We have 5 kids, and live on one income. For many, that in itself seems like a major feat. Add in homeschooling, and it can quickly appear overwhelming for almost any budget. That doesn’t have to be the case though! There are lots of ways to give your children a quality education at home without spending more than you have. Homeschooling on a budget is very doable.
One of those ways is by offering them lots and lots of opportunities to read about a wide variety of subjects. (Like with our 100 Books in August challenge!) We love reading in our house! I believe that helping them gain the ability to read well and instilling a love for reading in my children is a very important part of their education. In order to encourage a love for books of all kinds from an early age, I love having shelves filled with books of all kinds of topics that may interest the children – fiction, biographies, how-to books, travel books, books of famous artwork, storybooks, etc. At first glance, our shelves of books would seem like a huge investment, but I’m going to share a few tips for building a home library on a budget.
This article contains affiliate links. Purchasing through them will not alter your pricing, but it will benefit my family and this blog.
1. Thrift stores and second hand bookstores – This is probably the most obvious place to start. We are not lucky enough to have a second hand bookstore nearby, but I love searching through the stacks of books when I do come across one. Many thrift stores also have a sale schedule that allows you to buy items at an even bigger discount.
2. Yard sales – This is a favorite of mine. I picked up a huge lot of Magic Treehouse books, a favorite series of my oldest son, for 10 cents each last summer.
3. Amazon used book dealers – This is another favorite of mine. Many books can be found for as low as 1 cent, plus $3.99 shipping. I check out the vendor’s ratings before ordering, but I have not had a single bad experience with buying books this way. The next time you click over on Amazon, don’t assume that Prime price is the lowest you can score. Look for the used prices too.
4. Bulk book sellers – Yes, you can buy books in bulk! One book seller I’ve used is Books by the Foot. You can purchase books about a specific topic, art or golf maybe, by the foot (usually 6-12 books per foot, their site gives numbers for each subject). They also offer boxes of children’s books! Some new, some used, and some boxes can be a mix of new and used. You don’t get to pick the titles, so it was a fun surprise to sift through the big box and see what treasures had arrived! I purchased a box a year or so ago. Some of the books we already owned, and some I just didn’t care for. Those few, I separated out and sold in a yard sale of my own. 🙂
5. Local library sales – Most people think of the library as a great economical way to read. Endless shelves of books you can read and return for free! But most libraries also sell their discarded books. Our small town library has a shelf tucked under a window where they keep piles of books that can be purchased for a quarter or two. The larger library about an hour away has two rooms full of books available to be purchased! A few months ago I happened to be able to stop by while they were having their monthly bag sale. That means you can fill one of their blue bags with as many books as you can cram in it, and they will all be yours for $2. Needless to say, I didn’t stop at 1 bag. 🙂 I purchased 2 bags for a total of 29 books at $4! That’s less than $.14 per book. Of course not every book was for the kids – 2 or 3 were for me. 🙂 Go check out your local library, even if it’s a tiny one!
We still use and love our libraries borrowing great books, but I also love having all our own books. Some books might not have looked exciting enough in the moment to be chosen at the library, but on a shelf at home, will be later discovered at the perfect time, as a treasure by one of my kids when a new interest is sparked!