Prepping and Homeschooling On A Budget

Many preppers make the choice to homeschool their children. Many teachers who are preppers also collect textbooks in case of the fall of society, and plan to help rebuild it through education. Education is extremely important for all of us, and we should be striving to always be learning. Being a prepper and homeschooling can become expensive easily.

This is just that much more important in an emergency situation. Schools may not be available, or even safe to go to one day. I always hope that day never comes, but I also always hope everyone is ready for it to happen. The one key component to this is books. How do you obtain books to homeschool without destroying your bank account? Well, there are several great ways! Books can be very expensive, especially if you are collecting them.

Thrift Stores

Thrift stores are an excellent source of many things preppers can use. The best part about this is the discounted prices. Some stores run a color tag sale. Like, all white tags are full price. Yellow tags are 25% off. Green tags are 50% off. These are fantastic because you can find some even better deals this way. Or, if you know an older person who is willing to go with you, they automatically get a discount, typically.

Garage Sales

You never know what you will find at a garage sale, and that is the fun of it. The search. Sometimes you may find something amazing, and sometimes you may come away empty handed. There is absolutely no guarantee that you will find what you’re looking for. But, if you do, you can pick it up for next to nothing. Typically when someone has a garage sale, it is simply to get rid of excess stuff taking up space in their home or garage. They are just happy to see it go away.


Some libraries will sell used and/or possibly outdated books, and even have free events. You’ll want to check with your local library and see if they do run these kinds of events and when they are. Who knows what you will find there, but it is always worth checking it out.

Dollar Stores

At the dollar store that I go to, I’ve noticed an increase in the volume of books they sell. All for $1. Some of it is just junk, and some of it can be a big score. It is very hit and miss, as many of these options are. There is no guarantee of success. But, it is always worth the time to check it out.

The last time I was there, I found a book by a favorite author for $1. I’ve since made a list of her books I have, but even if it turned out to be a duplicate, I could turn around and give it as a gift or donate it to a library, give it to a friend, or anyone. It was brand new and only cost $1.

The biggest annoyance with this is it can be time consuming is that there is no organization to it. The books are simply stacked on a table. If you happen to find some at your dollar store, be sure that you have some time to really sort through these.  

Neighborhood Free Libraries

I’m seeing these pop up more and more around town, and they are the coolest thing. It is a little covered box with shelves and a door to protect the books, and it is free to anyone to come and take books or donate them to it for others as well. I am always stopping to check these out when I see them. Who knows what I’ll find, and I always keep track of them when I am ready to get rid of books as well. You could even put one up at the corner or edge of your yard or driveway.

Book Stores

Many small local bookstores will do trade-ins and give you store credit. Chain stores do not do this, but many small stores do. This is a great way to get rid of the books you no longer need, and not break the bank for updated or newer ones. The ones that I have been to generally sell books for 50% off the cover price, and give 25% back in store credit when you trade in a book.

If you are going to a chain store, they have bargain and clearance sections that can be great as well. It is always worth it to take the time and check things out. I actually found some other “school” supplies when I was in the bookstore the other day on clearance. I found some file folders, binders, and a few other things. They are for a specific project, but they are still school supplies. I’m always amazed at what I can find in the clearance sections.

Wish List

This is an excellent way to not only acquire books you need, but help family and friends find the perfect holiday gifts that are useful for you as a prepper, or your kids who are homeschooled. I am always asking if my family wants books or has a wish list that I can buy from for books around the holidays, especially for those who have kids. If their child is reading a series, I’ll find out which ones they have and then pick up the next couple for them.

Digital Copies

As a prepper in a catastrophic situation, this option may be useless. But, in the meantime with no emergencies currently, it is a very viable option. I personally prefer real books though. Because after let’s say an EMP, our eReaders aren’t going to be much more than a paperweight.

The great thing about this option currently is that you can find really cheap and even free books. If there is a way to convert these to a PDF file and print, it would be extremely useful. Although ink and paper can be expensive. But it is certainly an option. Just think about the possible issue with it being digital and not printed on paper.


Do you know other parents who are homeschooling their kids? They may be happy to trade books they are no longer using, or you have some they need. It is always worth taking the time to ask and see if you can do some sort of trading for what each of you needs. This is a great prepper trait overall too. Trading, bartering, sharing. Helping others will come back to you in more ways than one. I happen to enjoy it, when I can help someone else.


When looking for books, no matter what kind, I would recommend making a list of anything specific you are looking for. I would also make another list of books you already have to avoid buying duplicates. I have a favorite author that I collect all of her books. However, she has written so many that my husband keeps a list on his phone so that when we find any, we check the list to avoid buying duplicates. That is a huge waste of money. List making is definitely the way to go for us!

If you are saving money on books, you may be able to do more with homeschooling in other ways instead. Maybe you can afford more for art supplies, or even upgrades to the room you use to homeschool. Build an area specifically for it for your kids, which will help them focus on just school and learning.

Or, that money may be able to go toward other prepping items for your family as well. That is all up to you, really. I always say that when I save money in one area, it affords me the opportunity to use it in other areas.

Where are the places you buy cheap books that you love? I’m always looking for new ideas.


