A Dose of Dijana: How to Buy Books without Overspending

If I don’t shop for books with a clearly set budget, I may get carried away.

Trust me, I know myself. Actually, it happens with everything. I know how easy it is for me to shift to the treat yo self mindset.

When I was in college, money was tight. Moving away to the big city was sure expensive. I had a budget pre-planned for everything. I knew exactly how much I could spend each week. I still know where the best food prices are – and how to buy everything you need without spending everything you have.

That meant I also had to buy books on a budget. Weirdly enough, I’ve managed to buy (or read) every single book I wanted to and then some more.

The secret? Proper money management. Once you learn how to be frugal, it stays with you for life. I’m still using most of these methods so I don’t get carried away with buying books. (because after a while, storage does become a HUGE issue!)

So bear with me here to find out how you can read every book you want without spending too much!

Wait for sales & discounts

Nowadays, I buy most of my books online. If I let myself pick as I will, I’d end up with a shopping cart that costs hundreds of dollars. So, I need to approach this a bit more thoughtfully.

Usually, there are big sales once big holidays pass by. For example, there’s always a major sale right after Christmas. Or at the beginning of summer – and mid-summer as well.

Sometimes, if you leave items in your cart for a few days you might end up with a 10-15% discount code sent to you directly via email. Doesn’t always happen but it’s worth the shot sometimes. (I accidentally discovered this when having doubts about a book once)

But don’t forget to keep an eye out to store discounts as well.

I once managed to buy 13 books – yes, 13! – for the price of 7 just because of a huge sale I ran into. And we’re talking proper books here, like Zafon’s The Shadow of the Wind or Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns.   

Not too shabby, huh?

Buy ebooks

I still have mixed feelings about the reading experience on a Kindle. However, it’s undeniable that e-books are much cheaper than regular books.

While the average paperback might cost $15 and up, you can usually get the Kindle version for a few dollars. That sounds like a pretty good deal for me.

And e-books are much more convenient when it comes to storage problems. (ugh!)

I’m also starting to realize that Kindle ebooks are a great solution for books you felt meh about: Good enough to read once but not good enough to read again.

Buy used books 

Believe it or not, buying second-hand is not a big thing around here. I never understood why – I’m fascinated with thrift shops!

Buying a book second-hand usually allows you to get it for at least half of its original price. Sometimes, you can even have it for a few dollars.

Back in the States, I bought 3 hardbacks and got one extra for $5!

In Skopje, there are a few bookstalls near the downtown area where you can literally buy a dozen books for $20. They’re even sold wrapped in paper so they don’t get accidentally damaged by shoppers browsing through.

Exchange books with friends

This isn’t buying per se but you do get to read the book you wanted, right? And you don’t have to worry about storage afterward.

Do book swaps with friends you trust. Find other bookworms like yourself – it helps if you join a reading club.

Lately, I’ve joined a few Facebook groups for book lovers in Macedonian. I’ve been positively surprised with the vibes in each group and I’ve noticed group members are doing book exchanges on a regular basis!

That way, everyone gets to read different books without spending hundreds of dollars.

Sign up at your local library

Well, there might be a waiting list involved… but libraries are a great resource we don’t utilize enough.

Let’s say you read two or three books each month – you’d need to buy at least 24 books per year to keep up with your reading rate.

But if you join a library, once you pay the annual fee, all of the books in there are free for you to take! (some libraries may have a minor fee set up for each book)

I’ve heard that some libraries are even happy to lend you their Kindle e-books. Not quite sure whether some of you can do this (we don’t have it around here) but to me, this sounds like a great plan!

How do you shop for books on a budget?

Do you buy every single book that you set your eyes on or do you approach it a bit more strategically?

Share with us in the comments – we’d love to hear back from you!


Next time, we’ll do a book review!

Featured photo by Fabian Blank on Unsplash

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