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Coupon Abbreviations
  • SC = Store Coupon
  • MC = Manufacturer Coupon
  • SS = Smart Source
  • RP = Red Plum
  • PG = Proctor and Gamble
Coupon Terms
  • WYB = When You Buy
  • B1G1 = Buy One Get One Free
  • .75/1 = 75 cents off one item
  • .75/3 = 75 cents off three items
  • EXP = Expiration Date

Going Nuts? I can help you understand coupon terms and abbreviations

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Frugal Living: Saving on Textbooks & Homeschool Curriculum

I have been getting a lot of questions lately about how to save on school textbooks and homeschooling curriculum. There are so many options and it can seem so expensive that shopping may be overwhelming at first, but here are some tips about how to navigate your options.

Consignment Sales

Consignment sales are a great place to find used copies of curriculum. This is not the best route if you know exactly what you want, but if you are open to different options and willing to search you can potentially find some great books for a lot less.  This can also be a great resource for stocking a reading library for little cost.

Homeschool Groups/Curriculum Sales

At local support groups people will often bring what they have used to giveaway or sell. This saves money as you can buy directly from the source. This is a great way to be able to look through the curriculum before buying it and talk to other parents about their experiences with it.

I’m even part of a local facebook group that is just for swapping and sharing books.  It never hurts to start asking friends if they want to share and put something together.

Online Options

There are also great resources online such as the Homeschool Classifieds and Ebay. You can buy new and used curriculum. There are a lot of options and you can even post wanted ads.  You can sort by grade level, publisher, and subjects.

Amazon is another great place to search. This is a great option if you know exactly what you want. You can search for the book and look for used copies available.

eBooks

A great website for eBooks is CurrClick. They have a lot of options and even some that are free for download. They also have live classes.

Renting Books

Many college textbooks are now available for rent and you can also get some homeschool curriculum this way. A great way to save on homeschool curriculum is to reuse it with your other children though, so it may be better to only rent curriculum you will not be able to reuse.

You can find more information about renting textbooks here. Be sure to compare with the price of buying used before renting as you can sell back books you buy, which may actually make it cheaper in the end.

Want to look over curriculum before making choices?

Many local libraries will have a copy of the top curriculum publishers work.  It may not be the grade you are looking for, but will give you great insight to how the lessons are laid out and type of work for students.

Homeschool Conferences

Attending a homeschool conference is also great for skimming curriculum.  Most major publishers will be there and let you look through anything you want.  You’ll also find a number of used book sellers offering large discounts – you’ll just need to make purchases on the used items right then rather than thinking about it and purchasing later.

Choosing Curriculum

Many of you have asked what curriculum we use.  I am fine with sharing, but firmly believe that one of the joys of home schooling is that you can tailor your resources to the child’s way of learning.  What works for one family may not work for another.  So don’t ever feel that you need to go with a program because “that’s what everyone else is using.”

First off, one thing we’ve used with all our girls that is awesome is The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading. When my youngest started kindergarten, but we did a “one room” approach meaning that she learns a reduced version of what her big sisters are covering.  For the big girls, we use Saxon for math, BJU for English, Spelling Plus for spelling, and Apologia for Science. We are also part of a local Classical Conversations group for other subjects.

Do you have any other tips for cutting costs on text books?

See more frugal living tips.

    • Carmanm

      CurrClick.com is a great option, too.  You can purchase many curricula as downloads for much less than a printed copy of the same thing.  Then you just print out the pages you need to have printed out (takes up a lot less space saved on a flash drive, too!).  They also offer some really cool classes, everything from Apologia science to Tae Kwon Do (hope I spelled that right!).  These classes are done online in Adobe Connect classrooms.  My boys are in 8th, 5th, and 1st grade, and they all enjoy these type classes.  They even offer clubs.  For me, the digital format is a huge money and space saver.

    • MariaClipsCoupons

      I get textbooks at http://www.bookfinder.com. It shows prices on multiple sources, including Amazon and half-off (eBay?). Just type in the 10 or 13 digit ISBN and you get the exact book you need.

