How to Choose Baby Books on a Budget

11:10 PM Mayen Acebron 4 Comments

I've been reading to my baby ever since he's in my womb and I continue to do so to this day. I love reading and I want my son to love reading too. I know he will learn a lot from reading hence I try to expose him to books as much as I can. So far, now that he's  almost 14 months, I can see that he likes to scan his books and sometimes when he's up for it, we read several books together. As you can see we have a small collection of books but I know it will eventually grow as our baby grows as well. Lately, I also noticed whenever I stay in one corner of his play area to read my own book, he will get his and join me. 

We rotate books, so this is not actually his entire collection.

Buying books for babies can be overwhelming especially if you are a new Mom and you are on a budget. As I've mentioned before, we are currently living in one pay check so it is really important to stay on our budget. I really don't have any idea at first how to choose baby books on a budget. 

In my world, only my best friend cousin and I are really keen to give our babies variety of books. So I always ask her for recommendations and she's been a great help. I know that there are some mommies out there who really need help on what to consider in buying baby books. I know because some of my friends who are also new moms often ask me where I get Jarvis' books and ask me for recommendations.

So I figured that maybe, my friends and I are not the only clueless first time mothers who need tips on how to choose baby books on a budget. So I put together some of the things I do and consider in buying books for babies based on my experience.

You may also like to read: 
How to Save Money While Having a Baby Part 1
How to Save Money While Having a Baby Part 2

1. Research on the age appropriate books for your baby-  It is sometimes tempting to buy books that your baby can use in the future but if you are on a budget like we do, it is essential to buy books that your baby can already use at their current age. For infants and young toddlers, it is best to get board books as they are sturdy, tear proof and drool proof.

I accidentally bought paperbacks online when Jarvis was only 5 months. I read to him the books but I cannot let him touch the book. Babies love to explore and one way to do so is by investigating, meaning look, touch or taste, anything we present to them. Thus it's essential to give them sturdy books. You may also want to buy books that have textures for sensorial activities for your baby. 

2. Make a list of books that you want to buy and prioritize- This is very important also especially if you are on a budget and you cannot go spending spree on all the books you want after your intensive research. Also, I doubt that you can find all the books you need in one place. So even if you have unlimited funds for baby books, keeping a list can still be helpful just to keep you on track. You may put specific titles of books on your list or you can put just the categories. Categories may include, story books, books about animals, potty train books etc. 

3. Buy second-hand books- I found several online book stores that sell brand new and 2nd hand baby books. Since I am on a budget (what else is new) I opted for second-hand books. But I will buy brand new books if I really need one and if I cannot find a counterpart from second-hand book shops. In the Philippines, brand-new books range from Php 300.00 to Php 800.00 (probably more) depending on the book. With second-hand books, you may find good ones from Php 50.00 to Php 250.00 board books.

4. Find books that educate and use realistic images or as close to reality as possible- We are practicing Montessori at home and Montessori recommends books that have realistic plots and illustrations. Although I tend to deviate on that department as we have books that have talking animals in them (Jarvis seems to really like them), I do away from mainstream fantasy books like fairy tales and cartoons. Although I love fairy tales and mickey mouse, I am with Montessori that babies are learning about their world and it will be very helpful to give them books that will show them the reality

Unfortunately, there are not many realistic baby books available in popular book stores in the Philippines. I scanned the book aisle for babies/children in one of the most popular book store in the Philippines and I saw mostly fantasy books and cartoons. I didn't even find one book that is realistic. So I frequent 2nd hand book shop because they have a wide variety of books plus they are way cheaper. In fact, I found some of our best books in Book for Less.

Love these books so much for story telling!

5. Follow your child's interest- It is great to have a handful of books of different kinds. However, if you are on a budget and you can't afford to buy just any book at the moment and you want your baby to enjoy the books right away, it's a great idea to observe and know what's your baby's interest. My son loves animals and for a time he was obsessed with dogs. I bought him a book that has photos of dogs and babies and he likes that book up to this day.

6.  Read the book before you buy them. -  This is probably the best tip I could give on how to choose baby books on a budget. If you are buying books in a book store it is best to read them first. Children's books are often short and you can easily read or scan them. Take that extra time to read the books before buying them. We need to make sure we really like what's written in the book and we want our children to read that book. 

There was a time when I went shopping for books and Jarvis was with me. I was carrying him so It was really hard for me to read the book plus we were in a hurry because he's a little grumpy at that time so I scanned a book, saw a lot of pictures of animals, so I thought it's a good book. But when I read it at home, I decided I don't like it.

The book talks about the sounds of the animals but it's not the sound that we are familiar with. You know how the sound of the animals differ in every country and continent? Say for example the sound of dogs, in the Philippines, it's usually "aw aw" in the US it's "woof woof" or "bow wow". I just want to introduce Jarvis to the sound of animals he will most likely to encounter. Thus I removed that book from Jarvis' basket because it might just confuse him.

I hope you find these tips helpful. I hope you'll find great books for your little human on your next trip bookstore. Thanks for being here!


  1. These tips are great! There are many book sale especially for preschoolers.

    And by the way, I really like the print on the pillow!

    1. Thank you. I bought the pillow sa SM dept. Store lang but that was a long time ago. Hehe... I usually cover it with throw pillow case. The case was in the wash when I took the photo. But I think the pillow goes well with the theme. Hehe..

  2. Back in 2015, we bought books for Nate worth 20 pesos each during the annual sale of Booksale. Ugh, I wish to go back there but it's a lot more difficult when the husband is not around, especially since we only commute and the books were heavy. Nate still reads these books even up to now.

    1. Aww.. 20 pesos books what a steal! Anyway, I feel you with the difficulty to go out without the hubby and and own transpo. I feel the same way too because my husband works graveyard. So my son and I just usually go out with my parents because they have a car, so I just try to maximize the opportunity and buy everything we need, books, toiletries, etc. when we go out with them.


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