Acquiring an assortment of books for your child(ren) can get very, very expensive quickly. In order to do so on a budget will require some thought and planning on your part, but can certainly be done. Here are a few helpful tips on building a library for your home.
1. Buy (or get) used. Garage sales, flea markets, thrift stores, craigslist, freecycle, friends, family (because fellow book lovers hate to get rid of books, but love to pass them on to a new home) and even your local library. They are all great places to find gently loved books. Kids don't mind a few scribbles or a bent corner. They only care about the chance to read a new story with you.
2. Check out the bargain section at your local big box store. You can often get some great hardcovers for as much as 90% off retail price.
3. Costco has an amazing assortment of books for all ages. Instead of buying those giant delicious (and alarmingly addicting) muffins pick up a new book for the kids. Also why not let them look through while you finish your shopping so you can get through your shopping list little faster (expert tip: if thumbing through the pictures doesn't keep their interest, don't buy it).
4. Add books to wish lists and registries. We added all our favorites (that I hadn't already purchased) to our baby registry. Not everyone can afford the crib bedding or stroller you're dying to get, and those bottles, pacifiers and bibs are snatched up quick, what can a well meaning acquaintance pick up? How about a hardcover of Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree. I love to gift books to all the children in my life and while I'm fortunate enough to work with young children and know what most preschoolers are into I have a harder time shopping for teeny boppers, so a tip from parents is especially helpful.
5. Lastly my favorite, Scholastic Book Clubs. Remember those awesome flyer's that you used to get sent home monthly when you were a kid, with all your favorite Judy Blume books? Or was I the only dork begging my parents to spend 50 bucks on all the books I couldn't live without! If your child is in school and brings these flyer's home, use them. They have incredible deals. Also they allow your child's teacher to build their class library like no other. Giving your child the most books for your hard earned buck. Every month they have at least 1 book for a dollar each. I snatch up these deals for stocking stuffers, party favors, student gifts and just because gifts. Also the variety of books, hard covers, books on cd, books for your tablet and boxed sets are great. I have several boxed sets waiting for the day when Animal starts reading to himself by lamp curled up under his blankets words blurring into each other, chin falling into his chest as the book drops out of his hand from exhaustion. I digress. Is your child not in school yet? Don't fret, you can get a scholastic parent account. Full disclosure, I don't know the details of buying straight from scholastic from a parent account, but I have been a teacher running a scholastic account for my class for 14 years and they blow me away. Every. Year.
I have been collecting books for my child since I was 18, so it's no wonder he has so many books available to him. I know however that it's never too early or too late to fill your child's life with words, stories, and imagination builders. As an early childhood educator believe me I know how pricey and beyond you it can feel to provide your child an assortment of books. So use these tips. Read with your child. I promise you will see it was money well spent.