work clothes to materials that you buy for your job falls into this category. So does daycare. Many parents discover that once they no longer have to pay for those things, their overall income doesn’t really change all that much.
Shop sales. Consignment sales are great places to find clothes and equipment for kids of all ages. Paying attention to sales at your local grocery store, dry goods stores, and even clothing stores can also have a huge benefit to your wallet. Shop seasons ahead—once your kids are out of toddler sizes, they likely grow in relatively predictable patterns, so buying clothing while it’s on sale at the end of the season is manageable—and much cheaper.
How many extras do you really need? That movie night every week…could you have it in with a rental and a bowl of popcorn instead? What about your designer coffees? How many of those things could you reduce or eliminate without really noticing them?
If money is the only thing keeping you from coming home, then it’s likely not as much of a problem as you think—particularly if you’re a two-income family. Take a real, hard look at your budget, and at what expenses you can eliminate. You may surprise yourself!