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It’s not everyday that a big chunk of money lands in your bank account, so when it does, you should make sure you utilize it in the best ways possible.
Most families run a pretty tight ship when it comes to their homeschool budget. After all, you are probably living off a single income while the other parent stays home and carries out the responsibilities of the home and school.
I’d be lying if I said living on a single income didn’t stress me out to the max. It isn’t easy not knowing what next week’s paycheck will look like. Having your single income depend on nice weather, as well as perfectly lined up jobs, just adds to the chaos. So when tax season rolls around, I find myself wishing I could buy the latest gadgets, new TV and a pimped out new car, just like “everyone” else does with their tax returns. Unfortunately, responsibilities come before frivolous spending in our house, so I probably won’t be getting a new jet ski this year but I will definitely be getting some adult crap taken care of.
With the sky-high price of, well, everything, its hard to find extra money for all of your homeschool needs, let alone your wants. The perfect time to allow yourself some spending money is during tax time.
If you’re like the rest of us and are looking for some smart ways to improve your homeschool with your tax refund, look no further.
There’s no doubt that curriculum can be expensive. Instead of giving up your “dream” curriculum, splurge right now, while you have a little extra money. Not only does buying your curriculum early give you time to dive into it and see if it’ll be a good fit, it also gives you time to resell it during the peak resell time if you don’t like it.
Many families use their tax refunds to book an exciting vacation but try making it educational, as well. If you’ve been studying presidents, try visiting Mount Rushmore. If you’ve been learning about space, head down to Kennedy Space Center. If you don’t have the funds for a big vacation but maybe just a staycation, check out the local tourists attractions. Chances are that you live pretty close to a zoo, aquarium or historical site. By using your tax refund dollars, you won’t feel as guilty about digging in and enjoying a family vacation.
Pre-pay for Classes and Lessons-
Whether your child takes karate classes or art lessons, we all know how quickly the costs add up. By prepaying for a few months of classes, you don’t have to worry about footing the bill later. Now is also a great time to buy over-priced dance costumes or new baseball equipment that you know you’ll need.
Determine what is the most costly and in demand item in your homeschool and stock up now. In our house, it’s printer ink. It’s nice to have a supply on-hand for when you need it. Not to mention, at $40 a pop, there are times we put off replacing our ink cartridges until we can squeeze it into our budget. Buy now and avoid unnecessary runs to the nearest overpriced store next time you’re in a bind.
Set Up Your Classroom or Learning Space-
For us, having a classroom was a waste of space. While the bookshelves were nice for holding our ever-growing amount of resources, we rarely actually did our school work in there. Consequently, we opted to get rid of the classroom and instead do our work while lounging on the couch or at the dining room table. However, if you’re dying to get a fun schoolroom set up, now is a great time to do it. Try finding some child-sized desks or add some sturdy book shelves to provide more storage. If you don’t have space for a classroom (or like us, you simply don’t want one) buy the kiddos a new lap desk or bean bag chair to make learning more comfortable.
Take a “Teacher Time-Out”-
There’s nothing more refreshing than a day away from the kids, pampering yourself. This is a thing many mom struggle with, but being with your kids nearly all day, every single day can really take its toll on us. Whether you schedule a day at the spa or just a fun day out with your girlfriends, you’ll return home rejuvenated and refreshed. Nothing is more valuable to your homeschool than a stress-free teacher!
Purchase New Learning Tools & Materials-
Make it a habit to set aside a specific amount of your tax return each year to add new learning materials to your school. Buy a new microscope or tether ball pole now and you won’t be scraping together pennies later to buy what you need. You’ll be surprised just how far an extra $100 will go when you shop smart.
Set Aside Money for a Rainy Day-
You have no idea what the next year holds. You may end up spending weeks in the hospital with an unforeseen illness. You may end up moving across the country. You may lose your job. You just NEVER know. Tuck away a chunk of money to see you through the dark times. If you still have money left when next year’s tax refund rolls around, take your family to the movies and splurge on some ridiculously priced popcorn. You’ll be thankful to have the cushion in your savings account all year-long.
While it would be much more fun to blow your income tax refund on pointless purchases, using the money to prepare your school for next year is a much better idea. It not only lessens the stress for us but ensure that our kids are provided the best education possible. And that is exactly why we are choosing to homeschool our kids in the first place!