Monday, May 30, 2011

Cheap Books!

Reading is by far one of my favorite activities. It stimulates the imagination and teaches me a lot, it's relaxing and if done correctly can be very cheap. Here are a few ways you can turn this great past time into a frugal one.

Library: Utilize your local library by checking books out. They will often let you request books they do not have in stock and will get them new or from another library. If you are a audio book fan the library is the best way to get the book. Also the library is a great way to check out movies for free.

Paper Back Swap: Is a website where book trading takes place. It's an awesome way to share books for free. Also look in your local classified adds to find local Paper Back Swaps. I like the one that my University I work at hosts.

Amazon: Amazon is an awesome resource when looking for cheap books. You can buy new or used and at incredible prices. It's also a great recourse for selling books you are no longer using. If done correctly you can purchase books at practically no cost, by reading and then reselling on Amazon. If you do not have the space for book shelves go for the ebook option. Whenever I get a book for my Ipad it's much cheaper then if buying new from Amazon. However buying used is still the best gig.

Local used book stores: If you do not mind hunting for a while to find what you want Used book stores are extremely cheap and often fun. Spend an afternoon browsing through books.

Mega Stores: I do not really suggest using this method, there books are usually highly over priced however patience and a little bit of the coupon mentality can help. Waiting for large sales can often lead to great deals, just do not get sucked into purchasing a rewards system. If you work close to one maybe you should just use your lunch break reading a favorite book off the shelf during your break.

Share: Last but not least share books with friends, family, and co-workers. My siblings are really good at this and it gives us some to chat about which is always fun. I also have a cousin I love to share books with, every time I find a great one I want to pass it on to him.

Reading is typically a cheap past time and it's one of the best ways to learn. So happy reading!!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

"Fix it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without."

Getting as much use as possible out of consumer goods is a great way to save. The motto "Fix it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without" is something we can all do better. It's also a great thing to ask yourself before making a new purchase. Is there some way I could fix what I used to use to do this task? Is the item truly worn out or am I just frustrated trying to keep up with the Jones's Can I get by with what I have? Do I really need this item or is this an impulse buy? So below is a list of a few ways we can put this mentality to practical use!

Clothing: Clothes go through a life cycle that can be better utilized. First off we have our "Nice Clothes" that we wear when we are out and about. Either to work or other settings where we really want to look nice. My clothes almost always start in this category excluding some T-shirts or sporting wear that could never fit into this category. As they begin to wear out and fade I move them into my "Work" pile. Which I use when working around the house on projects. I don't mind if they get paint on them or if holes start to wear through. As items get too worn out to wear they can be used as rags for cleaning or changing the oil in the car. At which point I usually toss them.

Tools: Tools for me fall under the do without category. Only purchase tools you will use on a regular basis. Do not purchase a tile saw for one small tile job. Rent one for just a few bucks a day or borrow one from a friend or neighbor. This is one I actually struggle with, I am always tempted to buy because I think I will use it more than I really do.

Electronics: Anyone that knows me knows that I love electronics. However I have found great ways to make things do. My current laptop is almost 7 years old now. Every time apple releases a new Macbook I start frothing from the mouth. But in reality I use my laptop for a few small things. Writing papers, surfing the web, and watching movies. All of which my old Powerbook G4 can handle. Also it's always tempting to jump at the new flat screen TV. However our thrift store TV gets the job done. Try to make do with what you have rather then purchasing the newest hottest electronic.

I hope you can use this advice to better serve your needs and fulfil your true wants! Purchasing things we want is just fine, however waisting our money isn't. What is something you do to use the Motto "Fix it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without'?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Save money while taking time off from your regular routine.

Taking time off can be a costly affair. However having time to relax and enjoy doing a few things you love is well worth it. Interestingly enough a few of my favorite things to do with time off is make more money, work on things around the house that build value or spend time in nature. All of which can be done for very little. I had a week break between semesters of school and it has been very productive. I worked a little extra at one of my part time jobs banking some extra cash. In addition to that over the past few days I have been working outside in the yard. It's been great soak up some sun and when the backyard fence is done it will add value to the home. So far the cost of materials? $0.

Now let me explain, the lot for our house used to be 4 acres. A developer separated the lot into 4 different lots. Rendering the old fence line useless. So after talking with my neighbor I was able to start digging up the old fence and move it onto my property. A day later and about 20 blisters I am about 40% done with the project. I have also been searching classified ads for used fencing that I can use to close off the last section of the yard. I hope to do it all for under a few hundred dollars. However the added value of the fence should more than compensate. One could argue that I could have spent more time at work and just paid to get it done. I have two responses one I don't get paid enough for that to actually work for me very often and two I love working in the yard so it's a win win situation.

What do you like to do when you have time off? Does your family have a Weekend business that provides extra income?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Never Buy A DVD Again:

Spending money on entertainment can get costly, especially when it comes to movies. Purchasing DVDs and going to the Theater is getting extremely expensive. It's been over two years since I purchased a movie  and I haven't missed it at all. There are several ways to watch and view movies (legally) that can really save you money.

1. Netflix: I have been subscribed to Netflix for over two years now and I love it. The "Instant Que." provides thousands of movie and TV series that can be watched instantly. Not only have I been able to watch past seasons of some of my favorite shows but I have found many shows I would have never tried. Remember how big of a pain it was going to Blockbuster and trying to rent an entire season of a show. You would spend the next day watching the entire series so you didn't have to pay the late fee. In addition to the "Instant Que." if you really want a special movie for friday night put it into your mailing Que. on Wednesday and you are ready on friday. 

Cost= Around 2 movie Tickets a month $15.99

2. Hulu: Is a perfect for watching your current favorite TV shows. Typically you have to wait until the next day, and you do have to watch commercials but at least you can do it at your own convenience. Hulu also has a decent selection of feature films to watch as well. 

Cost= Free, however they do offer their premium version "Hulu Plus" that offers more titles for just $7.99

combine this with Netflix and you can probably cancel your Dish Network or Direct TV subscriptions

3. Redbox: Is a great way to get a new release movie without having to fork out four or five dollars. With Thousands of locations you shouldn't have to go more than a mile or two to find a Kiosk. 

Cost= $1, Watch the movie and return within twenty four hours for just $1 dollar a day. Remember to reserve the movie online to make sure someone else doesn't get it first. 

4. Discount Theaters: Rather than spending $9 a person at the multiplex theatre, let those close to must see movies hit the discount theaters and see them there. You can still get the big screen experience without the big price. (Note many discount theaters are not asa good of quality, however the sacrifice isn't always that big of a deal)

Cost= $1 to $3

5. iTunes: Apple has done it again by providing a massive amount of movies and television series in the apple store. Now not exactly the most cost effective way to watch movies but it is extremely convenient. It also eliminates space needed to store your movies on shelves or special racks. Having them at your fingertips on your computer is amazing. Remember to back them up on a external Hard drive as well to ensure you do not lose any important data. 

Cost=Rentals from $1 to $3.99. Movie Purchase competitive to store prices. 

Most of these ideas are well known but underutilized. Save yourself some cash and put them to work.