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As we are getting closer to completing our current curriculum, I am beginning to think about ordering our curriculum for next year.  Of course, being a complete cheapskate, I have to make sure I am getting a bargain.    In comes my price sheet……………………….. I use this sheet to:

  • check prices at homeschool conventions
  • check prices at used curriculum sales
  • check prices at online sites selling used items
  • check prices at online sites selling new items

Here is how I do it……..

Step 1:  Make a table 

Make a table….mine is four columns and eight rows. I made this on Microsoft Word, but many programs can do this same function.

 Step 2:  Label the Columns and Rows

Label the rows and columns. The first box in the first row will be labeled “item.” All other boxes in the horizontal row will be labeled with the names of the companies that you want to compare. The first box in the first column will be labeled “item.” All other boxes in the vertical row will be labeled with the names of the items that you want to purchase.

Step 3:  Open a tab for every site that you are comparing. 

Open each site in a separate tab. Open them in the same order that they are listed in your table. (Click on this to make it bigger.)

Step 4:  Check the prices and record them on your table.

Look at the first item on your list. Check the prices at all sites. Record them on your price sheet. Look at the second item on your list. Check the prices on all sites. Record the prices on your price sheet. Continue…

Step 5: Use this sheet as a baseline when shopping for new and used curriculum.

Other Factors to Consider

  • Shipping:  How much will shipping be?  When I write the price on my price sheet, I am not factoring in shipping costs.  For most items, Amazon will offer free shipping on purchases of $25 or more.  When ordering from Christianbook.com, I ask the salesperson for free shipping.  As long as I am spending over $100, they have always told me yes…..so far!    I have heard rumor that Rainbow Resource offers free shipping, but I think it is for very large purchases.  So, while their prices are a little cheaper on a few things, I might choose another supplier to avoid shipping costs.
  • Taxes:  When shopping at homeschool conventions, please remember that you will have to pay taxes!  Many online stores do not charge taxes!  That can be a huge savings!  I found a curriculum that I wanted to purchase at my local homeschool convention.  But, I would have to pay close to 9% sales tax.  While the base price was a little cheaper at the convention, the taxes made it more expensive overall……and I didn’t have to haul it all over the convention hall for the rest of the day!
  • Shopping Used:  While I am incredibly thrifty, I rarely buy used books for my core curriculum.  Why?  I’ve been burned.  Thinking I was getting a great deal, I have unknowingly purchased curriculum with broken or missing components.  Currently, I am struggling through a used math book that is missing all of the reproducible math sheets.  If it is an art book, read-alouds, readers, or an educational puzzle, then I will scour the used sales.  But, for the subjects that really count, I usually buy it brand-new.   Also, many times the used prices are only a few dollars cheaper than my rock-bottom new price with free shipping.  I would rather pay a few dollars more for a guarantee that I will have all the pieces.

What are your money-saving tips for buying curriculum?  Tell me in the comments!