Last year, at kind of the last minute, I decided I wanted to do a book advent calendar for the girl. She really loved it and has already told me she wants to do it again.
Buying 24 new books to build a book advent calendar from every year does not sound like something anyone would want to do, and it would be quite expensive to do so as well. I lucked out in that a school book order came in just in time last year, and I bought five new holiday books to add to the pile. I’ll probably buy fewer this year, or at least fewer new books.
How to Save Money on a Book Advent Calendar
If you’re looking to start a book advent calendar without breaking the bank, here are some tips:
Find books around the house that your child has never read, or hasn’t read lately but would probably still be interested in. This is a great way to reintroduce books or to get kids to read books they may have gotten for their birthday or bought at some other time but haven’t gotten into yet.
Grab your stash of holiday books, if you have one, and add some of those to the mix. Because they’re only read during this one month of the year, it’s almost like they are new books, even if they aren’t. And you might have specific books for specific days (like a “Night Before Christmas” book on Christmas Eve) that you will want to use every year.
Hit the used book store. We have an amazing used book store in town, where you can get all sorts of books for a dollar or two a pop (some are more of course, but there are few children’s books there that cost more than $5 or so). Check the library’s bookstore if it has one, or even thrift stores if you don’t have a used bookshop handy.
Take an old book to your nearest Little Free Library and exchange it for a new-to-you one if you can. These little libraries are notorious for often being lacking in kids’ books, so you might not find one, but leave your cast-off book anyway. Good karma.
Shop used online. If you’re a fan of Amazon or eBay, you can often find specific books you are looking for that will cost just pennies. The girl love the Arthur chapter books, for example, and pretty much all of them are available used on Amazon for a penny. Of course you’ll pay a few dollars in shipping, so if the new book is inexpensive it may actually be cheaper, so do the math. I bought a set of them on eBay a couple of years ago and paid about a dollar a book.
Ask for books as gifts. This doesn’t help much for this year, but in the future you can ask for books for other holidays and save them up for your book advent calendar. Or buy “extra” books when shopping for other things and keep them in reserve. I have a set of Little House on the Prairie books we haven’t started reading yet, so I will probably stick the first one in the calendar this year.
Do you have any other tips for saving money on books, for a book advent calendar or otherwise? Have you ever made one of these? I’d love to hear about it!