    • Kay

      A great way to find books when homeschooling. This is also very useful for getting a great educational library of book a for your children. Im currently homeschooling during the current pandemic but I’ll be using these tips even when my daughter is back at school as she loves reading! Thanks for some great tips!

  • Scott J DeNicola

    I always read your stuff in amazement of all the things I have never given thought to and yet again you have surprised me! Never having homeschooled I didn’t realize that you would have to be purchasing your own books. These are some great ideas as far as inexpensive ways to track down the necessities to homeschool. I have definitely seen text books at garage sales in the past here in NY.

  • Tracy @ Cleland Clan

    I’ve never thought of my book hoarding tendencies as prepping for disaster, but I’m pretty well set. I love to scour all of the places you’ve mentioned when I’m looking for books for my classroom. I have at least 2000 books in my classroom library, most of which belong to me. At home, I also have a lot of books (not as many as I used to). I also have some nonfiction books that would be helpful in the case of an emergency or total breakdown in services, such as books about preserving food, first aid, and DIY books, among others.

  • Despite Pain

    Homeschooling is becoming more and more popular everywhere I think, and if you are thinking ahead to an emergency situation, it would become a necessity, rather than a choice. I love your suggestions for finding and buying books. I always love looking at books in second-hand shops. You can normally find some real treasures.

    • Snehal @ Beauty Tending

      Digital copies (ebooks) of some physical books are so easily available these days. This greatly helps in educating children who are home schooled or even other wise. I remember getting ebooks during my graduation years. Even our teachers used to suggest us getting ebooks. 🙂

  • Trish Veltman

    Come any emergency, I’m well prepared with books – we’ve so many we’ve had to store some in the garage too! It’s the op-shops (thrift) – they always have such a wide selection of books. Our library also holds book sales a couple of times a year when they sell off under-borrowed or old stock at 10c per book. pour local Lions group also holds a book sale once a year, which is a massive event in the area. Last time we donated a box of books we’d finished with – then came straight back home with another boxful!

    • The Prepping Wife

      I had to put a bookcase in my office because my desk was overloaded with books that I’m reading and reviewing in my blog. It was a bit overwhelming. Plus there’s what feels like a million scattered around the house too.

  • Britt

    The free neighbourhood libraries are just starting to pick up steam around here, and I love seeing it! The idea that these books are available to everyone regardless of their current life situation makes me incredibly happy

    • The Prepping Wife

      They make me happy to see too, Britt! It is such a great way to share books and resources, without costing any money. I much prefer to donate my books to the neighborhood free libraries than to a thrift store these days. My husband and I make it a point to walk to one nearby at least once every couple of weeks to see what is there and drop some books off.

  • Subhashish Roy

    Even if someone is not prepping foreseeing a disaster, these are some great ways of getting access to books that we may require or wish to buy. Great list.

  • Thuy

    Budgeting and saving money is so important in every aspect of life including homeschool. I love all of these suggestions, I consider myself a thrift shopper and I love finding pre-loved clothes and books for cheap prices. It’s like a treasure hunt

  • Lyosha

    This is such an important and useful post! Home schooling is important for many families, I think it is very important to have it on budget because after all we do all want to keep budget

  • Debra Roberts

    It really is amazing how many books can be found at garage sales. I practically gave away my old college and nursing textbooks and they were immaculate condition! I’m sure storage is an issue, so maybe download Kindle books as much as you can; especially older editions as you can get those for next to nothing…although there is no guarantee of an active internet connection in the face of disaster!

  • jerry godinho

    Great article whether you home school your kids or not. A great read even for book collectors. Some of the best books I have found are at Garage sales. I like recipe books and the same book that is 40 bucks at the store i have picked up at a garage sale for a buck. The PDF version is a great example if you have a storage issue. When i was doing my mba i just bought a lot of books via pdf you can either rent it for three months so that is a great idea. Digital and trading is an excellent idea and going to thrift stores. They are a gold mine. A well written amazing post.

  • Nina Nichols

    These are very practical suggestions especially the Thrift Stores. This difficult time brings so much suffering and there are still needs that must be met. Thrift stores is the place to go get stuff without breaking your bank account.

  • Melanie williams

    There are some really good tips here for sure, as at the minute many people just do not have the money to spend x

  • Kathrin

    I like these ideas and have used many of them over the years. Before the lockdown, I went to visit my friend who has four children. I wanted to bring them something educational but since there are so many, didn’t want to spend too much. At the local pound shop, I found lots of great children’s books for £1, some even interactive, and they loved the ones I brought them.
    Personally, I get a lot of books from a client who buys them from a pound shop but doesn’t want to keep them after reading. Then I read them and bring them to another pound shop afterwards to complete the circle!

  • Tracy @ Cleland Clan

    Library sales are my downfall. I have over 2500 books in my classroom at school–you could say I hoard books. It’s gotten better since the kids are grown, and we’ve moved into a smaller home. However, I still have books for all ages and interests. I can’t resist buying them for the grandkids.

  • Stephanie S

    What a great post with some very helpful information. We love going to our local library, and checking out books. With the pandemic currently going on the library has some strict rules in place. I’ve been able to find a few websites that offer free reading materials as well.–That has been very useful. We often find a lot of things online, and they are free! It really does help saving money, and being able to find a lot of these things for cheap, or even for free! Thank you for sharing these homeschooling budget tips.

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