Garage sales, of course!
My first set of homeschool shelves (now much, much fuller)- found on Craigslist for $20.00 each
I always find books at yard sales. Tons of books- good books.
I love those big dusty boxes in the corner of a garage packed with books to rummage through. I nearly always come away with at least a few. Or, like today, a bag full. Usually a quarter each or less.
These are books I want my kids to read. It seems nearly everybody with kids has collected at least a few classics along the way. Sure, there is some twaddle thrown in- I allow the kids to pick out whatever they want. For a quarter, I don't mind buying it.
It is surprising how often I will come across a curriculum-type book as well. Today I got a great workbook of sight words I will use with the younger ones. Again, a quarter.
Other homeschool items I look for:
Always, always, craft supplies. People love to get rid of reams of paper, craft kits, scrapbooking supplied they thought they would use and didn't. Stuff is very frequently still unopened.
Pens, pencils, notebooks. Today we found a really cool magnifying glass.
Educational games. People must get tons of this stuff from well-meaning relatives, and never open it.
Outdoor sports equipment (today I found two nearly new kid-size tennis rackets, $2.00 each)
Storage, shelves, chairs, desks. I also try Craigslist.
Bookshelves and white boards (today I found this bulletin board for my ooo-la-la girl, and brand-new games:)
Books such as A Dummies Guide To, reference books, sets of early readers, anything that could be educational like maps, wildlife guides, art books.
We have been searching for bedding for one of the girls, today we found a like-new PB quilt and shams for $10. She loves it.
Things to avoid:
-driving too far (I have wasted gas and time on sales that turned out to not be worth it
-buying if I don't need it. I was soooo tempted today by a set of Pottery Barn dishes for $25.00- that I don't need
-anything overpriced. Even if it's less than in the store, if it isn't dirt cheap I avoid it
-having the kids with me means that I only choose the most promising sales. Today we hit three- for now, that is our max.
Things to look for:
-go the first day of sale, always
-neighborhood sales are great so you only have to park once, and can keep one child in a stroller
-upscale family neighborhoods, so long as the merchandise is priced right
I generally wait to purchase any extra curriculum until later in the summer, after I have tried some sales first.
Yes, garage sale shopping is unpredictable, but that is the fun of the hunt- don't you think?