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7 Money-Saving Hacks For Book Lovers

7 Money-Saving Hacks For Book Lovers

As a voracious reader and tremendous book lover, you probably frown at the end of the month when you look at your grand total spent on books. Reading is an awesome habit, but sadly books don’t come for free (though I believe they should!). However, by following these 7 hacks you can drastically cut down your book expenses at no time!

1.  Sign up for loyalty programs and memberships

These days most big name bookstores (regular and online) offer special significant discounts and other perks to their loyalty program members. For instance, Barnes and Nobles membership card that costs $25 per year gives you the next cool benefits:

  • 40% off listed price for bestseller books
  • You are eligible for Everyday Member discount, so you can grab new discounted books and other products every day.
  • Free express shipping (1-3 days)
  • $50 worth of coupons, special deals and discounts
  • Permanent extra discount of 10% for all items on sale and everything else.

Also, you get 10% discount for all foods and drinks at their coffee shop and unlimited free wi-fi access. Your card pays off after about fourth shipping, so it’s a terrific value for money deal.

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BAM (Books a Million) also have a great membership program that includes free shipping, 10% in-store discount, $100 in coupons and special deals, free unlimited wi-fi at their store and much more for just $25 per year.

If you prefer reading online, get a membership with Discount Book Sale. For about $20 per month you get unlimited online access to thousands of books, free shipping and up to 30% discounts.

2. Master couponing and never pay full price again

Why you should pay full price when you can pay less if you browse around the web a bit? There are numerous coupons and discount codes available for book purchases out there. Check out sites like Discontrue, BeFrugal and Coupon Chief to score some major discounts and even get cash backs for the books you’ve bought (so you could buy even more books, obviously!).

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3. Organize a book swap

If you’d like to declutter your house and get new books to read for free – a book swap is the best way to do it! You can either ask your friends, co-workers and family to take part and swap or trade books or reach out to other book lovers out there through the web. TitleTrader allows you to swap books and DVDs with other users. You earn points when you give away something and spend them for getting something new instead. PaperBackSwap allows you to swap books by mail. For each book you send (postage is for you to cover), you earn credit to receive a book.

4. Visit the local library

I think of public libraries as hugely underestimated caves of wonders where you can get your hands onto glossy Taschen books you couldn’t afford or flip pages of really rare editions that could only be found at flee markets (if you get lucky).

In France, even small cities have one or two public Médiathèques as they are now called where you can get a free membership to take books, magazines and movies home or just spend the whole day in a cozy chair reading for free. Some even have free wi-fi and vending machines with snacks. You can find all sorts of books there in different languages including English, Spanish, German and others.

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5. Buy directly from the author

Nowadays, most authors run their personal blogs or websites where they typically sell newly released books for lower price compared to those you can find at regular bookstores or online. Most authors even offer special discounts and additional bonuses if you connect with them.

For instance, Jeff Goins offered a special price and extra audio version of his new book to his newsletter subscribers. A lot of authors host giveways you can enter by tweeting about it or posting it on Facebook and get the book for half price or even free!

6. Find the classics online for free

I know for some of us it sounds cool to have hard copy editions of Shakespeare or Dickens proudly standing on the book shelve. But for a frugal type like me, who also happens to move pretty often, having a huge home library full of classics isn’t an option at all. That was when I discovered Project Gutenberg – a public domain library with over 46.000 ebooks to download for free. Good old classics mainly published before 1923, meaning the copyright law protecting them has expired.

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Another great website to get free books from is DailyLit. Each day they’ll send you bite-sized parts of books right into your inbox to read during your coffee break or morning commute. Just set up an account and choose books from a rather extensive library. Most books are free, while the newest editions may cost you a few dollars.

7. Make mindful purchases

Isn’t it a bit frustrating when you read a professionally written book description and plot summary, feel all so giddy with excitement and pay the full price for the book, to later realize the author has a damned great copywriter, but his own text are rather disappointing? You not only waste money, but your time!

To avoid this happening, I typically visit Amazon and pre-read a few pages (for free), screen the reviews there and on Goodreads. Also, if the author runs a blog, you can typically download a chapter or few for free.

Also, loads of authors host read meetings, webinars and interviews (online and offline) where they talk about their new book and often read or quote some parts. Attending all of them is another great way to have a free sneak-peak inside the book and connect with the author. Typically, if I like how the person speaks and expresses their opinion, their writing turns to be highly delightful as well.

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Elena Prokopets

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Last Updated on January 2, 2019

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

Do you know what mental health experts point to as the biggest cause of stress in the United States today? If you said “money,” then ding, ding, we have a winner!

Three out of four adults today report feeling stressed out about money at least part of the time. People are either worried about not having enough money or whether they’re putting the money they do have to use in the best possible way.

Your money is either in charge of you or you’re in charge of it, there’s no middle ground. Using some type of personal finance software can help alleviate some of that money stress and better allow you to manage your money effectively. Without it, you may just be setting yourself up for constant financial worry. Life is already tough enough and there’s no need to make it more difficult by simply hoping your money issues will all work out in your favor. Hint: they won’t.

