Monday, February 29, 2016

29 in 29; Birthday Month Treat Yoself

I loved reading about Kathy's treat yoself birthday month but I didn't think 29 was worthy of a whole month of birthday celebrations, you know? But then Steph said I should.. so I did.

Also, I discovered I was turning 29 in a leap year, which means there were 29 days in February (in case you didn't know what a leap year was). So I was turning 29 in a month with 29 days. How often does that happen? (Christy was actually 29 in Feb as well!) It was like fate telling me to treat myself during the whole month. You can't ignore fate, kids. So I did 29 things, some small, some big, all made for a fabulous birthday month. In no particular order:

1. New bag. Only just ordered it, so it hasn't arrived yet. I loved my justfab bag that I bought 2 years ago and have been trying to replace it but haven't found one as good yet.. hopefully 3rd time's a charm!


2. First facial! Not gonna lie, it was a bit awkward and weird but my skin feels like a baby's butt.


3. New work pants. I've been wanting a new pair of work pants for ages, so I went to express and got 2 new pairs. I tried on a bunch of other things, I love their dresses but they are always too short.


4. Pedicure. It's been a long time..


5. Pretty new book.


6. Dinner with the girls at my favourite restaurant.


7. Sangria & alfredo at olive garden, yum.


8. Ice cream.


9. Half price books shopping spree.


10. Milkshake.


11. Spoke to my mummy & nana. Can I get a hallelujah for technology. Unfortunately, neither of them are savvy enough to do the video call, but no matter. Voice is good!


12. Lunch with KC & in laws at my second favourite restaurant (Indian).


13. Got my hair did. Walked in 'meh', walked out fabulous.


14. Movie and lunch date. KC and I rarely do 'dates' but sometimes we will catch a movie and breakfast or lunch.


15. Stitch Fix! Because why not. I only kept one dress, you can see the rest of the 'fix' here.


16. Hot chocolate. Extra whip.


17. Got the budget bytes cookbook. Mum got this for me, but whatever, it counts.


18. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies! I thought I took a photo of my movie ticket but I mustn't have saved it, so here is a pretty poster instead.


19. Jimmy johns. Don't judge me.


20. New kindle. I was always on the 'basic as basic can be' kindle train, but this was only $40 and it's so much easier to navigate. I don't really use it as a proper tablet, but for an e-reader I absolutely adore it.


21. Bought the BBC version of Emma on DVD because.. treat yo self.


22. Chocolate milk. Judgement free zone you guys.


23. Owl crate. This isn't something I'd sign up for regularly, but I loved getting it for my birthday. Cats not included.


24. Spent hours in a black hole of youtube... ended with this video... you should watch it. Skip to 3:20. This counts. Believe me.


25. Bought this hot tools thingy. Have yet to attempt using it.

26. Cake. 


27. Kitty mug.


28. Fried rice is always a good idea, but especially during birthday month.


29. Started drinking soda again. Whatever, leave me alone!


So most of the treating myself has to do with shopping or eating. I'm down with that.

29 days of treating myself and I think I now need to detox / stop shopping for like a year. Here's to 29!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Link Up Reminders

Happy Friday all! Just a quick post today to remind everyone that the link up for book club is next Tuesday so if you read You Had Me At Hello by Mhairi McFarlane please join us in chatting about it!






Also, next Thursday is the next 'What's New With You' link up with Gretch and I, which you can read about here if you like. Basically, it's a monthly link up where you can chat about what's new with you, what you've been doing or loving this past month, goals you've been working towards, or you can link any old post - doesn't matter as long as you link back to us pretty please. We were absolutely floored by the amount of people who linked up with us last time, seriously can't thank you all enough!

What's New With You

Comments turned off today, but I hope you can link up with us!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Places to get cheap-ish (or free) books!

Guys, I have a secret. I like to read. I know, I know, you never would have guessed. But there you go.

I read a lot. Also, another shocker. But I am not rich, and one book in the grand scheme of a bank account is not that bad. But I read 160 books last year. If each book was $10, that is $1600! Even if each book was $5 that is still $800, and that is $800 more than I want to spend on books.

So I wanted to share a few of the places I buy or get books. The last time I bought a full priced book was actually by accident and I was so mortified that I almost told the cashier not to worry about it, but that would have been more mortifying, so I sucked it up and paid ... I'm too embarrassed to tell you how much I paid, however, it was the 4th in a series I loved, totally love and respect the author so I'm not that mad about it.


Now, the #1 place is obviously your library. The library is great. Nothing more needs to be said.

But sometimes you can't get to the library or they don't have the book you want. And sometimes you have a shopping problem and want to own things, whatever.

I am an equal opportunity reader, I like ebooks, real books and audiobooks. So this post covers all of them. I happily read secondhand or used books, if you don't then this might not be for you. I also want to mention that this is not sponsored in any way shape or form, zero affiliate links were used, I get absolutely nothing out of this except hopefully sharing a website or something that you didn't know about, you will then buy a book and it will make my book loving heart happy.