    • Shammond6
    • Guest

      There’s alot of ways to save on textbooks.  The Student Wallet http://www.thestudentwallet.com is doing a Complete Textbook Buying Guide throughout August that includes tips like how to get deals at the campus bookstore, buying from other students, buying textbooks online, knowing which books to buy and which ones you don’t need, comparison shopping, buying old editions, buying international editions, etc.  It’s worth reading if youre serious about saving money.

    • AP

      In college, I used half(dot)com (an eBay company) ALL THE TIME for my text books!!  College bookstores are notorious for selling high & buying back for pennies on the dollar.  Many times I sold the books back to the school for more than I originally paid for them on this site!

      • AP

        If you sell your books on this site (or any one for that matter), make sure you use “Media Mail” from the post office.  It’s pretty cheap and insures up to $100.

      • SB

        There is a new website http://www.textbook-connection.com that enables students to connect on campus to buy and sell books.  Apps are available for Android and iPhones.

    • Sher

      Bigwords(dot)com is a great site. You type in the ISBN # or title and it searches a bunch of sites for you to compare. It also shows any discount codes that are available. I’ve been using it for years.

    • Coxfamily

      We live in South Carolina and use the South Carolina Calvert Charter School.  It is completely free, books and online resources as well as teachers.  I used it last year and will be using it again this year.  The materials provided are phenomenal. 

    • aolss

      This is probably more relevant for high school/college level content but you can also purchase a previous edition of a textbook at a huge savings for virtually the same content.  College textbooks lose virtually all value when the newer edition comes out (please don’t rant about the cost of college textbooks, that’s a completely different coversation :) Suffice it to say there is a lot more than the book you are paying for such as the resources provided to instructors which I say as I’m working on notes for this semester from some of those resources). 

    • Kaoscasa

      Another site is http://www.textbooks.com.  I’ved used this site during my daughter’s senior year in high school for dual credit classes and again this year for her first year at Coll. of Charleston.  They are fast and efficient. And the site is very user friendly for those of us who are techno challenged!! I’ve used them to buy and sell.

    • I found a bunch of curriculum (used) on vegsource’s homeschool area, it’s sort of like a craigslist for homeschool books. I live near a homeschool bookstore, and their used prices are pretty fair. I also like going there to see the new curriculum, but I go home and order it from amazon, or the publisher directly. I buy early, so I can wait for a sale. I keep a list of next year’s books in my purse so if I happen across a used book store I know what I’m looking for. I found my 8th grader’s health book for $13 at Books For Less, I would have had to pay $64 new! Also check out yahoo groups, we have a ton nearby that are for homeschoolers, and a few are just for buying and selling used curriculum! You can also try out the Well Trained Mind forum, I have bought one book from someone there. That is also an excellent source to read honest reviews of various curriculums!! 

      We too love Saxon math, and we piece together our curriculum as well. Our big kid was in public school through 5th grade, so he was/is all over the place as far as grade level learning goes :) 

    • Asmith

      If you want to buy new after spending a lot of time going back and forth I have found CBD to be the cheapest and if you get there homeschool catalog has free shipping code. Amazon used to be cheaper but I have noticed this year in particular they have not been any cheaper but over 25 shipping would have been free.

      • Luci

        What’s CBD?

        • Trheath

          Christian Book Distributers. Google it, but I think it’s christianbook.com.

        • Trheath

          Christian Book Distributers. Google it, but I think it’s christianbook.com.

        • Missy

          Christian Book Distributors…I buy my homeschool curriculum   exclusively from them.  They are often cheaper than the publishers site!  And, like mentioned above, you can get coupon codes and they have super sales!

          • I use CBD as well, but I always compare to Rainbow Resources – last week I saved $13 on my Saxon Geometry kit! They go back and forth as to who is cheaper, and Rainbow Resources doesn’t always have what I am looking for. 

      • Luci

        What’s CBD?

