Money Saving Tips for a Homeschool Convention
Smart Ways to Get the Most Bang for Your Bucks!
An exhibit hall for a homeschool mom is much like a candy store for a kid. So many things, such little time — and money. Much like too much candy is bad for our diet, overspending, even on homeschool curriculum, is bad for our financial diet. As much as we are trying to honor God with our homeschool, we have to remember to honor God with our finances, too.
I personally kept a record of everything I purchased homeschool related for our first few years. This helped me (and my hubby) to see where the money was going. It is important to mention that your first few years of homeschooling will sometimes be your most expensive since you will be investing in some curriculum that will hopefully last you a few years. This especially comes into play when your younger kids are able to use the same books in future years. Our math curriculum is the perfect example of this. We don't have to purchase DVDs and the teacher manuals year after year. I only have to purchase student sheets for that particular book. Our spelling curriculum is for 2nd-12th grade. So, it was a one time purchase.
It's super easy to get excited and overspend at a homeschool conference. So, to keep us from doing too much impulse purchasing, here are a few tips to help out:
Before the Conference-
- Course of Study — Make out a course of study for your year — this is a list of all the subjects you will be teaching with notes on what materials you plan to use
- Budget — Make a budget of how much you intend to spend. I usually research the materials, and their prices, I want to get. I make a note on my course of study sheet and bring it with me to the conference.
- Pray! Again, I cannot stress enough how important it is to invite the Lord into not only your homeschool plans but you financial decisions surrounding your homeschooling.
First Day in the Exhibit Hall-
* My main rule of thumb for my first day at the exhibit hall is DON'T BUY ANYTHING not on my list! This helps with impulse purchasing because it allows me time to think through whether or not I really need the item. I only allow myself to purchase pre-determined curriculum that I have priced out. Even then I try to see if I can find the product cheaper at any other vendors or online. You can usually save on shipping and sometimes tax when buying at a conference. So, here are my first day rules:
- Researched Purchases Only! — Buy only the supplies from vendors that you have already decided you will be purchasing from (as mentioned above)
- Notebook! — Make a list of all the things that sound like fun and would be enriching for your homeschool — books, games, etc. Be sure to note which exhibit you’re at (so you can find it again) & the price it’s offered at
- Scan! — I “scan” barcodes on books while I’m at the exhibit to see if I can find better prices elsewhere (I use my Amazon app for this). Sometimes I place the item in “my cart” at Amazon, so I can find it easily that night when I’m looking through what to purchase. Again, I make a note on my list of all the different pricing, so I can easily make purchasing decisions that night.
Evening After Your First Day in the Exhibit Hall–
- Research price differences (if not already scanned) & think about whether I really need the book or item!!
- I research prices at: (keep in mind that many online stores charge shipping and often tax)
- Amazon Prime– I love AP!!! No shipping and usually no or low taxes.
- Christianbook.com – Sometimes there is a free shipping coupon code you can find online
- Rainbow Resources – Pick up a catalog if they are one of the exhibitors. But you can go online to research. Their catalog has great ideas of different subjects and unit study ideas.
- Library!!– Does your library carry the book(s)? If I know I’ll need the book for more than a few weeks, like if it’s a core book for my semester or year, then I invest in it (but you can just keep renewing it and hope no one else puts a hold on it). 🙂
Second Day at the Exhibit Hall-
- Purchase – Buy only the things that you know you can get a good price on and save money!
- Support Vendors – Know that when you do purchase your supplies with the vendors at the exhibit hall, it supports these vendors and ensures that they will come back again another year. So, if they are only a bit more expensive, I go ahead and try to buy with them at the conference.
Attending Lectures & Purchasing CDs-
I love getting CDs of lectures from conferences. This way I can be inspired all throughout the year. I often listen to my CDs on my walks, so buying CDs is good for my health, right?! Plus, it takes the stress out of wanting to attend every lecture, but knowing there is no way to do so.
- Share in the purchase: If I’m going with my hubby or a girlfriend or two, then we usually discuss which lectures we are planning to get as CDs & which we are going to attend. Then we divide up and share in the purchase. Once we are done listening to the CDs we took home, we trade off.
- Divid and Conquer: Attend different lectures than your friends. Sometimes you learn that the lecture wasn’t what you expected from friends. So, that’s one less CD to buy. Or you decide this is a talk you need to hear again or share with others, so you get that CD. 🙂
I hope these money saving tips help you as you Navigate Your Upcoming Homeschool Conference! May God bless you and your time there!!
Don't miss part one of this series on homeschool conventions!!
Breaking News: I am going to be speaking at Teach Them Diligently this year!