Category Archives: Homeschool Frugality

Ways to save money when educating our children at home.

When Done Homeschooling

office supplies
Image by 19melissa68 via Flickr

Many people believe that they need to sell all of the homeschool materials and supplies when they are done homeschooling their children. This can be a time consuming task, though profitable.

I did not have time to concentrate on selling all of our old homeschool stuff. Instead, I:

  1. Repurposed office supplies that I would be able to use for my writing business, such as pens and notebooks.

  2. Repurposed art and craft supplies, as well as some of the books, for my daycare.

  3. Gave educational games to friends and family.

  4. Kept some of the classics for my own reading pleasure.

  5. Sold a few things in a yard sale.

  6. Gave away everything else.

Other Ideas:

  1. Bring everything to the last homeschool meetings you attend to offer to other families who will be able to use them.

  2. Offer items to non homeschool families that you need. They can use supplies, and often reference books.

  3. If items are new or look new, give them to kids as gifts.

Curbside Pick-Up

Here is a topic from one of Amy’s readers, which you can find on page 193 of the Complete Tightwad Gazette.

We have picked up many great items using this system. Each spring, communities have this roadside pick-up thing that they do. This helps us to declutter our homes.

One benefit to doing this early and setting things out on the road is that people in need can acquire some necessary items.

Another benefit is that less stuff goes into a landfill.

Here are some treasures that I have acquired over the years by using this system:

  • A barbecue grill
  • A nice bike for my daughter
  • A bean bag chair for each of my daughters
  • Clothing for all of us
  • Books and school supplies for all of us
  • Stands
  • A dresser
  • Shelves
  • Planters and other gardening needs
  • Kitchen items

Shannon

What to do with Small Pencils

As adults, it becomes hard to use pencils once they have been sharpened too many times. They are too small for our hands to comfortable handle.

Does this mean that we must throw them out? Of course not! We can pass them along to young children. They have smaller hands than us, so they can still use them.

This helps to reduce waste, and teaches children the art of recycling and reuse.

Shannon

Making New Crayons

Be sure that you are saving all of those broken crayons. Take the paper off and reuse them to make new crayons. These make great gifts.

You can use muffin tins, or baking pans with small, decorative sections.

Simply spray each section with nonstick spray, and place the crayon bits in them. Then melt in the oven at a low temperature. Cool. Pop out and wrap up.

Shannon

Homeschooling: Saving Money on Materials and Supplies

I recently published an article on my Single Mom blog called Single Mothers Homeschooling Part 5: Saving Money on Materials and Supplies that you may enjoy. The article is one in a continuously growing series on homeschooling. Even if you are not a single mother, you will find each of the articles useful. To read the other articles, go to the left sidebar and scroll down to click on Moms Homeschooling.

Shannon

Freebies for Homeschoolers

1. http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/brite00eyes/575659/  Win a year of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine- Digital Edition!!!

2. http://www.bookitprogram.com/enrollment/individual_hs.asp  Book-It Program through Pizza hut offers homeschooled children a personal pan pizza free each month for participating.

Hope these are helpful!

Shannon

Wal*Mart Deals

While at Wal*Mart with a friend yesterday, I noticed that they were selling 1 subject notebooks for 5 cents each. I picked up $1.00 worth. I also picked up 4 packets of loose-leaf paper for 50 cents each. These are very much needed for our homeschool year. I also picked up a box of crayons for 22 cents. Cheap prices are great!

My daughter was also able to pick a a messenger (book) bag, and it cost only $10.00 and will hold much more than the last one that she had.

I was able to get much needed socks for $4.00, and toilet paper is definitely cheaper when you buy in bulk. I like Scott. It lasts so much longer than other brands. I don’t have to purchase it every month any more.

Just wanted to pass these frugal tips on to others.

Shannon

Ways I Reuse Every Day Items

 There are many ways in which we can all live more frugally while saving our environment. Greening our homes does not have to cost megabucks up front. We can take our time to learn, which will provide us with money savings down the road. With the money that we save, we can purchase helpful items to help us save more money. We can also use that money for the much needed food and gas.

I am setting aside a few dollars here and there for a few things, like a programmable thermostat, a mop with a reusable cloth and a low-flow shower head.

I still have a long ways to go in my ‘greening’ efforts, but here is what I currently do with:

 

Plastic Shopping Bags:
* Use them in the bathroom trash can.
* Use them to send things home with others.
* Use them when scooping the litter boxes. We have two, and four cats.
* Use them when bagging returnables.
* Use them for toting wet clothes home from the park.
It is my goal to not accept plastic bags for purchases. I am trying to train myself to always bring at least a couple of canvas bags with me when I leave the house.
 
Plastic Baggies:
* I wash these out and reuse them as many times as I can.
* When I used to puppy-sit for my sister, I would use them to put the puppy poop in when scooping the poop.

I am trying to collect (as cheaply as possible, more reusable containers with lids so that know longer have to purchase plastic baggies.

 

3 Ring Binders:

* We use these for homeschooling.

* I used one for recipes.

* I used one for a household binder.

* I also use these for business purposes.

 

Blankets:

* We are currently using our old comforters and such for fluff for our sofa and chair. We desperately need a new set. Without the blankets being stuffed into parts of them (under the cushions) we would sink to the floor every time we sat down. The set looks good, but is not real comfortable without the extra stuffing.

* These are great for picnics.

* They are also great for children to eat there popcorn on during movie night.

 

Envelopes:

* We use these to write shopping lists on. We put coupons inside them.

