Thursday, March 4, 2010

10 Ways to Pay For Your Homeschooling

1. Quit your job! That’s right. If you are a two-parent family and you both work outside the home, one of you needs to quit your job. Just think of the savings. No more need to maintain a second vehicle, no work wardrobe, lunches, gifts for fellow employees, travel expenses, day care, housekeeper and so forth. Go home, get to know your children and heal your splintered family. If you’re a single parent family this may not be so easy but it can be done. Assuming a truly single parent has lost a spouse the divorced single parent usually has some sort of financial child support. If this is the case you’re still operating as a two-parent family and this suggestion still applies.

2. Create a home-based business. Now that you’ve quit your outside job you can work from home. Get your children involved and give them responsibilities. Little ones can empty the trash can or dust the office. Older children can learn computer and marketing skills. This is a great way for them to learn economics, math, business law, bookkeeping, accounting and more. You’ll be amazed how many tax deductions are available for a business owner.

3. Sell on eBay. If you sell on eBay you will never be unemployed. Like most families you probably have lots of items around the house that no longer have any use or value to you. Set up an eBay seller account and start listing. You’ll need a scale and a measure tape. A camera isn’t necessary if you’re listing books with ISBN numbers because eBay will usually supply a stock photo. A digital camera is handy for providing photos of your other items though. The post office will supply free shipping materials if you use the Priority Mail service. However, there are lots of sources for free used boxes for shipping. You may need to buy a ready supply of clear packing tape and printer paper. Learning eBay is easy because it’s mostly multiple choice, it’s safe and the business systems are already in place.

4. Join BigCrumbs. This is a website that offers cash back rewards for purchases at over 500 online retailers and eBay. It is 100% free to join. Once you set up your eBay seller account you can add a link on your Me page to your BigCrumbs as a service to your buyers, encouraging them to save money on their purchases and get cash back. You'll also get cash back from their shopping when they sign up as your referral. Remember all that stuff you want to set up your home-based business with? You can purchase much of it online through your BigCrumbs account and get cash back when you do.

5. Create a blog and monetize it. There are many free blogs websites online but I recommend Blogger.com because it’s free, easy to use and has lots of great features to spruce up your blog. Once you set up your blog you can monetize it. This means you can add products, ads and even donation buttons to make money. Just remember you’ll need good content to drive traffic to your blog and if you do, it can be quite profitable. It’s also a great way to document your homeschool because a blog is like a public journal. That digital camera you acquired for eBay will be handy for adding photos to your blog.

6. Do odd jobs and get paid. There are many folks in your neighborhood whom could use an extra hand at leaf raking, snow shoveling, dog washing, garden weeding, grocery shopping, goat milking, housekeeping, garage cleaning, and more. Make business cards and flyers to hand out to family and friends to advertise. There are many websites that offer free business cards if you pay the shipping. I use VistaPrint.com and order my cards through BigCrumbs. I get the cards for free, pay the shipping and get cash back on the shipping fee.

7. Create a product. Take photos and sell them. Write a booklet or e-book and sell it online. Make a craft item and sell it on eBay or Etsy.com. If you upload your photos or drawings to a print-on-demand website like Cafepress.com you can have your designs printed on T-shirts, mugs, calendars, note cards and much more for free. When the item sells you get a commission.

8. Buy and sell junk. Indoor and outdoor flea markets are a great place to sell your cast-offs. If weather allows you can always have your own tag/garage sale. Go to tag sales later in the day when the sellers are ready to give their items away cheap or have made free piles. Auctions are a great place to get a van load of goodies for very little cash. Just remember to leave room in your van for the kids when you shop at an auction. We sometimes returned from the dump with more than we took because the pickings were good that day. Take your new-found treasures and sell them on eBay.

9. Team up with other homeschoolers. Buy in bulk, barter, trade, borrow and share. This could be everything from books to your precious time. Take turns driving to lessons or child sitting. Swap books and homeschooling supplies. As our children grew we had many computer CD’s we passed along to younger or new homeschoolers. Last time I checked the public library was still free. If you have a library card and a computer you have the world at your fingertips. Once grandparents and family members realize you’re serious about this homeschool thing they tend to get into the spirit by giving more support and educational gifts on those special occasions like birthdays and holidays.

10. Create a budget and follow it. This is very important. Learn where your money goes and it will be easier to manage it and make it last. Prioritize! Distinguish between want and need. Once you do this you’ll be amazed at how much found money you have for those little extras. The Rich Dad Poor Dad series by Robert Kiyosaki has some great books on personal finance and understanding money. Kiyosaki also has a fun website for children where they can learn about money. If you can’t afford to buy these books you can always borrow from your local library or a friend.

Learn to buy and sell junk...one man's trash is another man's treasure

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