Amazon

I know, I'm just stating the obvious over here aren't I? Amazon is really competitively priced, most of the time. Plus, they are reliable and have fast shipping.

When I want a 'real' book and I want it to be new, I use my camelcamelcamel.com trick (read more here) to make sure I'm not paying too much or to track the price. I really want a copy of The Royal We, I have already read it and loved it, but like I said I like to own things. I was going to wait for the paperback (comes out in April) but they released the cover and I don't like it, so I will buy the hardcover when the price goes down.


For 'real' books that don't have to be new, I do something different.

Graceling is $10 for the paperback or $7 for the ebook. They are both fair prices, but like I said - I buy far too many books to not at least try and save money where I can.

So I click on the '122 used' link. I never click on the new because Amazon normally defaults to the best price. Books are basically the only thing I buy from third party sellers on Amazon because you can't really screw a book up. I have actually had a few arrive with bent covers or whatever, but I could tell it happened in shipping and wasn't that mad. As you can see, you can get a used copy of Graceling for like $4.


Not bad, right? Now, I'm cheap and impatient, so I normally filter by 'prime' or 'free shipping'. Because, lets face it, nothing beats prime shipping. See below, I can get a used copy of this book for a couple of dollars more than the above, but I can get it in 2 days. Even if I got the best quality used book (like new) it's still $2 cheaper than the amazon price for a new book. Is it worth saving $2 to you? If I saved $2 on 100 books, that is $200. So, yeah it's worth it to me!

Kindle ebooks

You can check out the kindle deals page and sign up for emails to be notified of deals.


You can also track kindle prices here kind of like the camelcamelcamel.com trick, but for kindles. They also have a 'deals under $1' section.

Kindle also offers a lot of free books - classics and otherwise. Such as Maid for Love (I really enjoyed that), UnEnchanted and Pride & Prejudice.


above: Maid for Love, UnEnchanted, The Tumor, Saving Wishes, A Dyeing Shame & Emma. All free (at time of writing this post).

Kindle unlimited

You can sign up for a free trial here. I have actually signed up and cancelled kindle unlimited a couple of times because I am not totally convinced it's a great deal. It's $10 a month, but there isn't a whole lot to choose from. Well, there is a lot to choose from, but it's not like you will find a certain book you are looking for, more like you will have to find a book you want to read from what is offered - if that makes sense. I have read tons of books using kindle unlimited, and as long as I read 2 books a month, I figure it's worth the cost. I have paid for 3 months total and read 25 books. It's not something I would keep to read one book a month, but it's good for multiple books and I like that you can cancel and sign back up whenever you want. You just have to read your downloaded books before you cancel because once the month ends, they disappear from your kindle.

Here's a few books that I have read or downloaded using kindle unlimited:


I also read and enjoyed most of K.M. Shea's books on kindle unlimited, and Rachel Schurig's Three girls series.

Bookbub

This isn't an amazon company, but I like them because you can sign up for any ebook deals - nook, kindle, whatever, and you get an email every day. I've found a few books this way.


Audible

I wasn't always the biggest fan of audible, I think it is a bit of a rip off actually, $15 a month, basically $15 per book. At the rate I read/listen to a book, that is too expensive. I wish it were $15 a month for unlimited audiobooks rather than $15 a month for one credit which can only be used on one book. However. There are other ways to save.

Firstly, if you are new to audible - there is always a deal going on - just search 'audible coupon' or 'audible deal'. Like the one below on groupon.


If you are a prime member, I saw a 3 month free trial on retailmenot.


Last year, I got an email around black Friday for like 3 months at $1 each. I signed back up immediately! This year, I'm hoping they do more than 3 months because I'd buy a whole year if it was heavily discounted (are you listening, amazon?).

What if you are already a member and are sick of paying $15 a month? Well, there are a couple of possible options... First off, cancel! Wait, what? Just like any other company, Amazon wants to keep you as a customer and will offer you a deal. Huzzah!

Unfortunately... you can only do this once. Not that I've tried or anything... But if I had tried, I would be able to tell you that they do sometimes offer a $20 credit instead which is pretty nifty.

Thanks Audible!

Kindle + Whispersync

Another way to save is... well, I'm not going to explain it here, read this post from Modern Mrs Darcy for more info but basically you buy the kindle book and then 'upgrade' to the audiobook for a couple extra dollars (sometimes it's $3, sometimes it's $15). I'll use the same example as MMD and show you Outlander. You can see that the kindle is $3.99 and you can add the audible narration for $3.99. That is $7.98 for the audiobook (and you can switch in between kindle/audiobook and it magically knows where you left off).


Now, that's not bad right? $8 for an audiobook that would normally cost $25 on its own or 1 credit.

Okay, but what if you don't want spend your time trying to find a kindle + whispersync deal? Here's another tip. Click this link to go to your audible matchmaker and it looks at your kindle purchases and gives you the upgrades available. Mind blown.