* We also use them as scrap paper. If you open them all the way, you can use both sides.

* Small children will use them to play post office with.

 

Flower Pots – Small/Medium/Large:

* I get the small ones cheap from yard sales, and keep the ones that seedlings come in. I use these to start seeds in the spring.

* I also pick up large ones anywhere I can. These can be reused year after year as well.

 

Small Jars:

* I am using these in my shed for storage of nuts, bolts, etc.

* I use these for storing craft supplies.

 

Other Jars (Canning/Food):

* I use for storing extra spaghetti sauce and other foods.

* I also use these to store craft supplies.

* I use these to store small toys as well.

 

Milk Jugs – Plastic:

* I have cut out the front top half of a couple of these, and I use them to hold rags.

* I also use one to hold egg shelf that I later crush for the garden.

 

Newspaper:

* I scrunch it all up and use it to fill in packages to be mailed.

* I wrapped plates and other breakables in newspaper when we moved.

* I am using the non-glossy sections in my garden.

* I have used shredded newspaper in the litter boxes.

Scrap Paper:

* I have made notepads to keep near the phone.

* When doing first drafts of school papers, print on the reverse side of used computer paper, photocopies, etc.

* I use it for shopping lists.

* The children do their work out on scrap paper before writing their answers in their workbooks.

* The daycare children will use all they can get their hands on for making pictures, bookmarks and cards.

 

Plastic Food Containers:

* I store leftovers in these in the refrigerator.

* I dispose of grease in these when cooking.

* I also use these to store craft materials.

 

Plastic Utensils:

* Many of these were recently given to us. I have no problem washing them and reusing them for picnics and parties.

 

Shower Curtain:

* I used to cover my table with an old curtain while the children are painting or playing with play-dough to make for easy clean-up. I use a fabric one now.

 

Toothbrushes:

* I boil ours and reuse them for cleaning.

 

Old Dish/Wash Cloths and Towels:

* I cut these up and use them as rags.

* I have a few towels that I am reusing for the daycare children to dry off with at the playground.

Tomorrow is World Environment Day

The UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) offer a list of 80 ways to celebrate World Environment Day. It is a great list, and a great thing to do for our Earth. If you read the growing number of posts in my Goals: Save and Help category, you will see what my family is doing to both help our and environment and save money in the process. A few of those things are listed below. What will you do to celebrate on this day, and every day? I am planning and Environmental Program for my daycare children. Some of the things we already do, and I am coming up with more ideas to use with them. Here is my short piece on the subject:

***

There are things that my family does to help our environment. We have changed out all of our light bulbs, and are getting into the habit of using canvas bags rather than plastic ones when shopping. We are trying to use less water, and turning the television off a lot more.

Whenever we have things that we do not need, we will set them out at the road for free, give them to a charity or to someone we know, or try to sell them. A man in the neighborhood took away all of our old metal stuff after I sat everything out by the road. He and his friend make much needed extra money this way. I am happy to help.

We walk wherever we can. While my daughter is away at the university (for the Upward Bound Program) this summer, she will bike home on the weekends that she comes home.

I am starting an environmental learning program with my daycare children this summer. We walk to our destinations, pick up trash at the parks (and don’t leave any of our own) and playgrounds that we visit, and will be doing other things as well. We will also be working toward greening our picnics. I have already purchased reusable containers for some things.

We homeschool, and try to do things for the environment in this part of our lives as well. We purchase most of our books used, then turn around and sell or give away most of those. We reuse paper and envelopes as scrap paper. Even small pieces. We reuse all of the school supplies that we can, including binders, report covers and folders, as many times as we can.

There are other things that we do as well.

What do you do to help our environment?

Check out the list here:

http://www.unep.org/wed/2008/english/Information_Material/Alphabet.asp

Shannon

Yard Sale and Thrift Shop Finds

Today was a good day for me. I was being my frugal self, and needed to procure some things for my home and the upcoming holiday season. After taking the children up on the bike path to collect samples from the pond to look at under the microscope (which was, by the way, a free field trip), we went to the thrift shop and a couple of yard sales.

I spent $14.55, and this is what I came home with:

Church Thrift Shop

For just $1.00 I purchased

3 pairs of socks for me

1 canvas tote for shopping, so I can use less plastic

1 pair of capris for me

Yard sale # 1

For $3.55 I purchased

I Mexican throw blanket for the livingroom this winter (so I can keep the heat turned down some)

1 book for my daughter

1 book for me

1 pair of socks for me

1 pair of winter gloves for me

2 candy molds

1 Christmas decoration

Yard sale # 2

For $10.50 I purchased

2 (brand new still in package) sets of 4 Christmas plates (to give as holiday gifts)

1 snowman plaque for me

2 sets of light for me

1 other set of lights that are the big snowflakes, also for me

2 sets of holiday nesting boxes, 1 for me and 1 to give as a holiday gift

1 snowman garland for me

 

Not too bad, if I do say so myself. The capris were my best buy. We are clothing shopping for the family this weekend, and I was hoping to be able to afford a couple of pairs of capris for myself after the girls had all of their things. I know now that I will have at least one pair available for me to use this summer.

The holiday gifts were great finds as well. I knocked three families off my list for $6.00. Now all I need to do is bake for them.

I can be a bit of a cheapskate, but I find that this helps me to better be able to afford things that I am unable find at yard sale, clearance, or sale prices. I like to save money wherever I can.

Happy bargain hunting!

Shannon