How to homeschool on one income

When I wrote about the pros and cons of homeschooling recently, I left one major piece of the puzzle untouched: How does a family handle the loss of income if a stay-at-home parent is required?

It's not just the loss of monthly income. The parent who stays at home doing the bulk of the educating is also missing out on some other benefits of employment (employer contributions to a 401(k), social security benefits, avoiding a resume gap, etc.). These aren't necessarily easy to quantify.

So let's take a look at the financial piece of the puzzle to the extent we can; but first, is it possible to homeschool without losing income?

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More about...Education, Budgeting

Pros and cons of homeschooling

What if the average cost to educate a child was over $5,000 but you could drop it to just over $500 per child? According to a really old (1997) report on homeschooling, you could do just that by taking your child out of public school and schooling them at home.

Last winter, after several days off school with bitter-cold temperatures, coupled with a few serious cases of cabin fever, I posted on Facebook that I was "feeling overwhelmed" (appropriate emoticon included) about trying to keep my cooped-up kids from fighting with each other for hours, and I wondered aloud (or at least on Facebook) how homeschooling parents handled being with their kids all day -- every day.

Well, let me tell you, I innocently fanned some flames. Anecdotal evidence and opinions were fired back and forth including topics such as socially awkward homeschooled kids, the terrible public schools that we have to send our kids to now, parents using school as a babysitting service, and people who shelter their kids too much.

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More about...Education

Caring for your garden tools

"Spring has sprung," as they say in my little corner of the Midwest. Our magnolia tree is in partial bloom, the daffodils and hyacinths are in full bloom, and most trees are starting to bud. I love this time of year!

If you have been missing J.D. Roth's garden posts, I plan to share periodic posts with a gardening theme. Speaking of gardening, some of our garden has been planted, the flower beds have been cleaned up, and the old grass in our pastures has been burned off. Yes, spring is here, and you know what that means: time to break out your gardening and lawn care tools!

Taking care of your garden tools

Your garden tools represent a sizable investment that, if properly maintained, can last many seasons and help you produce delicious, low-cost meals.

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More about...Frugality, Home & Garden

How to build community relationships

We spend a lot of time talking about green here on Get Rich Slowly. But let's direct our attention for a couple minutes to another color: blue.

I first read about the Blue Zones in a magazine a few years ago. These blue zones were identified after researching some of the longest living people on the planet. Although nine characteristics were associated with these blue zones, several are lumped into the social category. Having a healthy social life can extend your life? Who knew?

Maybe you don't care about living until you are 100, but do you think that your social network could help improve your finances or decrease your stress level? I think it can. And so does the Blue Zones organization, but more on that later.

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More about...Food

How to use coupons effectively

I like saving money -- but it has to be easy. And spending hours clipping and organizing coupons, or planning epic shopping trips based on my coupon stash is not easy. Most of the time -- if I clip coupons at all -- they end up floating around the bottom of my purse, expired. Instead, I usually choose to save in other ways.

Yet, there are coupons. And there are people who use coupons. And then there are the people who USE coupons … in a big way. No matter what our method, there is room for all of us to save with the coupon game and then to put those savings in our savings account to go to work on our next goal.

Why (and why not) use coupons

Why use coupons? To save money. Simple. Continue reading...

More about...Frugality

Advantages of online grocery shopping

As someone who doesn't like to shop for groceries (or lug them all from my car to the house), the thought of finding a service that helps me avoid the check-out line altogether is very appealing. A service that would put my groceries away would be even more amazing, but I won't get carried away. Even without that added bonus, though, the advantages start to stack up.

Advantages of Online Grocery Shopping

1. Save on transportation costs. Back when I was working away from home, I simply scheduled my time to swing by the grocery store on the way home from work. I still had to carry everything into the house, but I wasn't making an extra trip. Since May last year, I have been a strictly work-from-home kind of gal, so any trip for food is, at minimum, 28 miles round-trip. I try not to make the trip unless I have to, or unless I have some other errands I can run too. If I am feeling particularly hermit-like, I can talk my husband into picking up groceries on his way to or from work, so at least that's an option.

2. Save time. A 28-mile round trip, plus whatever time it takes to shop can easily burn up an hour or more of my day. That's an entire hour I could spend working and earning money, or cleaning. I could always clean. While my lifestyle is not really busy, I can see how this would be a great benefit for those with busy households.

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More about...Food

How to raise a frugal child

Sometimes you find clues of your kids' financial education progress in the strangest places.

"Dear Santa" - began my seven-year-old daughter's letter, published in our local newspaper - "May I have more money? I will save it to buy a house or car." (I know. I still can't believe she wrote it, either.) "I want for my brother a horse that is real..." and "For my baby brother; he needs more clothes. Can you bring my Mom and Dad more money to buy food?" (Uh, what?)

So the letter ended with her first name, but since her school is so small and her name is slightly unique, most of our friends and family knew who had written the letter. Within a few days, I got a text asking whether we had enough to eat at our house, in addition to many in-person comments. We even got a note in the mail with $5 telling us to buy a couple of loaves of bread. I thought it was funny how this got so distorted, but I wondered if I had somehow passed on the wrong message to our kids.

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More about...Frugality, Planning, Psychology

Cold and flu season: Stock your medicine cabinet for less

Though our family has already had one sneak peek, cold and flu season is about ready to really get started.

Because I would like avoid as many sick visits to the doctor as I possibly can, I decided to check out our medicine cabinet and make sure it is ready for this winter -- and beyond.

What you should include in your medicine cabinet

Obviously, what you should include in your medicine cabinet depends on your needs, but here is a list to get you started. Oh, and I am not a doctor. Obviously. Read the labels. Use common sense.

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More about...Frugality, Health & Fitness

Will canning your food save you money?

When I was a child, we lived on a farm that had a grape arbor loaded with Concord grapes. Each September, my mom would can jars upon jars of grape juice, and I have fond memories of evenings around the kitchen table as our family ate popcorn and drank that delicious stuff (which doesn't taste like anything I've ever purchased from a store).

Well, apparently, nostalgia set in this year, and I ordered 1.5 bushels of Concord grapes. (And if you're wondering how much that is, it felt like a whole vineyard.) The grapes came earlier than I expected, so I texted my husband that morning: "The grapes are here and they're RIPE. We need to can the juice tonight."

He texted back: "Sounds grape." Yes, he really did.

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More about...Food, Frugality

My experience with alternative health insurance to Obamacare

A few months ago, I shared about how to survive without health insurance. To recap, I belong to a healthcare sharing ministry (HSM) called Christian Healthcare Ministries (CHM), just one of several ministries that are ACA-approved alternatives to health insurance. But I also want to share about my experiences with alternative health insurance to Obamacare.

What we belong to is not healthcare insurance; therefore, we don't pay a premium (although we pay a "gift" each month or what amounts to a deductible, except it's called a "personal responsibilty"). We chose this option because neither my husband nor I have access to an employer-sponsored plan. The most important consideration for us was cost, followed by coverage options. We opted for the most expensive level, which means that we have a $500 personal responsibility for each medical event that each of our family members experience on an annual basis.

Family of Five Pays $450 per Month for Health Insurance

At the time of the previous article, I was the only member of my family to belong, and I paid $150 per month. Now our entire family of five belongs for $450 per month. Even if our family size were to double, that is the maximum monthly contribution we'd have to make.

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More about...Insurance, Health & Fitness