Often when I tell other parents we home educate they say they would love to but couldn’t because of money. They say they wouldn’t be able to afford to give up their 9-5 job, even though they truly believe their child would be better off home educated. I am here to tell you that it is doable and to share with you what we have done as a family to make it possible in my two part series, How to give up work and home educate. The second part of the series gives you Top 5 Money Making Tips when Home Schooling.
We are a two parent family with two children, Rayne age 7 and Rose age 4 so my experience is based on our family dynamic. Hopefully some of the things I share with you will apply to your family dynamic too.
To set the scene I start with our back story. Before children my husband (Sy) and I both had full time, well paid jobs. We bought our dream family home then got married and started a family. Home education was not something we considered and we sent Rayne to our local nursery school at the age of 3. Things seemed fine and Rayne was classed as above average with her learning however at the age of 5, not long after Rayne started year 1 her confidence and self esteem diminished before our eyes. She developed tummy aches in the mornings and refused to go to school, doing everything in her power to get us to listen to her. Initially I would tell her she had to go to school as I had to go to work. It was heartbreaking to see my baby so upset but I felt like I had no choice. I never thought it would be possible to give up my job to stay at home full time without at least having to sell our family home, Sy and I both knew the education system was not right for our daughter but felt trapped.
We finally realised that our daughter’s mental health and well-being was a priority and were willing to make huge sacrifices and lifestyle changes in order to make it work. A year and a half later, we are home educating both children, I no longer get a regular income however I still work just as hard, if not harder! It has all been worth it especially as we see our little girl grow in confidence and self esteem each and every day.
Firstly I thought about all the ways I could save money and put the wheels in motion. With more time at home I was able to be creative with my ideas and experiment a bit. Not only does this save us money, it also shows our daughters that there is more than one way to do things and I also get to do things I didn’t previously have time for such as learn how to use a sewing machine!
Top 10 Money Saving Tips…
Money saving idea # 1
Strip back to natural!
This first idea coincided with helping Rayne and Rose understand that natural is beautiful. My daughter’s are of mixed ethnic origin with beautiful curly brown hair. At such a young age they were already saying they wanted blonde straight hair like mine (I had been highlighting my hair blonde for 16 years). I decided to stop! Not only would it show Rayne and Rose my natural hair colour, it would save me a heap of money each month.
I didn’t want the blonde to grow out naturally as I didn’t like the roots coming through so I got my hair died a couple of shades darker than my natural colour. I did this once then let the colour fade. Over a year later my hair looks like it has a balayage style with the blonde showing through at the bottom. I have literally saved hundreds of pounds and my hair is in a much better condition. Also, Rayne and Rose no longer talk about wanting blonde hair like mine!
Money saving idea # 2
Learn to love the clothes you have, get creative, shop in charity shops and ask friends for hand me downs
OK, so this is more like four ideas in one but they all relate to clothing for both myself, Rayne and Rose!!
Believe it or not, I have not bought clothes for myself in over a year! Rather than buy clothes I am more creative with my wardrobe! Luckily it is fashionable to clash these days so I started to team things that I wouldn’t have usually worn together. I have a whole load of “work” clothes that could have been made redundant (like what i did there?!) but instead I paired the trousers with a funky t-shirt and the tops with jeans or under a denim pinafore dress for example.
This summer we attended two weddings. I was determined not to buy an outfit yet I wanted something new so I decided to call on my friends and family. I was really nervous about it as I hadn’t seen it done before but I bit the bullet and put a post on social media asking my friends and family if they had an outfit I could borrow. I was overwhelmed by the responses and ended up with a choice of outfits!! It was like I had my own private shop in my house! I chose my 2 outfits and had shoes and a bag to match each one. Both wedding outfits cost me £0.
Children grow so fast and my two are forever getting slime or paint or mud all over them. I want them to be happy and carefree, I am not the type of mum who says “you can’t play with that because you will get dirty” so buying second hand clothes for Rayne and Rose has always made sense to me, there are so many nice things in charity shops or online, I don’t see the point in buying brand new. Social media also has a market place that I buy and sell from, I feel like the community are helping each other! I also ask friends/family with older children to consider us when they are sorting out their wardrobes, Rayne and Rose love looking through a bag of hand me downs!! Rayne and Rose also get new outfits bought for them from their grandparents so they are definitely not missing out on the latest trends and fashion!