    • Raggedgarden

      Hey, if any of you live near a public university that graduates teachers you may have a very wonderful and under used resource. I home schooled for eleven and a half years. My oldest just graduated from the University of Alabama with his PhD. My youngest from UNC at Chapel Hill with his Masters degree. Back when I first started money was very tight so I could not afford to buy many things I would have liked to use. To my surprise our local state university had an IMC (instructional materials area of the library) and we could get a community user’s card. I got to check out as many books, games, paintings, recording and anything else you could think of for three weeks at a time and could renew them for another three weeks. I even checked out a band in a box one time. They also had teachers’ books on any subject you could name. If your child was having a problem you could find alternative materials that might work better. It was great!  The only thing is that you have to remember that a university schedule is different that your school schedule so you have to keep track of when they are closed. If you check out a skeleton keep in mind that it will not fit through the book return slot!

    • Raggedgarden

      Hey, if any of you live near a public university that graduates teachers you may have a very wonderful and under used resource. I home schooled for eleven and a half years. My oldest just graduated from the University of Alabama with his PhD. My youngest from UNC at Chapel Hill with his Masters degree. Back when I first started money was very tight so I could not afford to buy many things I would have liked to use. To my surprise our local state university had an IMC (instructional materials area of the library) and we could get a community user’s card. I got to check out as many books, games, paintings, recording and anything else you could think of for three weeks at a time and could renew them for another three weeks. I even checked out a band in a box one time. They also had teachers’ books on any subject you could name. If your child was having a problem you could find alternative materials that might work better. It was great!  The only thing is that you have to remember that a university schedule is different that your school schedule so you have to keep track of when they are closed. If you check out a skeleton keep in mind that it will not fit through the book return slot!

    • HomeschoolingCouponingMom

      I also like Vegsource for finding used curriculum

    • HomeschoolingCouponingMom

      I also like Vegsource for finding used curriculum

    • HomeschoolingCouponingMom

      I also like Vegsource for finding used curriculum

    • Guest

      Georgia Cyber Academy is a free online public school that allows parents to teach from home.They use K12 and state curriculum. They even send low income families who qualify for free and reduced lunch a free laptop and printer. Everyone at the school gets boxes of curriculum, manipulatives and hands on materials sent to their house for free. They have schools throughout the country. http://www.k12.com

    • SB
    • aowens111

      Homeschool Buyers Co-op, https://www.homeschoolbuyersco-op.org, is a great place to get deep discounts on all types of curriculum.  I also love Christian Book or CBD as they almost always beat everyone’s prices on new off-the-shelf curriculum.  I also like to check websites like mcdougallittel.com for titles that are a few years old.  You can research the ISBN numbers for textbooks and great teacher materials, then purchase from Amazon for a fraction of the cost.  I have purchased textbooks, complete audio libraries, teacher planning CD-roms with volumes of printable activities, quizzes and tests.  They are public school textbooks, so keep that in mind if you are looking for only Christian-based curriculum.

    • aowens111

      Homeschool Buyers Co-op, https://www.homeschoolbuyersco-op.org, is a great place to get deep discounts on all types of curriculum.  I also love Christian Book or CBD as they almost always beat everyone’s prices on new off-the-shelf curriculum.  I also like to check websites like mcdougallittel.com for titles that are a few years old.  You can research the ISBN numbers for textbooks and great teacher materials, then purchase from Amazon for a fraction of the cost.  I have purchased textbooks, complete audio libraries, teacher planning CD-roms with volumes of printable activities, quizzes and tests.  They are public school textbooks, so keep that in mind if you are looking for only Christian-based curriculum.

    • Nancy Ellis

      We have also found some good deals on half.com and on Craigslist.  If you check on Facebook, there might be a page for a homeschoool group in your area.  I’ve been able to sell/trade some curriculum on our local FB page as well.

    • busymom2three

      As a homeschooling mom for the past 10 years, I have found that becoming a member of the Homeschool Buyers Co-Op (free membership) has been a big help. You can find their website at this link: http://www.homeschoolbuyersco-op.org/

      All the suggestions from Frugal Living are also great places to shop and save. 

      We will be renting several textbooks for our high school Jr. as he takes classes at a local homeschool co-op, and this will save us money.

    • Cindy Talbert

      You can also find used homeschool books at http://www.homeschoolbooksmart.com.

    • Cindy Talbert

      You can also find used homeschool books at http://www.homeschoolbooksmart.com.

    • support

      Here is  another 
      price comparison site that compares all leading textbook merchants and
      compares used/new/rental or eBook:

       

      http://thecheaptextbook.com