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I’ve bought all my schoolbooks for the year. Want the total?

I think I might need to still buy one more book, so the title isn’t quite correct, but I’m pretty much all done.

I spent $114.39 at and $87.61 at Amazon. However, thanks to the many of you that signed up for Swagbucks using the links in my Swagbucks post, I had enough Amazon gift cards to pay for my Amazon order. Yay! You all are awesome…thank you!

So, my total out of pocket expenses for schoolbooks this year was only $114.39. And even without the Swagbucks, my total still would have been just $202. This is a huge, huge discount from the normal prices for these books. A single Saxon math book can easily cost $40-$50 alone, and I’ve got 3 people using Saxon math.

And don’t worry…I did actually buy a lot of books for my kids (they’re not going without!). I just didn’t pay anything close to full price for them.

My biggest and best bargain-hunting tool is, a site I’ve written about before (I am not affiliated with them, though! I just love them to pieces.). It’s like a frustration-free, no-auction version of Ebay and it rocks. I can find non-consumable schoolbooks with nary a problem there, and I can often even find consumable books.

So, is my first stop, and if I can’t find something there, I will sometimes look on Ebay even though I dislike the auction format and I think that most of the Buy It Now stuff is overpriced. This year, because of my Swagbucks rewards, I checked Amazon. They’ve got a lot of good second-hand book for sale, so if doesn’t have what you need, Amazon is a good alternative (and if you have Swagbucks rewards, Amazon is a GREAT alternative!). is still my first love, though.

Of course, buying books on isn’t quite as easy as ordering them brand new, so here are a few tips.

First, if you know what book you want, find the ISBN on a traditional online store, and then enter that into the search box on, lovely though it is, is not long on book descriptions. So, if you’re searching for Math 76, it’s hard to tell which result is the teacher’s manual, which is the student text, and which is the meeting book. Having the correct ISBN ensures that you’ll be ordering the right book.

Buy a book that’s Like New or Good instead of one that’s Brand New. In most instances, this can save you a lot of money, and the quality will only take a slight hit. If your kids are like mine, their schoolbooks are going to look, uh, not brand-new by the end of the year anyways, so it doesn’t make sense to pay more for a book that just has a nicer cover.

Consider buying a partially-used consumable book. As a rule, consumable books are much harder to locate on the used market, so the pickings are sometimes slim. Oftentimes you can find a consumable with only the first 10-20 pages used, though, because a family will buy a book, start using it, and then decide it doesn’t work. As long as you don’t think the early pages are going to be super-essential for your child, this is a great way to save some money.

If possible, buy several books from the same seller to get a discount on shipping. There are some pretty big book sellers on, so if you keep an eye on the seller you’re buying a book from, you may be able to score a few from the same seller and save yourself a few dollars on shipping. automatically reduces shipping costs when you purchase 2 or more items from a single seller, so this requires no effort on your part or on the part of the seller.

If you’re a homeschooler still in need of books, you should definitely give a try. And if you’re in college and still need some books, you should really check before you head out to the (over-priced) college bookstore. The amount of money you can save yourself is staggering (and you can sell your books back on when you’re done with them. But that’s another post for another day.).

Today’s 365 post: My sewing machine has been busy.

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Friday 21st of March 2014

I was wondering if you might be willing to break down those costs, per child. I only have one, (he's 9, in the 3rd grade) and I've often considered homeschooling, and now he is starting to express interest. But we have to get to a point where he will do the work without me sitting on him and dragging it out of him first. I wondered how much it cost for the books for your child that is close to him in age. Thank you so much for all this information!


Friday 21st of March 2014

It's so, so hard to put a number on it, because it all depends what curriculum you use and where you buy it. I'd say that I can buy curriculum for my 4th grader for around $100, as long as I can get a fair amount of it used.

In 4th grade, a lot of the curriculum is not consumable, which means that it's a lot easier to find on the used market, and you can save a lot of money that way!

treasure Hunters Roadshow

Monday 23rd of May 2011

Hi! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any trouble with hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing several weeks of hard work due to no backup. Do you have any methods to stop hackers?


Saturday 19th of February 2011

I know this is a bit late, but I am a college student and have been buying my books used for almost four years now. I would definitely recommend checking out It is a search engine of all the websites (amazon, half, abe, etc.), but what's really cool is that you can make a list of all the books you need and it will tell you the groupings to buy at each bookseller. Each semester I used to spend three or four hours searching for the best prices, now it takes me twenty minutes to plug in the ISBN and I get an even better price. It also does the same thing to find the best price for you to sell back your books, if you want to do that. Anyway, thanks for all your great posts. I've been reading your blog for the last couple weeks and I think it's just great!


Wednesday 3rd of November 2010

I just wanted to mention a website that we just started using..Its call paperbackswap. Check it out..I love it!


Saturday 21st of August 2010

Hello! I thought I'd put in a plug for it searches several sites for books and shows them with shipping included so you can compare prices. It searches,,, and others. I find it a great resource for finding the books we need for our literature based curriculum.

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