Strategies to Save Money and Improve Your Financial Health
If you are new to homeschooling or just starting a new home business, learning strategies to save money is extremely important. Often money can be tight and you may be wondering if homeschooling is even possible for you. I know single moms who are homeschooling, so let me assure you, that you can homeschool if you have the desire.
When I started homeschooling, our family income dropped by two-thirds. Now that is a big income cut! I was no longer was teaching full-time and I was just starting a home business. The first thing I looked at was ways to cut expenses and ways to increase my income.
Get the Children Involved
You may be surprised at the ideas kids may come up with to save money and how much they will be willing to participate when you include them in your family goals. Learning strategies to save money is an important life skill too. For example, you put your children in charge of saving money on groceries. They could go through the grocery ads to see what is on sale and make the shopping list. There is a book called Grocery Store Math that teaches math while grocery shopping. They can learn budgeting skills and learn to keep track of expenses and savings on a spreadsheet. The possiblities for learning about money and developing financial literacy are endless and will prepare your children far better than the public schools ever will.
Encourage Your Children to Start their Own Business to Cover their “Extras” as a Strategy to Save Money
If you child wants to take horseback riding lessons, or get a new bicycle, or have those high priced running shoes – let them earn money to cover the extra expense. So if you would normally spend $15 on new shoes, but they want the ones that cost $40, have them pay the extra $25.
There are lots of businesses that children can start or you could involve them in your home business. Most children these days are fairly computer savvy, and could even build a website and start an online business. Running their own business or being a part of a family business is a great life skill and teaches children about money. There are more ideas for kids' business ideas on the
Kids and Money page.
Cut Out the Things You Can Live Without
When you are looking for strategies to save money, you will be amazed at how much you can save just by eliminating things you don't really need and will hardly miss. When homeschooling kids are not as influenced by peer pressure to have the latest fad, as when kids are in public school, so it is easier to cut out the luxuries. When your income picks up, you can always add back the things you miss, but you may find that you'd rather use the extra income more productively. So what are some things to cut to save money?
- cable TV
- borrow instead of buy
- go on local day trips or camping trips instead of expensive vacations
- eat in or pack picnics rather than eat out
- if schedules will allow it, own only one vehicle
- switch to VOIP phone service instead of a regular landline phone, or if you have a mobile phone service use it exclusively instead of a mobile phone and a landline.
Strategies to Save Money on Your Mortgage and Get Rid of Debt
If you have any debt, you want to work at paying them off. It is terrible how much debt costs over time. If you have credit cards with high interest rates, a strategy to save money is to call the bank and let them know that you will transfer your balance to a company with a lower rate if they don't lower your rate. Most banks don't want to lose your business and will lower the rate for you.
I was introduced to an innovative debt reduction & elimination system to cancel debt and be able to either build equity on your house quicker or have your mortgage paid of in as little as 1/3 to 1/2 the time is. This remarkable system can powerfully impact those who are courageously seeking more out of life. With this system, the average person can pay off their mortgage in 8 to 12 years instead of 30 years:
- without changing your budget or current monthly expenses
- without making any extra payments
- without refinacing
Strategies to Save Money on Health Care
When I became a single parent, I needed to find alternative health insurance for me and for my children. As a self-employed business owner I was able to obtain health insurance through NY state and also get health insurance for my children through the NY state healthy child plus program. As it turned out, it actually was a great strategy to save money because my children and I now had dental insurance, which we didn't have on my ex-husband's health insurance.
If I would have know, I would have obtained insurance through the NY state plan sooner. Even if you have insurance, if the NY state insurance provides better coverage or costs less, you may be eligible, so it is definitely worth checking into. If you live in another area, you may want to check into state insurance in your area as a strategy to save money on your health care costs.
Dental Discount Plans and Health Discount Plans to Save Money
Health insurance often doesn't cover all health care costs, so another good strategy to save money can be becoming a member of a dental discount plan and/or health care discount plan. You need to look over the terms carefully though, to see what is covered, how much you are saving, and make sure your health care provider accepts the program.
I recently signed up for membership on Dental Plans and saved well over $2000! I needed a lot of dental work done that I had put off for years because I didn't have dental coverage and didn't want to spend the money. After searching for my dentist on the DentalPlans website and checking with my dentist, I decided that the $144 annual fee was well worth what I would be saving. If you have children needed orthodontic work, this could save a bundle and be a very effective strategy to save money on the dental bill.
