Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Book Budgeting... tips and tricks.

Hey Peeps! 

Now I know what you all are thinking as you stare miserably at your bank balance... because I do it too. It is a question that haunts us all... the elephant in the room... the darkness that clouds our mood... just how am I going to afford all of those books I want? 

Perhaps you have considered getting another job? A new credit card? Or even pondered the drastic thought of robbing the local petrol station? I know I have... nah just kidding. I have never thought about getting a new credit card! 

I've been a book lover and shopper since I was a child. So I can speak with some experience. It is easy to find yourself in a financial black hole, with your favourite author's latest release mocking you from the shop window as you ponder how you are going to eat today. We have all been there... admit it. 

Over the years though things have gotten easier for me. I've picked up some tricks along the way, and I have become much more organised in my spending and budgeting. I thought it might be cool to share some of those tips and tricks with you... some are bloody obvious... some maybe not so obvious... please feel free to share you own tips and secrets if you so wish. We are all in the same boat here... so share the love!

Tip 1 - The most obvious one... shop around!!! We live in age of technology where information is at our fingertips... so throw off that luddite shackle and get online and compare prices! My secret weapon here is Booko, a book search engine that will list and compare the prices of most online book retailers for whatever title your after. Just type in the book your after, select the edition, and hey presto... away you go! You can also lurk around all of the major book retailers websites to get a heads up on upcoming sales, price reductions and specials. Booktopia is especially good for this. So get active online! If you are a luddite and hate computers, then visit your local bookshops, compare prices, and negotiate. The less you spend... the more you have! 

Tip 2 - Budget! For the love of god... don't buy books at the cost of not eating! I've been there and done that... it isn't cool! Put your family first... pay your bills... save... and THEN see what is left to spend on books. When you have worked out your budget from month to month then... and only then... can you move onto planning your spending! 

Tip 3 - Stay informed and prioritise! Stalk Goodreads, twitter, publisher websites, and author's webpages and social media... do whatever you have to do to get the bigger picture! Know when a book is being released, who it is being released be, and how much it is going to cost. Create a book release calendar, or find one online. One of the ones that I use heavily has been drawn up by Fantasy Book Critic here. Sit back and see what is coming up and allocate your budget from there. A smart consumer is an efficient consumer!

Tip 4 - Use your eReader! Never tried an author before... but like the sound of a blurb? Don't waste your money buying the hardback and running the risk of not enjoying the book... buy the eBook version! You will literally save yourself at least 50% of the money you would have paid, and if you love the book you can pick up a HB or PB copy later on. Online retailers like Amazon and iBooks have amazing deals and specials at times... so keep your eyes open!

Tip 5 - Use your local library! Don't be a dick and pirate... if you are so hard up for cash then go down to your local library and become a member. You can try new author's this way, and most libraries will get books in for you if you ask nicely! Added bonus, your not stealing from the author's your supposed to love and support!

Tip 6 - Sign up to every online book retailer you can! Join Amazon, Book Depository, and Booktopia! There are so many! Read their newsletters... special membership offers, vouchers, and specials are always up for grabs! Companies like Book Depository also offer free postage and handling... an amazing thing when you like to buy a lot of books from overseas!

Tip 7 - Start a book review blog. Love books? Have hundreds of followers on social media? Why not create a blog and start to review and discuss books with those followers? Once you have done this, join Netgalley. Netgalley allows you to request, download, read, and review books for publishers on your eReader. This is a great way to get to know publishers and also stay abreast of what is coming up in terms of releases. Best of all.. it doesn't cost a thing! It is how I began, and how so many other reviewers have started out. Check out Speculating on SpecFic's amazing guide here for more information on Netgalley and requesting ARC's from publishers. Bonus tip... don't bloody email publishers demanding free books... build your follower base... keep reviewing from Netgalley... and go from there. They receive hundreds of emails every week from people demanding books to review... be polite, and back up your request with numbers showing your reach online.

Tip 8 - Join a reading group! I am a member of two local reading groups... and one of the best benefits is that we all swap and loan books to each other all of the time! This is another great way to try before you buy!

Tip 9 - Embrace preloved books! Go to book fairs... visit second hand book shops... and check out your local Vinnies and the Salvos! The St. Vincent de Paul shop where I live sells books for 50 cents a pop... and I have stumbled across so many great deals there in my time. You will be amazed at what you find!

Tip 10 - And finally, be realistic with your money. We all would love that signed special first edition hardback with gold inscription and illustrations by our favourite author, but sometimes you just have to suck it up and buy the stock standard paperback release. Is this tragic? For some perhaps. For me, not really. I love books, but I love not declaring bankruptcy even better!  

These are my main tips and tricks... there are probably many more... but it keeps my budget in the black and me a happy reader. I don't miss out on things usually, and I control my love of books, not the other way around. 

What tips and tricks do you guys have? I'd love to hear about them. Drop me a line!


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