Where are the best places to buy books (without destroying your budget)?

Creating a robust home library has been a goal of mine for the last 5 years, simply because when timeless, quality books are available, my children are more likely to read them. We do utilize our local library as much as possible, but our library doesn't always carry the books we want/need.

So where can you buy books without completely destroying your budget? And how do you choose which books to buy?

**The beautiful books in the photo above are from Barnes & Noble. I purchased them on sale a couple summers ago for $5 each! If that sale ever returns, I'll be sure to shout it from the rooftops. 🙃


When I'm planning our curriculum for the year, I typically buy the core books that we'll need for the semester. For example, we're using Early American history by Beautiful Feet Books this year, and I purchased all of the core books that are used in the lessons. This saves a lot of time and stress because I know the books we need are already on the shelf. This curriculum also provides a list of "rabbit trail" books, and I find as many of those as I can from the library, but I don’t purchase them.


I love owning lots of our favorites because we read them again and again. I do sift through periodically and donate the ones that aren't frequently read. We usually check out the book from the library first, and if it’s a hit with my kids, I look to purchase it.


We typically check out or purchase the first in a series before committing to buy more. Then, if the series is a good fit, I'll keep my eye out on used sites for more. Because our oldest is 9 and we have three other children who will come behind him, I like purchasing quality chapter books for the future.


I reserve books from our local library every week—especially those I know we'll only need for a short time. If our library doesn't carry a particular book, I request it through the interlibrary loan (if I'm able to wait several weeks) or request that they purchase a book. Having the library purchase a book can take several weeks, but if you have the time, it’s a great option!

The following are my favorite sources for buying books on a budget!

  • Better World Books:

If you're searching for a specific gently used book, BetterWorldBooks.com is my personal favorite option. I am always pleased when I can find "like new" or "very good" condition, but I do purchase chapter books in "good" condition. They offer free shipping on orders of $15 or more, frequent coupons, and a great rewards system. For other gently used options, I've had good experiences with thriftbooks.com, abebooks.com, and eBay.com.

  • Facebook Buy/Sell/Trade:

For specific curriculum companies (like Sonlight, My Father's World, Beautiful Feet, and more), you can often find Facebook buy/sell/trade groups for the books you need. I've purchased an entire year's worth of books for a particular subject in excellent condition for a fraction of the price of new books. I can later resell those books if we don't plan to use them again.

  • Instagram:
Did you know there are lots of used booksellers on IG?
Here are a few great ones: @treasuredhourbookshop, @cottontailbooks, and @fillyourhousewithbooks.
  • Thrift Stores or Library Sales:
By far the cheapest books I've found have been from thrift stores or library book sales (often $1 or less). This option is most helpful if you have a good grasp on authors and books you like. Otherwise, it's easy to spend money on a bunch of books you'll end up tossing.
Local friends: We love shopping at Friends of the Keller Library (open Wednesday and Saturday), located next to the Keller Library. Purchases support the library and the volunteers are so kind!
  • Book Outlet:

BookOutlet.com sells new books that have been overstocked at a fraction of the price. I've found many wonderful chapter books for under $3 in brand new condition.

  • Amazon:

Amazon is usually the final place I look to source a book. It's helpful because you can usually always find what you're looking for and (obviously) shipping is fast!

  • Little Free Libraries:

We love visiting a handful of Little Free Libraries in our area, putting in a few books we no longer read, and choosing a few to take home. This is often a great way to discover new books... and it's completely free! You can find a map of Little Free Libraries close to you by visiting littlefreelibrary.org.