Homeschooling On A Budget: Why We Buy Books Used & A Book Haul

New Children’s Books Are So Expensive!

Purchasing children’s books can really break the bank if you are trying to create a large library for your children using only new books. One thing I learned quickly is that children’s books rarely retain their value.

So that hardcover picture book you bought for $25, well there is no way you will even get 1/4 of that back when your family is done with it. Plus when I spend a lot of money on a book, I’m less likely to leave it out for my kids to explore on their own. What if they spill on it? Turn the pages a little rough? Heaven forbid it gets wreaked in any form.

I’m not saying you should let your child wreak books. However children need time to learn how to treat a book and accidents happen.

Why We Buy Most of Our Kids Books Used

The main reason I try to find most of our home library used is quite because of the cost. For example I found 43 of the Magic Tree House books on Kijiji for $15 last year. Yes I typed that right, $15 CDN. I looked on Amazon and Magic Tree House Boxed Set, Books 1-28 alone cost $93 US.

Even if we hit up the local Value Village and pay $1.79 per chapter book, I’m still ahead of the $5.99-$12.99 price tag the book had when it was first purchased. Especially when we take advantage of the buy 4 books get 1 free deal.

The second reason I buy used is for variety. Now this is a double edge swords because variety is also one of my exceptions to buying used. But I’ll talk about that later. Some of my favourite books to read with Zakari are sometimes out of print.

Why Not Just Use The Library?

Of course we still use the public library! Actually this is a new thing for us. I’m going to be honest. I’m not very good at using the public library. I often have big plans, put a bunch of books on hold and then forget to pick them up. If you forget to pick them up there is a $1.20 per book charge. In the pass I have also been really bad at remembering to renew books. But now our public library has an app, which makes all of this so much easier for me!

However there are perks of having a solid home library. For us, we don’t always know what we want to read. Then just before bed my son will pick a new book to start. That kind of spontaneity just can’t happen if we have to go to the library and pick it up.

Studies that books in a home help a child become more successful. You can read about this more in a post I wrote in 2017: 11 Ways to Build Your Child’s Home Library Without Breaking the Bank // STUDY SHOWS: MORE BOOKS IN THE HOME MAKES KIDS SMARTER!!

You Can Find Great Books at Once Upon A Child

When people hear the name of the consignment store Once Upon A Child, the first thing they usually think about is gently used children’s clothes. Of course, that is the place to go for that, especially on sale days. However the first thing that comes to my mind is gently used children’s BOOKS!

Often our two local Once Upon A Child locations offer a deal on their books, if you buy 10 books, you get the bunch for 50% off! Usually books are ticketed at $1.50-$2.50 each, meaning I’m getting them for .75 cents-$1.25!

Often this store has newer books. Since they are actually playing for the items that come in and they don’t accept really old books, you can often find books that have recently been in Scholastic Flyers.

When Do I Buy New Books?

Of course there are times when I might need to buy a book new. Sometimes I might only be missing a few books in larger series. For example we were collecting the A to Z Mysteries by Ron Roy. I never was able the last 3 books I needed used, so we ordered them on Amazon.

Sometimes we might find the one or two books of a larger series by fluke, and get into them. But then find that the rest of the books are too new to realistically find used. So I will often order these books new, if we really love the series.

Another reason I will buy new is if its a book we need for school. Sure I could find it used at the thrift store eventually, but when we need it for school, time is an important thing to consider. Of course I will check Amazon Marketplace, but sometimes the new and used copies are close in price because of shipping cost.

Like I mentioned before, while I buy used for more variety. I also buy new for a different type of variety. Newer books can take years to start showing up in thrift stories. Sometimes by the time that happens, my child might have already grown out of that series.

Ideas When Buying That Book Used Is Not An Option

Book Outlet is an awesome site I always check first before I buy new. The books are new books that may have been over ordered by a store.(Some have had Walmart price tags on them) Some maybe slightly damaged at a HUGE discount(Damaged books are always labeled on the website as so). I have never received a majorly damaged book. Its usually just a little crease in the cover, or nothing that my naked eye can even see. This is the site I have gotten most of our Who Was/Is series.

I keep a list of books we want or need when when family and friends as for birthday & Christmas Gift Ideas. My kids have aunts that would prefer to buy them a bunch of books over a few trendy toys.

Be sure to always check out places like Walmart & Superstore. Sometimes you can get 40% off the cover price of new releases. We have also gotten Dragon Masters books at Walmart for 2 for $10 CDN, which is a few dollars cheaper them Amazon.ca and indigo.ca.

Where Do I Buy Books Used?

When it comes to buying used books, I usually hit up the:

  • Thrift Store
  • Consignment stores
  • Facebook Buy & Sell Groups
  • Kijiji
  • Garage Sales
  • eBay: On eBay I usually look for lot deals. I also look for the make an offer option to try and save a few extra dollars.

Once Upon A Child Haul

As promised! These are the awesome books I was able to pick up at Once Upon A Child when we stopped in to kill a bit of time. Everything in the video is listed below!

  1. Our Hero (Babymouse 2)(Wesley)
  2. Diary of a Wimpy Kid 11: Double Down(Wesley)
  3. DanTDM: Trayaurus and the Enchanted Crystal
  4. Pokémon Adventures: Diamond and Pearl/Platinum, Vol. 5 (Pokemon)
  5. The Mystery of the Secret Society (Greetings from Somewhere)
  6. The Stolen Trophy (Wishbone Mysteries 5)
  7. The Best Halloween Ever
  8. Saddle Up, Happy! (Big Apple Barn)
  9. Big Apple Barn 5: Happy’s Holiday
  10. Hold Your Horses! (Big Apple Barn)
  11. Cat in the Crypt (Animal Ark Hauntings 2)
  12. Colt in the Cave (Animal Ark Hauntings, 4)
  13. There Goes the Neighborhood (Meet the Kreeps, No. 1)
  14. Vampires Do Hunt Marshmallow Bunnies (Bailey School Kids Jr. Chapter Book,
  15. Merry Christmas, Geronimo! (Geronimo Stilton, No. 12)

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