Trying to stretch your homeschool budget? Here are a few quick tips to help you think creatively and save money on next year’s homeschool books.
1. Spend some time researching what books/curriculum you need and prepare a list. It’s hard to catch a bargain if you are not sure what books you want or need. If you are not settled on the specific books, then make a list of the subjects or unit study themes you plan to work on so you can still bargain hunt efficiently.
2. Do you know another homeschooling family with children at different levels than yours? Approach them with the idea of swapping or borrowing books for the year. Doesn’t matter if they live five states away- media mail is still fairly inexpensive. You will have to be clear with your swap or trade partners on when you may need the book returned or how you want to deal with consumable materials. Making sure swapped books are labeled and covered for protection is also a good idea.
3. Used bookstores – take some time to browse the used bookstores in your area or the nearest big city. You may be surprised to find the books you are looking for on their shelves. Be sure to let the store know what you are looking for, they may have ways to source the books you need inexpensively. If the bookstore also buys books, bring your old books in- you may be able to earn enough in cash or store credit to get the books you need with no out-of-pocket funds.
4. Public Library- have you shared your book-list with the children’s librarian at your public library? Librarians are always making book purchases, why not see if the library will add the biographies or reference books or videos you are interested in to their collection? Doesn’t cost to ask, and it could save you money!
5. Private libraries – Ask the avid readers in your church, your relatives and non-homeschooling friends. Do they have any interesting books on planets or the biography of an explorer on their shelves? Share your book-list with friends – you might be pleasantly surprised to find what you are looking for on the shelf of a friend.
6. Check around online for free e-books and websites. You may not need to purchase a specific book at all- you may be able to collect what you need for free online. There are lots of homeschooling-for-free websites that can assist you. It does take a bit of time and organization to collect online resources, but time and organization don’t cost a dime. To save time, make your search terms more specific, rather than general.
7. AHE Swap – Are you a member of the AHE list? Then you can join the AHE Swap and put the word out for the books you are looking to buy. The families on the AHE Swap list may have just what you need. List a few books of your own and earn some extra book money at the same time.
Do you have an additional quick tip on how to acquire school books inexpensively? Please share your ideas in the comments!