Reading Tips

10 Easy Ways to Build Your Library on a Budget

As adults, we all want to make good, quality literature available to kids, whether that’s in our homes or in our classrooms. But if you are like me, you don’t have an unlimited budget. Here are 10 easy ways to build your library on a budget.

Thrift Store

Check out your local thrift stores such as Goodwill or Salvation Army Family Store. Their shelves are often brimming with books that are marked down to a reasonable price.

If you don’t feel like digging to find children’s books, check out your local Once Upon a Child or other children’s resale shop. These stores will be stocked specifically with used children’s books.

Online Thrift Books

Thrift Books, an online thrift store of books, is a great place to pick out good books at an amazing price and have them delivered right to your door! There are so many books available for under $5! Thrift Books is a great resource when looking to build your library on a budget.

Used on Amazon

When looking for an item, often the first place we look is Amazon. At least, that’s true at my house! Amazon has great prices for brand new books, but here’s how you can get your books cheaper.

Always check out the “used” option first when searching for a book. Look for sellers who’s product is still in good condition and can ship for a comparable price. It’s always worth a look to find a better deal.


While audiobooks don’t add to your physical library, they do allow you to access books without having to find storage for them. Audiobooks are also cheaper than brand new, hard copy books.

If you find you and your family gravitating to audiobooks instead of hard copy books, consider signing up for an Audible account or any other audiobook subscription account. If you use them often, audiobook subscriptions can save you money on books in the long run.

Digital Books

Once again, this option does not add to your physical library, it can be a wonderful space-saving, cost-effective way to get access to literature.

The most popular digital books are through Kindle. Whether you have a Kindle device or the Kindle app, consider buying or subscribing to digital copies of books and save a few dollars on the overall cost of the book.

Digital books are also a great way for your kids to easily travel and fill their time with reading rather than filling your car and suitcases with books!

Library Book Sales

Did you know that most local libraries SELL books? My library has a few shelves by the entrance full of books that I can purchase. I have found kids books for sale that are marked for $0.25 or $0.50 a piece! That price is unbeatable when building your library on a budget!

Be sure to check out your library for book sales and snag some gems at unbelievable prices!


Speaking of the library, do you have a library card? Libraries are an invaluable literary resource for our ourselves and our children. They give us access to countless books and resources that most of us will never own.

Access to the library is free and is a wonderful way to rotate and temporarily restock your home library without requiring extra book storage or any extra cost.

Does the thought of keeping track of library books and accruing late fees sound intimidating? Don’t worry! Help manage library books at home by having a designated library book spot and limit the number of books your children can bring home each time. The book limit will help your child feel anticipation for the next library trip!

When it comes to late fees, check your library’s late policy. My local library has recently changed their policy. Instead of accruing a fee for an overdue book, my library will simply not allow me to check out any more books on my card until I return my overdue book. This change has made it much less intimidating to check out library books.

Little Libraries

Have you seen these little libraries around town? Check out Little Free Library to find a little library near you!

Little libraries are these tiny little houses on posts that house books for the community. The motto of a little library is “Take a book. Share a book.” When you find one, look to see if there are any kids books available for you to take and add to your library. It’s free!

The only stipulation is that you put another book in the little library to replace the one you took. This keeps the little libraries stocked and ready to share with the next visitor. Keep this sweet community tradition alive in your town!

Swap with Friends

We share hand-me-down clothes all of the time . . . for ourselves and for our children. Why not do the same with books? Look around for books in your home that you no longer read and see if you can swap books with a friend!

Most of us are always looking for ways to declutter or change things up for our kiddos. Why not swap books with a friend? Its a wonderful, cost-free way to introduce new books into your home library and help out a friend!

Baby Registry

Maybe this is normal or maybe this is weird, but as a teacher, I dreamed about all of the beautiful books I would buy for my baby when I became a mom. Fast forward to when I became pregnant. When I began to put together my baby registry, I decided to add some of these baby books to my registry.

Many of my sweet friends and family bought me these board books so that I could introduce literature early to my little girl. These books are still being read today by my toddler!

Your friends and family want to buy things for you and your expected little one. Why not throw out some book ideas while you are at it! Here are the books I registered for if you are looking for some ideas.

I hope that these 10 easy ways to build your library on a budget are helpful! Making literature available to ourselves and our children is important, but it doesn’t need to break the bank. Try a few of these budget-friendly ideas and see what works for you!

Happy shopping!

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