I have always been a very frugal person, as well as a planner. I remember very distinctly as a young child
hoarding saving up my allowance money for some great something I would have to have in the future. One time it was Barbie things, another time it was a plane ticket to see old friends, and over years and years, at the age of 22, I had enough to help put a decent downpayment on a house with my husband right before we married. Sometimes my savings are merely for the future, sometimes they are for something specific, but I very rarely make impulse buys, even for little things; it’s just not in my nature.
I say all this so you can understand just how difficult it can be to be a frugal bookworm in a world with so many shiny new books constantly being released. Again, being as careful as I am, I don’t generally buy new books anyways, unless it’s an author I know and love, and generally it’ll also be a sequel to a series I’ve started. But even then, hardcovers can be expensive. And if the book releases at a time when nothing else is really catching my eye, what’s a frugal bookworm to do? Go to Barnes and Noble and just fork over $17? Stalk B&N.com and Amazon and wherever else for a good deal, meanwhile wondering what else I can justify buying to get free shipping (because part of my careful planning/frugal nature is refusing to pay for memberships or for shipping)? Pray for coupons and ebook deals and the like? And because of this whole free shipping/what else should I buy debacle, I can’t simply pre-order. It’s not that simple.
At Christmas, I knew there were books coming up in January, March, and April that I really wanted. I asked for a Barnes and Noble gift card, and thankfully got one, which was helpful. Then I got some gift cards I wasn’t expecting for Amazon, also helpful. I literally wrote out a “game plan” for when I would buy these various books with their various release dates and from where and with what. Since the start of the new year I have gotten Seraphina in paperback (it was important for me to wait until it was available in PB), Mistborn books 2 & 3, and Fairest with little cost thanks to the gift cards, but I’m still trying to figure out where/when/how to acquire Firefight, which I was going to get last month but then I wondered if I wanted it SO badly to get it in hardback, especially when I only own Steelheart as an ebook, and then I realized I will probably feel the same about The Winner’s Crime, but I am going to NEED to get Shadow Scale when it releases…
Basically, I’ve just got this swirling mess of thoughts in my head that I am trying to organize into ways to get ALL THE BOOKS for as cheaply as possible.
Any other frugal bookworms out there? How do you find is the best way to stretch a dollar for books or get new books at good prices?
I have this struggle too! With backlist books it’s not such a big deal because I wait and either buy them used(I buy a ton of used books at Hastings–not sure if maybe they’re in your area? They have sales a lot and they only take used books that are in pretty much great condition so it always feels like a steal) or wait to see if the ebook ever goes on sale. I have the most struggle with figuring out new releases & especially books in a series. For me, books that are in a series I’m enjoying automatically get first priority over standalone or first in series new releases. And like you, I often make a gameplan for how to buy books. I’ve only used a tiny portion of my Amazon GC from Christmas, and this week I want to make a plan for how to get the most out of it as possible. It’s always hard with pre-orders for me because of shipping. It’s such a struggle!
Glad to know I’m not the only one! We do have a Hasting’s, and I don’t go often enough! Sometimes I go and it’s a real miss, but sometimes I go and find a good deal! But like you said, the biggest struggle is definitely those new releases you know you have to have…
Wow, it’s awesome that you plan so much when purchasing books – I kind of go on whim, and I’m sure that’s not easy on my bank account. But thankfully I do like to only buy books that I have a strong feeling I will love. Have you tried the library? Maybe you’re not a fan of reading books read by hundreds of people (like germophobe me) or waiting for the book to be available (which sucks) ? But maybe you can just request the ebook? Having read it will make it easier to wait til you can own it I think. But your game plan of maximizing gift card opportunities is a great one!
I definitely check the library for books I don’t feel the need to own, but the problem is I’m starting to want to own more, ha ha. Though I’m glad you mentioned it because I admit I haven’t checked a while with all the books I got for Christmas waiting to be read, and it looks like they actually put one of the books I’ve thought about getting up on their site, so I’ve just put a hold on it, yay! But yeah, I always go the ebook route with the library, but I have broken down before and bought the book before while waiting for it!
I think I woudl consider myself a frugal reader as well, only my stragey is very different. I decide whcih books I really want and I buy them no matter what the price. So for example I got money from my grandma for christmas and I pre-ordered most of the new releases of my favourite authors. And beside that I try and not buy anything.
I recently got a gift card from my sister, which allowed me to buy a few more books I really wanted to and I usually get a few books I really want to for review or I consider if I really want them now and make sure to consider that question for a few days before I actually buy them if I can afford it. I buy most of my book either throguh Kobo or through the bookdepository and I can’t buy books anywhere that it cheaper then that. It can be hard sometimes to decide which book to buy and which not.
At least you’re good about getting yourself committed to buying something. Once money is involved, I become wishy washy… “Do I REALLY need that?” I tend to ask myself. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t so afraid of just paying two or three more dollars than the number inside my head.
I have the same problem – my instinct with money is to save it, not spend it. But I want all of the books! Making regular use of my library really helps – they have a fantastic selection and I can usually get what I want within a few days. I also don’t feel as bad when I don’t end up liking the book.
If I love a book and want to add it to my collection, I usually look at used bookstores first. I have found a lot of popular books in good condition for $1 each in Half Price Books’ clearance section. I will also look at marketplace (like Amazon’s marketplace or Half.com) and remainder stock sellers (like BookOutlet) online. If I’m still dying to buy a book I can’t find through one of those sources, I will either wait for a better deal or take the plunge and buy it new. Amazon is usually the cheapest option in that case and I can use credit card rewards points, so that always helps. When I do pre-order (which is rarely), I make use of prime shipping through a relative’s account.
