Monday, August 3, 2015

Saving Money on Books: Used Book Sales & Thrift Stores

This was a $5 bag's worth of books

Have you ever wished you could buy more books for your children, but wince when you see the price of brand new books? We love our local library, but sometimes, whether it is for homeschooling or just to have more books around for the kids to read, I like to own some books. Even on Amazon, the cheapest used book will cost you at least $4 with shipping and handling. This is a better deal than brand new, but I am also grateful that our local library hosts a bi-annual Bag Day sale where you can fill a grocery paper bag for $5. If you live near a library, find out if they host a sale like this as well - it may be well worth your time.

Above is a picture of the books I got a few weeks ago at our library's sale. Sometimes I can find more vintage children's books (which I love) but I almost always find new classic chapter books to add to my collection. Our book sale is fueled by donations, so you never know what you will find. I got 33 books, most of which you can see below in the picture. I also got an older Better Homes and Gardens Sewing Book which had a lot of tutorials on sewing things like pockets, sleeves, and more. Some people shop to actually turn around and sell the books for a profit, but because I am a homeschooling mom I mostly shop for my children.

Our library system is pretty big, and even though the sale doesn't start until 10 am, I learned after a couple of visits that even getting there 30 minutes early would still land me halfway back in a long line. This time I tried to get there around 9 and still had 15 people ahead of me, but I was okay with that (and I brought a good library book to read while I was waiting!)

I also use our old Graco stroller base for every book sale or used curriculum sale that I attend. I always get comments from people on how they wish they had one too. One lady even asked me if I had gotten that at the door :). It saves me the hassle of having to hold my books while I shop and allows me to weave in and out of different areas of books without crowding other shoppers.

I haven't often frequented thrift stores for books because our local Goodwill charges $1/book and the selection usually isn't that great, but recently I found another thrift store that had a lot of homeschooling-style books or classic readers. I got all of the books above for $3. I gave one of them to my friend who needed a book for her next year's curriculum. I was also excited about the book Something Out of Nothing. It is a charming little story about two children whose parents spoil them with toys from a department store, and then have to go and stay with a family friend who has no toys around, but lots of things to make their own toys with. Isn't that a lesson we could all learn?

What are your favorite ways to find books?


  1. Hello! I just found your blog through Stephanie at Six Figures Under. I love love love used books! Our library sells used ones for 25 cents for kids books and magazines are free! I've been able to find some good ones. My little ones aren't reading yet, but I'm trying to start a collection early! My husband is still in vet school and we have some hefty loans we'll be repaying soon!

    1. Hi Lisa, thanks for visiting! Vet school is tough! I had a friend in vet school who said it was harder than medical school because there were different body systems that you had to study. I love used books too. I think it's great that you are building up a collection now, as when they hit that "love to read stage" you have so many things you can share with them. I would also keep an eye out for vintage children's books at libraries, as sometimes they get rid of them because they aren't "current" anymore, but sometimes the writing is so much better.


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