Saturday, December 29, 2007

Frugal Friday on Saturday

Topic: Books

Audrey at A Small Corner of Nowhere didn't just talk about Frugal Friday, she jumped right in.

And she hit a subject near and dear to my heart (and almost every homeschooler's heart, books!)

Hop on over and read her post.

Her post got me to thinking about some things. I don't use the library as much as I could/should. I think 2008 we'll strive to improve that.

I don't use the library that often because when we study something and I look for books, half are checked out, and it's usually the good half that are gone. Well, our library does have a system that you can place holds on books. So being organized would be the key to avoiding that problem. Organization is also the key for requesting ILLs so that they arrive when we want them.

I love to buy books, but as Audrey points out, we are disappointed with so many. My latest book purchase from Amazon cost $80ish. We got several books, but the one that Thomas really loved was the Eyewitness Africa book. That is one that he has read from cover to cover more than once. Facing the Lion was his second favorite. So only two of the books I bought satisfied Thomas. The rest, although not waste, was waste. lol

Another issue I have with buying books is that I have only one child. I don't have a bunch of kiddos to pass the books on to. That really does make a huge difference. If I had a house full of kids, I could see purchasing more as I'd get more bang for the buck.

I buy a lot of books at garage sales. We only have one thrift store in town, and the past couple of years their book selections have been dismal. I like to look for used books online, but with shipping, that adds up. Our Rotary Club has an annual book sale in the fall. Our library also has two book sales a year, and books are cheap. Other than that, we'd have to travel to a nearby city to find decent, used books. My small town does not have a book store!

Audrey also discussed the use of credit cards. I want to quit using credit cards this year. Impossible, for a homeschooling mom in a small town that has to order a lot online. My idea was to start a separate checking account of my own. Proceeds of anything I sell will go into the account. I'll budget so much per month to go into the account as well. I will get a check card/credit card to use with it so that I can buy online. The only difference is that I can't spend money that's not in the account. That will force me to choose very carefully what I actually buy. That will also make things easier for tax time, because in Minnesota, we get to claim our educational expenses on our state income taxes.


audrey said...

Re: your idea of a separate account... that's great creative budget-thinking! I don't have many local options either, so I have to save my book shopping for whenever we get a chance to get to the Big Town. I used to rely on a lot of online places like Amazon and BookCloseOuts, but there was that disappointment factor. Bummer.

Anyway, I'm so psyched by your Frugal Friday thing -- it's a good challenge. Maybe we can help each other (and other) to find creative ways to save.

Heather said...

After a large gift of Amazon credit toward homeschool purchases by a relative, I started thinking about an Amazon budget. You can credit your Amazon account with a certain budgeted amount, and always make your purchases from that account. That has worked so well with controlling my book buying addiction this year that I plan to continue it.

Mama B said...

I think one of my best finds in the last year was my book swapping sites. I use both bookmooch and paperbackswap. I've managed to swap out several dozen family books (gotten from different members) for books more useful for the kids. Or just fun reads. I'm much more likely to swap for a book at the moment than buy one. My postage costs are still under my book budget from last year but I am planning on tracking them better this year to have a better idea of my "bang for my buck" so to speak.

We try to use the library as much as we can but sometimes that 30 minute drive to get there is irritating. Its better when Jr.'s lessons are in session then library day is combined with piano lessons.

Summer Fae said...

I try and use my library as much as possible. We do have a hard time getting ILL though. We don't always know that we get them.

What about selling those books that weren't a hit? You could use that money towards your school budget. Just an idea.

Carole said...

I did that once; started a separate account for just my hs stuff. It was back when paypal had just started and I thought it would be grand to have what I sold go into that account. Then when I wanted to buy something I would buy only using those funds. Would have worked great if DH hadn't gotten to using it too.

Good luck! and keep the ideas coming.

samuel said...

With our library system we are able to see the entire catalog online, and we can put holds on books and have them transferred to any library we want. If your library system does the same thing it would make it easier to find and access the books you want.

You and Audrey doing Frugal Friday has me thinking. Actually I've thought about thinking about this any number of times, but it's just too hard to even think about.

Kate in NJ said...

I love this Frugal Friday idea!