In this 2-part series, I'll discuss my process for decision making on digital products as well as share my favorite resources for making printing affordable! You can read the digital discussion here and the printing help HERE.
It's not an uncommon message for me to receive-
How many pages is this document?
Will I need to print ALL of it? I'm trying to figure out how much it's going to cost all together?
Where do you get your stuff printed?
How can you afford to have so much printed?
How are digital products a saving when printing is SO expensive?
I 100% get it, my friend! Every single one of us is on a fixed homeschool budget, and even if the budget is generous, we want to stretch every penny because- books, right? So I wanted to develop a "guide" for choosing and printing digital products because opportunities abound for these in the homeschool world, and it can get overwhelming!
Before we get into "how/where to print," let's talk first about buying digital in the first place- especially some of the bundle sales that happen each year. Build Your Bundle has been around for a few years and offers up to a 90% savings on digital curriculum. The Mega Montessori Bundle is a new quarterly bundle sale that offers the same or greater savings, and I’m literally a little obsessed with it right now. There are also the Ultimate Bundles that I have purchased a few times as well. They all have GREAT stuff. But how can we decide if these bundles (or any other digital download) is really a good value for us?
I've struggled with this question before. I LOVE a good deal! I can easily get carried away with the notion that "Normally, I'd pay xxxx, but I'm getting it for only XXX!" But more than a few times, I've later gone on to not use the item I bought at such a cheap price... which begs the question: Did I save money? Or did I waste money? I super hate to realize I've wasted money! (So does my husband, lol.)
When faced with these big bundle sales or with a general digital product online, I have learned over the years to walk myself through the following questions:
1- Before I even approach the sale or website, I ask myself, what is it that I KNOW we need? If we have a math curriculum and it's working, I don't need to look at a new math program. (The grass is not always greener!) Once you have a program or process that works, just save your money and your sanity, and stick with it!
2- For Bundle Sales: Out of all of the items offered in this Bundle, what portion do I see that I KNOW we will use?
3- What portion do I believe I would likely use? What portion will I definitely not use?
4- Once I have my "definitely" and "likely" narrowed down, I consider how much those products costs individually. If the Bundle is $450, but I would only use $100 of it, it's NOT worth $450 to me. It's worth $100. If the cost is $25, this is a great savings!
5- How much will it cost me to PRINT these $100 worth of printables/programs that I'm confident I will use?
6- Once I know how much the products that I will USE are worth to me and have a general idea of how much printing will cost, then I can make the decision with confidence of whether this bundle sale/digital product is truly a savings for our family.
Special Note: When I'm looking at purchasing a product from a website where there is a digital OR print version available, always consider the quality that you will receive via the print option AND whether you need to be able to print copies for future children. The Good & The Beautiful is a good example of a company who has free digital products but offers exceptional quality print products at affordable prices. I could probably print it *cheaper* at home, but the value wouldn't compare! However, if I know I will be faithful to use TGTB for several years, through several children, I might sacrifice print quality to save long-term by using digital.
In the next portion of this series, I'll discuss the printing options I'm familiar with and what works for our family! Click HERE to read part 2!