≡ Menu

52 Ways to Live Richly Reasonable: Books

“See, the sad thing about a guy like you is in 50 years you’re gonna staht doin some thinkin on your own and you’re gonna come up with the fact that there are two certaintees in life. One, don’t do that. And Two, you dropped a hundred and fifty grand on a f***** education you coulda got for a dollah fifty in late chahges at the public library”—Will (Matt Damon), Good Will Hunting

I have always been a bookworm. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a pile of books on my nightstand or on a bookshelf, waiting to be read. Oftentimes, I’m in the middle of two or three books at once (simply because I can’t make up my mind as to which one I want to read. So I read a few simultaneously). But there is something about books that makes me feel a little bit richer.
Books do so much for us. They enrich our lives, expand our imaginations (and vocabularies), expose us to information and ideas that we might not ordinarily be exposed to, teach us, entertain us and provide hours of free entertainment.

When I was deep in debt, I spent even more hours reading books than normal. The library was our Friday night activity of choice. And sometimes, on a Saturday, we would go to the local Barnes and Noble armed with a few dollars for drinks, snacks for our daughter, and a notebook to take notes on ideas we read in books (for the record, we did buy a book or magazine every once in a while). It was nice to have the ability to read, learn, and get out of the house for minimal cost.

But what if you don’t have the luxury of a good public library or a bookstore nearby? How do you make books a part of your life at a reasonable cost? Here are a few ideas:
 • eBay – If you’re a big purchaser of books, and you particularly like classics or hard to find books (like the Sweet Pickles series. I am on a desperate hunt for the entire collection), eBay is a good place to start. My sister got her ex-boyfriend a first edition copy of Atlas Shrugged for a very reasonable price by purchasing it on eBay. eBay is also a great place to pick up inexpensive copies of kids’ books. Be careful though; since it’s an auction site, there might be people bidding to help jack up the price for the seller.
 • Websites like paperbackswap.com – I don’t currently use this service but I know a lot of people who do. Essentially, you join (for free!), list books you’d like to swap, and then pick from others’ lists. There are also hardbacks, audio books, and others as well. It’s a great way to give those old books of yours a new life as well as picking up books you might otherwise not be able to find. Beware that books are shipped at your expense so if you’re really tight on money, this might not be the best option.
 • Yard sales, thrift stores – Always a great resource for cheap books. My only gripes about these are 1) it is difficult to sift through the disorganized bins of books and 2) sometimes the books are so old, the information is completely outdated. Other than that, there are many books that are timeless, so if you’re willing to take your time, you can find some literary gems.
• Trade with friends – I have a very eclectic taste when it comes to books. Because of that, it’s difficult for me to decide what to read. I often rely on friends and family to make suggestions. I will also ask those friends and family if I can borrow books. To be fair, I also lend mine to those who ask. But be prepared not to get the books back. I lent my copy of “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” to a family member last year and I’m not sure where it is now.

Dave Ramsey likes to say “Ten years from now, you’ll be the same person you are except for the people you meet and the books you read”. I totally agree with that statement. Books are essential, and a great way to stay entertained and informed at a reasonable price.

How do you afford books without breaking the bank?

Article publié pour la première fois le 19/01/2012

1 comment

Pay Now, Play Later

The other day Friend and I were talking about the forgotten concept of layaway; well, at least we had forgotten about it.  Putting something in layaway is no different than setting up an automatic saving plan, but it may provide that extra incentive to save if you are in need of a little motivation.  Maybe you like knowing the exact TV that is in Sears waiting for you.  Maybe you like going into the store and making a payment; each time knowing you are a bit closer to that riding lawnmower and sweet victory.  Whatever the reason, if layaway is what you need to achieve your savings goal, minus the credit card interest, then I am all for it. 

After doing a bit of research, I found that there have actually been some pretty cool developments in the world of layaway:

Sites like elayawaymall.com & lay-away.com give you the option to layaway 1000’s of popular brands online.  Watch for a 1.9% fee though, and always google coupons. 

If you’re saving for a special trip, try layaway-travel.com.  Engaged people, can you say honeymoon?

While Wal-Mart has canceled their program, other traditional layaway stores like Sears and K-Mart are still laying-away and are now even doing it online

[click to continue…]

Article publié pour la première fois le 03/08/2010


Who Do You Share Your Financial Status With? @ Free Money Finance

Putting the National Debt Into Perspective @ Budgeting in the Fun Stuff

20 Tips to Achieve Your Financial Goals @ One Money Design

Article publié pour la première fois le 14/08/2010


Growing up in New York, I was fortunate to have access to Broadway shows. Not only was Manhattan less than a half hour from my house, but my parents placed tremendous value on my sisters and I having the theater experience. As a member of my school’s chorus, we would take field trips to Broadway shows (which was, admittedly, pretty cool).  I grew up with the importance of theater drilled into my head.

