Hidden Costs of Homeschooling

Posted by on Dec 14, 2015 | 0 comments

Homeschooling is a great opportunity, but there are a few hidden costs. We might not even realize these costs are adding up, but they do … and usually quick. I have found a few common hidden costs of homeschooling and tips to saving those dollars!

hidden costs of homeschooling

#1 Hidden Cost: Printer ink.   I only have two students yet I feel like we print enough papers to wallpaper the house. Especially when we journeyed into lapbooking.

Tip to Save: Print only what you need. This is so simple, yet I was left wondering why I had printed the “about us” page of a Meerkat lapbook and everything else that could have been easily viewed on the computer. As an ebook writer myself, let me tell you: it does not hurt my feelings if you do not print every single page of my ebooks!  Another tip to saving on the printer ink – laminate. Yes a laminating machine can be a chunk up front, but I am no longer printing chore charts every single week! Look into AppleCore if you want a better record keeping system!

#2 Hidden Cost: Library Fines. I am still wondering when the local library plans on renaming a wing in our honor of our late fees. Or at least a plaque near the water fountain.

Tip to Save: Add book due dates to your iphone calendar and set a reminder the day before. I love that my boys want to read in their rooms, but I hate paying full price for books found decades later under a pile of laundry. We now keep a “book basket” in the hallway so we can easily find all the books we checked out and return them on time. I’m working on the Redbox rentals next.
#3 Hidden Cost: Fast Food. Wait, I said we homeschool right? Why aren’t we eating at home?! Wouldn’t you know all those errands we run, play dates, and field trips all happen at lunch time. Guess who doesn’t pack a snack 98% of the time?

Tip to Save: pack a snack! Half the time my boys would rather snack than eat a full lunch, so when we pack a snack and have a later lunch it really helps everyone. Want an ultimate tip for this one? Make lunch at breakfast time. I know I’ve shared that before, 5 Ways to Make Your Homeschool Day Easier, but really if we leave the house or not … it’s done!


Hidden Costs of Homeschooling

#4 Hidden Cost: paying full price for admissions. Field trips are a lot of fun, but can definitely hit your wallet.

Tip to Save: Plan field trips better by calling ahead and asking: do you offer a homeschool discount? Most places offer group rates, plan a bigger field trip and spend less money! If you live in a touristy town be sure to grab the “residents” discount.

#5 Hidden Cost:  art supplies. Now that you can spend the entire day crafting you should stock up on every single color of paint. Wrong!

Tip to Save: Buy less and create more. You might be surprised to know that you really only need 3 colors. Blue, Red, and Yellow. Throw in white if you really “have to” make pink. Pay attention to back-to-school sales, tax free day, and Crayola’s BOGO sale.

#6 Hidden Cost: new curriculum. This one isn’t so much “hidden” but just a fact. Curriculum costs a lot of money. I like the feel and smell of a brand new book, but brand new curriculum can get expensive year after year.

Tip to Save: Borrow! The best thing I did one year was trade off math curriculum with a friend. Since our children were staggered in grades I was able to use what she didn’t want to throw away during the years she wasn’t using it. In return I gave her access to our bookshelves. She saved a bundle not buying the entire Percy Jackson series.

#7 Hidden Cost: utilities. If you are home all day your utilities stay on and run longer.

Tip to Save: Turn it off. I try to avoid playing thermostat war and leave it on one setting all day. An extra sweater or open window can save a few dollars. It’s also amazing how every light in the house finds a way to get turned on and stay on while we work at the school table. {my dad always wondered how that happened too} Be mindful to teach your children to turn off lights when they leave rooms.

Have you found any “hidden costs of homeschooling”? We’d love to hear how you are saving those dollars.

Stef Layton
Stef Layton started homeschooling in 2008. Her heart is set on intentional parenting and building strong family relationships. She is a columnist for Homeschooling Today Magazine.

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