There are many reasons you may find your budget taxed when it comes to book purchases during the school year. For one, many curricula are literature centered and it’s an integral part of your day to day lesson planning. I found myself in this situation with curricula like Blossom and Root and Moving Beyond the Page. While it would be nice to just place a bulk order from my local book shop, by the time you add in our morning basket, poetry tea time, learning readers, readers for enjoyment, personal enrichment books, etc. it becomes a bit much. I quickly found a few ways to dramatically save off the sticker price and I want to share these tips with you in the hopes that it will fill your home with books and leave some extra change in your wallet. This said, never overlook the library or online library apps like Libby. They are incredible resources, free, and easy to access. But, oftentimes for one reason or another, I’m looking to purchase, and when that happens, this is what I do.

1.  Don’t overlook thrift shops.

Whether it’s Goodwill, Saver’s, Value Village, or a local thrifting spot – I never leave without taking a glance at their book section. When it comes to classic literature, Goodwill is my definite favorite. At our local Goodwill, children’s books are all $1.99 no matter the day, time, or mooncycle. So, I’ve found everything from Beatrix Potter, to Winnie-the-Pooh, to children’s encyclopedias for just $1.99 a book. For paperbacks at $2, it’s a fantastic place to find family readers, morning basket material, etc. I recently found full BOB’s books sets for just $3.99 a collection, well worth the time of perusing the aisles if you ask me. However, if you’re looking to fill a specific curriculum, this can be a difficult avenue since the aisles aren’t usually incredibly organized, and often they call for specific editions of stories.

2. eBay.

When it comes to purchasing a specific book list, eBay is my go-to. Many sellers will list discarded or retired library books for a fraction of the cost. This is usually what I’m looking for. Especially if it’s a part of our curriculum and I know we will only be reading it for perhaps a week and then it’ll just be reference material. You can also compare sellers as often times some will have 15% off 3 or more books from their shop or buy two get one free. Be aware that often times eBay books are shipped media mail, so don’t place an order if you need it over night or that week.

3. Used dedicated book shops.

Okay, so you haven’t seen it at the thrift shops, it’s not on eBay. What’s next? For me, it’s often Half Price Books. It’s our local chain used book store. And when it comes to toothier material (like art books, encyclopedias, atlases, large books that are heavy to ship, references, etc) it can be a goldmine. They do have an online bookstore which is quite extensive, so if you’re unable to go in-shop, I suggest you give them a look!

4. Amazon “Used” or “Open Box”.

Sometimes, I come across a title that has only been released in the last couple years, isn’t in great circulation, or is highly sought after and hard to find on Ebay. If I don’t have the opportunity to find it at Half Priced Books, I move on to Amazon. Often times when you’re looking at the price of an item it will display if there is a Used copy or a damaged copy that they will sell at a discount. This is always my last resort. Most times I’m able to find those last pesky titles this way.


Using these four methods I have saved hundreds so far in our homeschooling journey. What do you do to keep fresh books available in your home library?