It’s not something I’ve lost, either. As an adult, I still love going to Broadway shows. The problem, besides living 2 hours away from Manhattan, is that ticket prices are phenomenally high, even for long running shows. Forget the prices for a high profile show with big name talent…those are off the charts expensive (not to mention almost impossible to get tickets to). So what’s a theater lovin’ gal to do?

Fortunately, there are ways to have the Broadway experience for less:

  • Traveling companies. Almost every major Broadway musical will have a traveling company version. In other words, a cast is formed and that cast travels to different cities for a week or so to perform the shows. Since it’s not on Broadway, and the cast is usually lesser known actors, the tickets are substantially cheaper. But, you still get to see the show closer to home, which also saves on your travel budget.
  • Go local. If a traveling company is still too expensive, why not go see a show at a local community theater, college or high school? The production value won’t be as high but you’ll still get the same experience, support your local schools and give back to your local economy. Plus, tickets are usually super cheap. One of the best theater experiences I ever had was at a community theater in Idaho so there’s definitely something to be said for local theater.
  • The Theater Development Fund. This is a program designed for teachers, students, nonprofit employees, civil servants, members of the armed forces and clergy, and a few other professions to receive tickets at a deeply discounted price. There are some program restrictions: only select shows and dates are typically available, the dates are only available about 2 weeks in advance, and you must provide proof of your eligibility. If you’re willing to abide by those rules, this is a terrific program, especially if you live in the NYC area. Tickets are available to very popular shows and, if you’re a member, you can order up to 9 tickets at a time. For complete info, go to their website, TDF.org.
  • Discount tickets. Outlets like StubHub are great for buying last minute tickets but the prices could be jacked up (unless the ticket holder really wants to unload them) or for buying the tickets for cheap in advance. However, if you’re like me and don’t trust those outlets, there are TKTS booths (run and operated by TDF) that sell cheap last minute tickets to Broadway shows. Take note though. Each of the booths sells tickets for different performances so make sure you’re getting your tickets through the right one.
  • Other ways to save: Volunteer at a theater. Check to see if any organizations you belong to offer discounts. Buy group tickets. See an off-Broadway show. Get on an email list like the one from Playbill.com. Attend a matinee (this is more effective for shows not on Broadway).

Is going to plays and musicals important to you? How do you fit it into your budget or save money  on the tickets?

Article publié pour la première fois le 27/02/2012


Mad props to the carnivals who featured my articles this week, mad props.

Festival of Frugality @ Generation X Finance3 Reasons Why We Keep & Buy Crap

Carnival of Money Stories @ Money ObedienceThe Non-Sale Sale


I was also featured in a little publication called MSN Smart Spending, perhaps you've heard of it?  Thanks Karen!


And some excellent blogs from the Yakezie Network this week:

Make it 70 by 2050 @ Thousandaire

Stores That Offer Layaway @ Out of Debt Again

The Kardashian Sisters Launch Their Own Prepaid Credit Card @ Money Funk

Article publié pour la première fois le 12/11/2010


I Get Less Done When I Have Nothing to Do

If life were a sentence, it would look something like this:

Big Event…………..Something Exciting…………..Lots Going On…………..Etc.

Life is neither grammatically correct, nor is it always good times and shenanigans.

During those bouts of excitement, my productivity is at its peak.  While in the middle of our move, for example, I was able to go to work, come home and pack, found the time to exercise and even solved the riddle about how to achieve peace in the Middle East (that post is soon to follow; if I ever get around to it, that is).

Now, as I wait for December 1st and our flight to Japan, there’s really not too much left to accomplish.  A few final bills have filtered their way in, I have a couple of phone calls to make, I suppose, oh, and I have a load of laundry to do.

You know what?  I’m getting none of it done.

Let’s talk physics – a science I’m not entirely convinced really exists in a post Matrix universe, but let’s talk about it anyways.

The law of inertia states that a body in motion will tend to remain in motion and that a body at rest will tend to remain sitting on her butt, reading cheesy romance novels.  That’s just science.

Inertia applies to our lives in many ways.

Our Attitudes: A grump will tend to remain a grump (just ask me about it on one of my bad days).

Our Relationships: Crappy communication will tend to stay crappy.

Our Finances: Spenders will tend to spend.   Savers will tend to save.

But, on the bright side, inertia cannot stop change; hinder it, yes, stop it, no. 

The full law goes: a body in motion will tend to stay in motion and a body at rest will tend to stay at rest, UNLESS acted upon by an external force.

Change may not be easy.  But if I’m ever going to get some laundry done, it’s absolutely necessary.  And there is no motivating force quite like the prospect of running out of clean underpants.

Laundry may seem like a small change relative to those you would like to make in your personal finances.  It’s certainly easier to continue spending money on the “fun stuff” rather than contributing to your Roth IRA.

The answer to making these changes is to find the greatest motivator.  Don’t move a mountain with a shovel, do it with a nuclear warhead.

Don’t change your spending habits by thinking of what you should do (make IRA contributions), do it by thinking of the specific goals you hope to achieve (beach-side, piña colada retirement) or what you hope to avoid (dirty underpants).   


Article publié pour la première fois le 08/11/2010