Books were the favored choice of my two loves by my parents, but of course even that came with a cost. Because books weren't cheap. Being young, I had no understanding that a seventeen dollar hardcover book was in fact relatively expensive, especially when I asked for three...four..five!
When I came to an age where I could start babysitting, my parents deemed it time I start paying for my own loves, in other words books could be bought on my own, and clothes too. Luckily, over the years, I had saved up. All those holiday cards with the five dollar bills tucked inside actually added up to something if you hadn't touched them in ten years. So with my babysitting money and pocket change combined I thought I should make it easy for myself and get a debit card.
As fun as it is to have a debit card - and believe me it is fun - it also drains you dry. When I can't physically see the money I am spending, it seems like I'm not spending it at all. But I am, believe me I am. So all those trips to the post office to mail books, and the fun mall shopping spree's with my friends, and the amazon purchases finally came to a close. A couple weeks ago I was at the mall with my friends and there were some unbelievable sales going on.
Free People dresses, $20. Forever 21 jackets and sweaters, $7, $11,$15. Ann Taylor Blazer, $40. Bath and Body Works lipglosses, $5. I went crazy, and to top it off I had just spent a pile at Barns and Noble. When I got home I asked my dad to check my balance in my account.
Good news, it wasn't at zero.
Bad News, it was at negative.
I've always been a bargain hunter, but this was crazy! I never realized how much things actually cost!
So point of this story, how can you save yourself from breaking the bank when buying books/ other items?
Check out my cheap shopper tips and tricks below.
- When buying anything on Ebay, no matter how cheap it is, always check the shipping price! I once bought a few out of print books from ebay for $5 dollars, paid for it, only to find out that the shipping was $25!
- Sign up for newsletter's from your favorite stores! Though the emails can seriously clog up your email account, it's worth it in the end when you get sale alerts and coupons. I always get Barn's and Nobles coupons which have saved me a pile over the years.
- Whenever you want to buy something online, like a book from Amazon, be sure to check the rate somewhere else. For instance, if you know you are going to spend over $25 dollars at amazon, buy the books/items there because you will get free shipping. But if it is just one book,buy it at the book depository because they will have similar prices, plus free shipping at no minimum cost.
- Buy used things! With clothes, maybe not. But with books, definitely! I mean really, most used books are in great condition, and you are being eco-friendly. Plus the prices are usually much cheaper. This is a definite must for text books, too. I spent a bloody fortune on new copies for my school, only to find out how much I could have saved had I bought them used.
- One of the best ways to save is to pay in cash, this way you know exactly how much you are spending and you can watch it go, so there is no denying that your money is gone.
- Always, always, always, save your receipts! Not only is this a must if you need to return the item, but also you can add up everything you spent in a week/month so you know exactly how much you spent and can keep better track of your money.
- Befriend your Librarian!Not only will they let certain late fee's past (trust me, it's true!) but they can give you a heads up to upcoming titles/sales that the library will be having. Not to mention they can put you first in line to getting a certain book.
- This is more of a follow up to question 7, but befriend employee's at your favorite stores. This doesn't usually work unless they are already your friend but my mom has saved hundreds at Nordstroms because her friend works there and lets her use her employee discount!
- Always ask yourself the three big questions when buying an item. a.) how often will I use this? b.) can I get it cheaper somewhere else? c.) is it worth the price?
- Finally, don't be afraid to ask. Your friend has a really cute skirt you want, ask her if you can borrow it! Ask a sales lady if she knows when the store will be having a sale or when a certain item will be discounted. Ask your parents if they can lend you a few bucks. Asking goes a long way people! Just make sure you are fair about and in time return the favor.