Many of the discount plans on DentalPlans also include chiropractic care and vision care, so depending on your health care needs, could save you even more money.
Strategies to Save Money on Groceries
Remember to enlist your children's help on this one and turn it into a homeschooling life lesson
- eliminate processed and convenience foods
- use a good simple cookbook that doesn't call for exotic ingredients and cook from stratch. It doesn't take much longer and counts as home economics if you involve the kids
- shop at discount stores
- look through the sales ads and stock up when on sale
- choose quality generic brands
- get produce at farmers markets
- Grow your own vegetables and can, freeze and/or sell the excess
Strategies to Save Money on Clothes
Often kids outgrow clothes before they have gotten much wear out of them. Unless of coursre they are boys over age 5 who, if they are anything like my son, mysteriously develop holes in the knees of their pants overnight! Here are some strategies to save on clothing.
- Buy at consignment stores
- Buy at end of season clearance sales
- Go upscale neighborhood's garage sales
- Buy on Ebay
- Swap kids hardly used clothes with other homeschooling moms
Ways to Bring in Some Immediate Income
If you have just started a business, it takes time to learn what you need to and get your marketing plan in place. In the meantime, look for ways you can bring in some immediate income as well as strategies to save money. You could sell things you don't use. Have a gargage sell, put items up on Craig's List, sell them on Ebay.
Another idea is to use your talents for short-term income until your business gets going. Some ways to bring income you could do:
- Teach a class
- Web design
- Sell crafts
- Sell baked goods
Turn Home Business Expenses into Profits
When ever you find a great tool for your business, check to see if the company that sells it has an affiliate program. When you recommend it to other people, you now have a great win-win situation. The people you have introduced the tool too is happy because it helps their business, the company who sells the product is happy to get more business and you have now paid for your cost or even created another income stream.
Ann Sieg's Renegade Marketing System explains and utilizes this principle.
Strategies to Save Money on your Taxes
Having a home business is a great tax advantage, in fact many home business tax experts like Ron Meuller and Sandy Bokins will tell you for the tax advantages alone, everyone should have a home business. You really need to educate yourself on what legitimate deductions you can take. Most CPAs are not trained in home business tax laws so will not be aware of legitmate deductions.
I recommend Ron Meuller's book, It's Not How Much You Make, It's How Much You Keep! as a strategy to save money. He explains the regulations on all home business deductions like creating an exclusive home office, how you can legally deduct a portion of your utilities, mileage, etc. You will definitely get some great strategies to save money on your taxes in Ron Mueller's books and tax tools.
Another way to create some immediate income to start a business is to change your spouse's W4 deductions. Because you will have home business deductions, you can increase the number of dependents you are claiming to give you more money in the paychecks because you'll get more than that back at the end of the year. You'll need to make sure you are using the extra money for your business and keeping good records though, so you don't end up owing taxes. Do your research. You can even turn it into a research project or unit study as part of your homeschooling curriculum!
Read and Develop your Children's and your Financial Literacy
Learning strategies to save money and develop good financial literacy are important for all of us. One of the advantages of homeschooling is that you can teach your children these skills. Often times as parents we realize we are lacking in these skills because we were never taught them as children or young adults.
Self-education is really the best form of education. A self-motivated learner will dive into books and resources wanting to know more. Involve the entire family in financial education. Read together, have discussions, search for articles and resources on the internet, play financial games, learn through projects and life experience.
Strong Motivation for Launching Your Home Business
I found that when I first started a home business and homeschooling that even though the strategies to save money that I implemented helped tremendously, theystill weren't enough to replace my income. Although it made things a bit challenging, the positive was that I was highly motivated to succeed in having a home business. Sometimes it can be challenging balancing homeschooling and a home business. If you do not have a strong desire or reason to succeed in your business, it could be easy not to reserve time for your business.
I have seen people with far more talent and skills for business building than I had when I first started a home business, but the things that I did have were a strong desire and the confidence that I could learn whatever I needed to succeed. I have learned over the years that is an extremely important factor. You need to be tenacious and not willing to give up. Funnily enough, I think the same qualities are important for homeschooling parents, so perhaps that is why so many of us have successful home businesses!
Strategies to Save Money on Homeschooling Materials
Debt Reduction & Debt Elimination Strategies