A penny saved is a penny earned!As a stay at home mom (SAHM) I have to be thrifty. But I can tell you three years ago before my husband and I became convinced of our bad ways and convicted of our displeasing ways to God, I wan't even thinking that dirty word, budget! I was spending merrily along shopping constantly and buying constantly. While many of the things I bought were discounted from retail or from the secondary market in some way or virtually FREE, I had to access my ways. I had to take a good hard look at myself and my practices and see what our future could entail IF I did not change some of my spending habits in favor of a solid plan with my husband for the future. Today hubby and I are on the right path having NAILED our credit cards with a good ole fashioned pair of scissors putting them into shreds having called and CANCELLED them (be sure you do this!) and refuse to purchase on credit cards EVER again! We are paying the piper too for our ill gotten gains in long term debt repayment or else the bankruptcy court would have been our next destination. Since our convictions of livng as honest and upright as possible, this was not an option we could easily embrace and STILL work to avoid. Having the home unsold in another state despite the move to where God has us serving AND with better economic forecast, it's a challenge to remain on course. But the challenge is here! I am on it! Working my way back to living well as I have been doing thus far by the blessings of God and His help in finding better ways of managing our money. This week alone, I am so thankful to say that in planning our homeschooling curriculum that I saved~I am so excited about this, upwards of $500! How you might ask me? Some wonderful networking and thrift comparrison shopping. To discuss both, let me say that there are several methods of saving money for things needed to do just about anything we need to do. My mother said that God blesses her by putting "just what I need, when I need it at a price that is fantastic so often!" This week we experienced the same! Thank you God!
I was facing more than my budget would allow. God knows what we can afford and what we need, right? Am I to wait or do without entirely? Am I to continue to search, shop, evaluate, look, compare? Sometimes He says NO to my requests, but then like this week, the blessings fall and I am amazed!
Ideas for shopping/obtaining for curriculum:
1. Check out every resource you can think of who carries your desired product. Compare those features and prices with all other pertinent info like time frames and features. Remember the notebook I suggest when going into stores, haul it out for this too. Create a new page: Curriculum. Put the items in a row and put all features in a column so you can compare. THEN go look around.
Look at all the book sellers: Amazon, Christianbook.com, Elijah Company, Rainbow Resources
any and all you can think of to compare. Google the titles so you can find just what you are looking for at a price you are willing to pay.
2. If you would like FREE there are several resources I know of: Yahoo groups has a Free group for homeschooling products with a no chat feature, and there are "distressed homeschool " curriculum sites for those who may be suffering in ways like financial and even loss of a parent. I have seen these and even blogged about them before .
3. Networking by doing homeschool product reviews will also yield products and services for your homeschool. These are often free products for your word of mouth advertising called "viral marketing." I do reviews and was a part of The Old Schoolhouse Crew first year's maiden voyage. This yielded many items we used and will use in the years to come! Also the relationships are invaluable in this area. Sometimes fellow reviewers will "share" resources to give other valuable reviewers opportunities too. I have benefited by all of these resources, and while reviewing is work, it's a great way to get what you want and need. The only down side is when you agree to review a product that you find you don't like (I have had this happen) OR one that your kids hate OR find that it is disruptive to your schooling schedule. For us, entering high school, toning back was a good idea as well as careful choices over what we'd review. I don't review younger children's material as a rule because my children are older, not that I can't have a very good opinion of it and a good description, but the "test drive" is difficult is the age range is off. Just some insight for thought if you consider this for your family.
4. Crate your own resources is another way that I haven't heard of much, but I have done it for years actually. I have done things myself instead of purchasing items that may or may not be what I am looking for~for example: this time, I wanted a good AFFORDABLE writing curriculum with some very specific features. I began writing my own lesson plan based on my own personal knowledge of my children, their learning styles AND some already owned resources. (Anybody out there a curriculum junkie like I ONCE was??) Then I ran across some freebie sites that fleshed in the concepts and ideas that met the goals I was seeking. In my earlier search for a produced product, I even joined a group with loads of things to read from list members about their personal use and questions of that particular product. When I realized this was too expensive and did not meet what I feel we need, I moved on from it and unjoined the group. After looking and creating, although I was in mid-process, I was shown a product that met so much more of what I was looking for in a writing curriculum, so I began researching pricing. Then I found it for 1/2 off which made it extremely affordable that was usable for both myself AND my children for ONE low PRICE! The offer was time sensitive and so after several weeks of emailing questions to the company customer servie, reading their website and then looking all over for a better price, I ordered. I am satisfied I met all the criteria for a great deal for us~You can read about the curriculum choice !
Joining a homeschool buyers co-op has saved me money too. This is how I found the best price on the writing curriculum!
I am feeling pretty "rich" with my curriculum and curtain choices at prices that are incredible.
Since Ben is right, I have gainfully earned a nice chunk of change for my family for items that while essentially we don't NEED curtains (We have shades on all windows, this was for decor.), they add so much to the way we live, we most certainly enjoy and do need for that pleasure! I want to add to that there is value in those curtains again with heating/cooling insulation, but also in educational knowledge. I am going to teach my daughter how to make them! It's a skill for life~one day she might want a bright "burple" color LOL, and hey, she can make her own for that go around!
Ben is RIGHT~A penny saved IS a penny earned! My Lincoln$ are safe!