Storytime on a Budget

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Storytime with a baby

What is a bedtime routine without storytime? But sometimes, the issue with not having storytime at the end of the day is because books can be expensive. So we’re going to explore some books to do storytime on a budget. 

I’ve always tried to be resourceful so that I could do fun things with my kids, especially as a single mom. So let me tell you, I know how to catch a good deal. And building a library for my kids has always been a dream of mine. 

So, without further ado, here are some mom-hacks for storytime on a budget.

Why Should You Include Stories at Bedtime?

First, I’m not a big fan of T.V.’s in the bedroom for children. T.V. will overstimulate them and make it harder for them to fall asleep. So, I opt for stories at bedtime, and you should too. 

Stories at bedtime can help both you and your child unwind and relax. According to the University of Minnesota, reading can lower your heart rate and ease any tension you have in your muscles. 

Reading a story to your children at bedtime could also be a good chance for your child to reflect on the day and have positive thoughts before drifting off to sleep. For example, before I had a library for my kids, I would make up stories about a dragon, meet the storytime dragon below.

The Storytime Dragon

When my son was about a year old, and I was transitioning him from my bed to his, I didn’t have an extensive library of books to read to him every night. Also, he was getting tired of repeating the 4 or 5 books we did have. So, I started making up stories.

I wanted to make it a bit more personalized, so I made my son the main character in the story. We called him Blue Dragon. The whole gist of the story was that the Blue Dragon would go on adventures with my son’s favorite T.V. characters. At the end of the story, he’d come back to Mommy Dragon so that she could sing him to sleep. 

Thus, the creation of Dragon Stories, as my son would call them. Every story was different no matter what, and it held us over until I could get more books in our library. It still holds true and is readily available to us whenever we run out of books to read at night. 

Storytime at the Library and Library Books

I found out about storytime at the library when my son, the oldest, was about 10 months old, and I wish I had known sooner. My lovely cousin told me about it when I told her how I was tired of my days being the same. Ironically, I went to storytime every day of the week that I could. 

I want to add that the storytimes also helped me get over my postpartum depression. So, if not for your kid, for yourself. The babies had time to play and crawl around with other babies their age, and I got to watch from a safe distance. 

The storytimes got us in the door for something fun for my son, but then I started checking out books. My son was still too young to really expect him to hold his attention, but it was something I could do while I nursed him. Worked like a charm for nap time. 

Building Your Home Library for Storytime

 Despite the free options that I had available, I still wanted to have our own books. I want to worry about creating my own stories or having to worry about returning books. So I started looking into ways to get affordable books in my hands, physically or digitally. (I prefer physical books any day, though).

Physical Books

Half-Priced Books. Tried and true. One of my favorite pastimes is strolling through a book store, but Barnes and Noble is a bit too pricey. I can stroll and pick as many books as I want and stay within budget. 

ThriftBooks. It’s half-priced books but made to satisfy your online shopping addiction. Books at a reasonable price, and in good condition. 

The Book Bundler. You don’t get to handpick your books, but it’s a great option to get a good variety of books at a great price. 

eBay. Another good option for online shoppers and introverts. Buy books individually, or there are also options to buy in bulk for a better price. 

Digital Books and Subscriptions

Libby and Overdrive. Free books that you can access through your library. Must have a library card. Some of these books can be accessed on your Kindle when you download them through Kindle (FREE). 

Scribd. Book Subscription for $9/month. You have access to ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, sheet music, and documents. (Not available on Kindle)

Kindle Unlimited. An additional subscription payment, but essentially a library of books like Scribd. That is available on Kindle. Personally, I think this option is a bit more limited than Scribd is. 


There are many options available to provide your child with stories for storytime if you’re on a budget. Use your imagination, buy cheap, gently used books or subscribe to an online library. And, of course, enjoy resources at your public library. Be sure to check out our article on reasons why you should read to your child. 


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Liz R

Liz R

Hello! I am Liz Rodriguez,
I’m a single mother of two little humans and two big dogs. While I’m not screaming, “get off of that right now” or “hey! don’t put that in your mouth!” I’m trying to read a book or cleaning a mess that I JUST picked up.

I hope you enjoy your visit!


2 thoughts on “Storytime on a Budget”

  1. Well I can tell you from my personal experience that books are not only good for children and a good night sleep. I can honestly say that picking up a book and reading it for about 5 minutes had literally knocked me out. It’s relaxing and helps clear my thoughts as well. I need to read more often.

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