Money saving idea # 3
Cut down on beauty products
I recently had a cousin stay the weekend and she asked me what products I use on my skin to keep it looking so healthy. She showed me all the products she uses and I was blown away by the amount she spends on beauty products, literally hundreds of pounds!! I have never been in a position nor had the desire to spend that much on beauty products but I did used to have a different product for moisturising and cleansing my face, moisturising my body and then make up remover and cotton wool and deodorant. It all added up.
So what do I use now? There are now only two main items on my shelf, saving space, the planet as well as money! Those two items are coconut oil and aloe vera gel. That is it! The best part is, they both have multiple uses so I buy large 1kg tubs of each and divide them out into smaller tubs to use for different things. For example, I use coconut oil as a deodorant (with added essential oils, such as Naissance lavender oil), as a moisturiser, as a hair serem for Rayne and Rose, for cooking, for making sunscreen and the list goes on. I also use Aloe Vera as a moisturiser on my face, on Rayne and Rose’s wounds and as an after sun. Sy has also ditched other products and uses coconut oil and Aloe Vera so that is a double saving!!
Money Saving Idea # 4
Get the kids involved and plan your food shop
Groceries are without a doubt the thing we spend the most money on per week. We like to eat fresh produce everyday and it all adds up! So I sometimes get frustrated when I cook a healthy fresh meal and the girls don’t want it! I quickly realised I needed to change things and get the children involved in meal planning. I invested in a few good cook books, (we love Jamie Oliver’s 15 minute meals and My daddy cooks and got the girls to choose their favourite meals. We try and choose meals with ingredients that are in season and we cut down on meat and fish, eating it once or twice a week. I also plan our lunches and snacks so when I go shopping I know exactly what I need for the week. The food shop is still expensive however there is less waste and we eat less takeouts which saves money overall.
Money saving idea # 5
Grow your own fruit and veg
I have wanted to do this for years but when working 9-5 I didn’t seemed to have the time. This year I grew my own tomatoes, carrots, chillies and pumpkins from seeds. It was so rewarding to see them grow and absolutely delicious! It is also great for the children to get involved with lots of learning happening while they do so. If you don’t know where to start buy a grow your own vegetable starter kit. You will save money in the long run!
Money saving idea # 6
Make your travel mug your new best friend!
I used to love stopping at the local barista for a take away coffee. I now love nothing more than adding up the amount of money I am saving each week while making my morning beverage and pouring it into my bamboo reusable mug before leaving the house for the day! This also applies to a nice flask in the winter for homemade soups for lunch! It is also helping reduce waste at a time when climate change is such a huge issue.
Money saving idea # 7
Get money saving savvy with monthly outgoings
Whether its your mobile phone, broadband, energy or insurance, take some time to “shop around.” When I am near the end of my contract I spend some time using comparison websites to see if I can make savings, even if it is £50 a year, it all adds up! Martin Lewis, the Money Saving Expert always has great tips and advice.
Money saving idea # 8
Have a homemade Christmas!
It is never to early to start researching homemade ideas and get creating! I saved so much money last year by making lovely homemade gifts for family members. It also gets you out in nature in the cold weather as you go searching for pine cones and sticks!!
Money saving idea # 9
Get Creative, Reuse and Upcycle!
You will never look at an old bedsheet the same again!! Warning, this can get addictive!
Think twice before throwing something out or taking it to the charity shop. Ask yourself if it can be used for something else.
I never thought I was crafty, I didn’t have time to learn how to sew however since being home full time I have made my own sanitary towels out of an old bedsheet, t-shirt and towel saving me a fortune each month. Rayne, Rose and I made Barbie doll clothes out of a dress that no longer fits Rose and Barbie doll furniture out of our recycling!
Also, don’t be afraid to find inspiration and help from sites such as Pinterest and YouTube. I managed to diagnose and fix my tumble dryer by watching YouTube videos, it saved me heaps of money and I earned lots of kudos from the family by doing so!!
Money saving idea # 10
Put loose change into Kids Money boxes
If you haven’t already got a specific saving plan for your loose change, start putting it in your kids money boxes so when they ask for things they can pay for it themselves. This is a good learning opportunity as the children get to count their money and learn the value of money.
Benefits of home educating also include avoiding expensive places at peek times and going on holiday out of season which saves lots of money!
As well as saving money, I also needed to think of ways to make some money which isn’t easy when you have 2 young children demanding all of your attention. How to Give Up Work and Home School – Top 5 Money Making Tips explain how we do it!
If you would love to home educate but do not know where to start, I recommend checking out Lights On Families, they gave us the confidence we needed to take the leap.
Please feel free to leave a comment! I would love to hear your money saving tips when home schooling, or in general.