This guide will help you to understand how personal finance software can better assist with both accomplishing long term financial goals and managing day-to-day aspects of life.

Whether it’s tracking the savings plan for your child’s college fund or making sure you won’t be in the red with the month’s grocery budget, personal finance software keeps all this information in one convenient place.

What Exactly is Personal Finance Software?

Think of it like the dashboard in your car. You have a speedometer to tell you how fast you’re going, an odometer to tell you how far you’ve traveled, and then other gauges to tell you things like how much gas is in the tank and your engine temperature. Personal finance software is essentially the same thing for your money.

When you install this software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, it helps to track your money — how much is going in, how much is going out, and its growth. Most personal finance software programs will display your budget, spending, investments, bills, savings accounts, and even retirement plans, levels of debt, and credit score.

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How It Leads to Financial Improvement

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.

Some types of personal finance software can help make things a little less complicated, setting you up to meet financial goals and taking away some of the stress associated with money.

Even if you already have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) some type of personal finance software can be of great benefit. Whereas CFPs focus on the big picture of your money, they don’t handle the day-to-day aspects that determine your overall financial health.

It’s also not nearly as complicated as you might think and can take out a lot of the tedium that comes with doing everything on an Excel spreadsheet or with a pad and pencil.

Types of Personal Finance Software

When it comes to personal finance software, it generally fits into two categories: tax preparation and money management.

Tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s software can help with everything from filing income taxes to IRS rules and regulations and even estate plans. Plus, there’s the benefit of filing online and getting your refund check a lot faster than if you were to mail off your forms after waiting in line at the post office.

For the purpose of this article, however, will be focusing more on the personal finance software that aids with money management.

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Money management personal finance software will help you to see the health of your cash flow, pay down debt, forecast for expenses and savings, track investments, pay bills, and do a host of other things that 30 years ago would have practically required a team of accountants.

When to Use Personal Finance Software

So far we’ve gone over what exactly personal finance software is and how it can be a benefit to your money. The next logical step in this whole equation is determining when it should be used and how is the best way to go about getting started using it.

Below are four of the most common and practical ways to use personal finance software. If all or any of these apply to you and your money, then downloading some type of personal finance software is going to be a smart move.

1. You Have Multiple Accounts

There’s a good chance that when it comes to your money, it’s in more than one place. Sure, you probably have a checking account, but you may also have a savings account, money market account, and retirement accounts such as an IRA or 401k.

If you’re like the average American, you probably have two to three credit cards as well. Fifty percent of Americans also don’t have loyalty to just one bank and spread their money across multiple banks.

Rather than spending hours typing in every detail of every account you have into a spreadsheet, many programs allow you to easily import your account information. This will help to eliminate any mistakes and give you a bird’s eye view of everything at once.

2. You Want to Automate Some or All of Your Payments

Please don’t say that you’re still writing out paper checks and dropping each bill in the mailbox. While it’s noble that you’re doing your part to keep postal workers employed, we’re 18 years into the 21st century and you can literally pay every bill online now.

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There’s no need to log into every account you have and type in your routing number either.

With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.

3. You Need to Streamline Your Budget

Perhaps the best feature of personal finance software is that it allows you track everything going in and out of your virtual wallet.

Nearly every brand of personal finance software out there has easy-to-read graphs and charts that allow you track every cent you spend or earn, should you choose. You might be pretty amazed when you see just how much you spent on eating out last month or if you splurged a little more than you should have on Christmas gifts last year.

Every successful business on the planet has a budget and using personal finance software can help you trim the fat on your spending in ways that affect your everyday life.

4. You Have Specific Goals to Meet

Maybe it’s paying off debt or saving for up something like a European vacation. Whatever your financial goal is, whether it’s long-term or short-term, personal finance software programs are one of the savviest ways to go about reaching those goals.

You can do everything from set spending alerts to notify you when you’re over budget to automating what percentage of your paycheck goes to things like retirement investments. The personal finance software that you choose should show you exactly how close you are to hitting those goals at any given time.

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How to Get Started

From AceMoney to Mint and Quicken, there ’s no shortage of personal finance software apps out there. Many of these programs are free to download and will allow you to pay bills, invest, monitor your net worth and credit profile, and even get a loan with the swipe of a finger.

Other programs may only offer you limited services and will require a one-time fee or subscription to unlock all that they offer. These fees can often vary from as little as two dollars to 50 bucks a month.

It’s best to start off with the free version and then gauge whether you’re able to accomplish everything you’d like or if it’s worth exploring one of the paid options. Often times the subscription programs come with assistance from financial planning and investment experts — so that can be a real benefit.

When deciding which personal finance software program to use, it’s also important to look at how many accounts you wish to monitor. Certain programs limit the number of accounts you can add. Be sure that if you have checking, credit card, and investment accounts to monitor, that you choose a service that can monitor them all.

Finally, when looking around for the right personal finance software that meets your needs, make sure that you’re comfortable with the program’s interface. It shouldn’t be expected that you recognize every single feature instantly, but if the features don’t seem readable and manageable to you, then you’re not as likely to use it and get the full benefits.

Final Thoughts

Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.

In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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