It sounds like your system with gift cards and planning works for you, but definitely look into using the library if you don’t already.
I definitely like to check out the library for the more “risky” reads that I’m not sure I’ll love or not, but it’s when these sequels to books I really loved come out that I start to think about buying. I tried buying used books online once a long time ago, and the experience left me with a sour taste in my mouth, so as far as used books go, if I can’t see it in person, I just can’t get myself to buy it. That’s great that you’ve had good experiences with it though! That definitely helps with the cost!
I get to buy books only once a year, thanks to my mom, so it’s like I bring out all my money that I’ve saved up for that one day. It doesn’t even matter if it’s hardcover or paperback, I just buy. In a way, though, that counts as being frugal, right? Haha. But if I do get the freedom, I know I’ll be buying books left and right.
If you’re buying your books only once a year, I’d say that’s pretty frugal, even if it’s not by choice, ha ha!
I am the OPPOSITE of a frugal book buyer. If there is a book I’m interested in, and the library doesn’t have it? BUY. I just love buying books, and I buy them all the time.
Although, I guess that paragraph should be in past tense, because I am currently on a book buying ban. I have allowed myself ONE book per month this year, because I have HUNDREDS of unread physical books (and even more ebooks) that I need to read. I can’t just keep buying books that I never end up reading. It’s a waste of money. So then I decided to only buy one a month. I didn’t even buy one in January! So it is going well so far 😀
I must add that $17 for a hardback is amazing. I think your frugal book buying ways would be even more under pressure if you lived in Australia. Our paperbacks are $19.99.
Yikes! I didn’t realize books were so expensive in Australia! Is everything more expensive there? Do they jack up the price because you guys have the market on koalas and thus everyone wants to be there? (Or maybe that’s just me :))
But good for you for slowing down your intake of books! I think that is one of the big issues with buying so much, is you accumulate more than you can read!
We are one of he top countries in terms of cost of living. EVERYTHING is so expensive here, it’s ridiculous T.T
Koalas are very cute, I mus say.
Exactly! I need to start reading the books that I told myself I COULD NOT leave behind!
Love this post! After being a pretty heavy book-buyer in my high school years, I successfully broke the habit when in college and grad school – who are we kidding, not having the money for books helps haha. Anyways, I started blogging only a few months ago and I’m already wanting to buy so many books! I’m going to do my best to stick to the library, but now that I’m hearing about all these new awesome books before they are even released, waiting until they show up at the library seems like torture! Luckily, my library system is pretty big and seems to get new picks fairly quickly… I think I’m going to start entering more giveaways and spending some time just hanging out at the books store (and reading a whole book while I’m there? hehe).
Yes, when you start blogging it’s so much harder because you hear about all these books and you want to check them out! I remember pre-ordering a book that was getting mentioned on blogs and that sounded interesting, but it had not even been getting many reviews or a lot of hype, and I ended up so disappointed, so I’ve been a lot more careful about what I actually buy (vs. borrow from the library) since then!
I used to only buy books but since I started my blog, I’ve been so tempted to buy ALL THE BOOKS. Blogging has opened my eyes to see so many new books and well, I want them all. Side note: I LOVED Seraphina. I have an arc of Shadow Scale on my bookshelf right now, and I’m hoping to read it ASAP.
Ahhhh that’s so awesome you have Shadow Scale! I have read Seraphina before, I borrowed it from the library, but I loved it so much I wanted to buy it. But yes, the temptation to buy more books definitely increased as I started blogging!
I agree. I’m a very frugal person. I use coupons at the grocery store and save in any way I possibly can by looking for sales, but when it comes to book I sometimes just have to have them. I have fallen in love with library book sales and bookoutlet, but I am still willing to pay full price at barnes and noble and amazon.
I need to find out if my library has any good book sales! I hear people mention those from time to time!
I AM A FRUGAL AS WELL. But this year, I’ve decided to buy one new release a month. That way, I can actually accumulate books overtime, because I do NOT have that many books, and that makes me pretty sad.
I don’t think one book a month is bad! It is certainly nice to acquire physical books to read!
I am totally frugal also, which is why I use my library so much and am so blessed to have a great library. I used to have this thing, though, where I wouldn’t buy myself books. I loved getting them as gifts. And I wanted them badly. But I wouldn’t buy them for myself. Because they felt like an indulgence, even if they were only $5 for a paperback and I was on such a tight budget then that I didn’t feel like I could spend money on anything that wasn’t a necessity. So, now I really appreciate when I love a book and want to own it and want to support the author with my money and can buy the book without stressing at all 🙂 It’s quite a bit of fun.
I’m super, super frugal so I don’t buy books unless I absolutely know I love them. (I work at a library so it’s very easy for me to grab new releases fairly soon after they come out.) Actually. . .I don’t know when I last bought a new book. Most books I really love I put on my Birthday and Christmas list and everything else I pick up used. It’s not super exciting, but I don’t mind doing it that way.
Well that’s an awesome perk of your job, for sure! I used to be better about getting stuff at the library though like you, I try to get most of my own books by asking for them for birthday or Christmas. Unfortunately, there are just too many books coming out now that I really want that are too far from my birthday or Christmas!