Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Woes of College Textbooks

I am playing a bit of catch up when it comes to school, and this fall I will be taking 18 hours. That is six classes at the junior and senior level. And I have 21 required books! Insane yes, because not only is that a lot of dough out of my pocket, but I have to manage to read all 21 books in one semester. I figured I would start ordering now so I could get a jump start on the reading, at least the novels. I got on to my school's bookstore site to get the new and used prices of all the books I needed. Then I researched prices on the internet and found most of my books at exceptional prices on sites such as Ebay and TextbooksRUs. I did have a hefty order at AbeBooks, but they cancelled my order without explanation after all of that searching and comparing, so I won't be dealing with them again. A few suggestions I have for the college book bonanza are:
  • Always note the publisher, year, and edition: some editions have extra inserts that you might need
  • Don't buy from your school bookstore unless it is a new edition with an required online component; they will always be overpriced
  • Don't mind the condition of the books; I used a book that someone had dropped in the tub, but it was still readable and was dirt cheap
  • Look for books with notes in the margin; the previous owner might have made a good point that you didn't think of
  • Check for students in your area getting rid of their books; they also are a great source of information if they had the same professor as you
  • When ordering from online sites, always go through Ebates to get some cash back
  • Keep all receipts in case it is the wrong book

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Scrapbooking on a Budget

I am a devoted scrapbooker. Every moment I get to myself I hide in my little corner of the house and work on the endless pictures and momentos that never stop accumulating. Lately, I have been working on our wedding album which has over 300 pictures. Because I am constantly scrapping and have zero room in my budget for a hobby, I do the best with what I have by frugally scrapbooking:
  • My little corner of the house, in the office, set up with a craft table and enough room to lay everything out. It is so much easier to make a plan when you can come and go as you please to your scrapping area. You're more likely to take your time and make good decisions.
  • Pick up supplies at garage sales and thrift stores. I always find tons of rubber stamps, whether they are name brand or children's sets from the toy store. I have a lovely Harry Potter set that was never meant to be used for scrapbooking. REPURPOSE!
  • The Dollar Tree is a goldmine for frugalness. You can get packs of paper, punch-outs, stamps, scissors, and stickers, all $1 a piece. My scrapbooks have even survived the dollar store glue.
  • Momentos are great substitutes for stickers and embellishments. For our wedding album, I saved the ribbon and tags from the favors, the silk flowers from the decorations, the menus, and greeting cards. I made a Cinderella page with a Happily Ever After card someone gave us. Think in 3-D!

  • silk flower used on a wedding page

  • Buy on sale, ALWAYS! Michael's always has sales on paper and stickers. They put coupons in the Sunday paper and I never shop without these. I know how low I can get paper, etc. and never shop until that price comes up.
  • Scrap with friends! I sometimes attend "Crop Night" at a local scrapbook store. You pay $10, get dinner and full access to the store's supply room such as the Cricut machine, paints, and cutters. You also get to see other scrapbooks and chatting time!Save all of your scrap paper! Leftovers are great for tags and mounting pictures. A bunch of small squares can be used to make a checkerboard design.
If I left the house to purchase specific items for every scrapbook layout I would be very behind and in debt. I make do with what I have because my goal is to show off my family and friends, not how much I spent on the album.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Prodigal Cheapskate Returns

Ok, so it has been a very very long time since I have blogged and now with the lovely invention of wireless routers it is a lot easier for me to do! So I'm back and hopefully for good. If you were a reader before, thanks for sticking around. If you are new, welcome!

My latest frugal craze has to do with dish sponges. I hate how they get smelly so quickly, so I just ditched them for a washcloth cut in half. Works just as good, I can wash it in the machine and disinfect it, and I can switch it out as often as I like and not have to hear the money going down the drain. Yay for saving pennies every day!