But if you don't have any kindle books to be upgraded or don't want to listen to those ones (I'm really picky about what books I listen to) you can click this link here and that will show you all the deals for 'read and listen' and you can filter by 'add narration for $3.99 or less'. If I am specifically looking for something to listen to, I try and stay under $10 total otherwise it's not worth it.


Okay, one last audible tip - use your credits wisely. I save them for the more expensive books that I can't use the kindle + whispersync trick on, or that are more than the monthly fee of $15. See below. All the Light We Cannot See is $15.87 so if I use a credit, I'm really only saving $0.87. If I buy Inkspell which is $24 or 1 credit, I am saving $9. Boom.



Okay, moving on from Amazon. It is basically the king of internet shopping, right? Amazon is great, but it's not the be all and end all, especially with books.

Paperback swap

I don't love this website, but I don't hate it, and it certainly comes in handy. It's not my first choice when looking for a book, but I have gotten several books from this site, so it's definitely not bad. BookMooch is apparently similar, but I have not used that site.

Basically, people list books and you can 'order' them for 'free'. You list your books and people can order them as well. You pay a small fee, maybe 50 cents when you order a book, and you have to pay for the postage of books you send out - so it's not exactly free, but more like swapping books with a friend somewhere in the US. There are rules, like the books should be in good condition, no ARCs, etc. Like I said, it's not my number one but I do use it and haven't had any issues.


Barnes and Noble

I know, you probably wouldn't think B&N but their prices are actually pretty good online. Not so much in store, unless you catch something on clearance - or maybe that's just my store. Most of the time when I look, B&N is priced very similarly to Amazon, it's just a matter of convenience and free shipping on Amazon. But B&N has a bargain area and you can find books for under $5 or $10.

eBay

I know, but you'd be surprised. A lot of companies use eBay (like goodwill!), and of course just normal people like you and me. I search for what I am looking for, and then I sort by lowest price. Then I open all the cheap ones and decide based on feedback and condition of the book. I also love that some people take photos of the actual book. Check out the below copy of What Alice Forgot - I've already read this, but I like to own books I loved and I loved this book, and for $2.99? Um, yes please. The only problem with that particular listing is that it was an 'auction' vs 'buy it now' so I had to bid on it right before it ended and I risked the price going up or someone else buying it.



Book Outlet

I have used book outlet a few times, sometimes they don't have exactly what I am looking for, but when they do, it's almost always cheaper than amazon and the like. Unfortunately shipping is not free, but it's only $3.99 for the first 2 books and $0.50 for every extra book.


But check out the above series - a cute YA series I really enjoyed last year - all 3 books are under $5. Whereas on Amazon (below) they are a bit more expensive - of course, like I said, amazon wins all the shipping awards if you have prime, but if you're not in a rush, why not save money?


Another great thing about book outlet is the 'scratch & dent' section. It's exactly like it sounds. New books with a teeny bit of  (possible) damage. I have bought books from that section before, and honestly I can barely tell and I've had books from Amazon that were more 'damaged' in shipping.


Wordery

Okay, one of the main reasons I love wordery is free worldwide shipping. High five! This means if you want to buy a particular edition or book that is only available in the UK, you can, and it's a totally reasonable cost.


Book Depository

Free shipping worldwide! Their prices are pretty average, not crazy cheap or expensive. They are in the UK but shipping is fairly fast.


Powell's

I only just discovered Powell's and I love them. They have new and used books. They have free shipping over $50, I think, but otherwise it's only $3.99.


Better World Books

What I like about Better World Books, besides the free worldwide shipping, is that they donate books to people in need, raise money for non profits like Room to Read and Books for Africa. They collect books from libraries and thrift stores and they never ever throw away a book - they recycle them. They also pay for carbon offsets to minimise their footprint from all that free worldwide shipping. You can donate your books as well. Their prices aren't super competitive but I don't mind buying every now and again and supporting a company like this. They also have a bargain bin.


Books A Million

Just like the other big box stores, books a million is fairly reasonably priced, but they also have a bargains area with some great deals. Shipping is pretty cheap at $3 for each book and $0.99 for every extra book.

Alibris

They have a great selection of reasonably priced items, shipping is free over $49, otherwise it's $3.99 for each item and $2.99 for each additional (which is a bit steep to me, I would either buy one book or $49 worth of books). They also have audiobooks which is pretty nifty.

Thriftbooks

Thriftbooks is probably my #1 for used books. I can almost always find what I am looking for and it will be under $5, plus free shipping (over $10 which I never seem to have a problem with). Shipping isn't the fastest, but I don't mind. I had a few issues with them a year or so ago and they kept sending me ARCs or books that didn't match the condition listed. I took several months off and when I visited again, they'd updated their website and launched a rewards program. I've since bought 20+ books with zero issues so I highly recommend them.


I don't know if abe books and thriftbooks are the same, I think thriftbooks sells on abe books perhaps - I know they sell on eBay as well. I have used abe books a couple of times and to be honest I just don't like the website, it's not as user friendly as thriftbooks. If I can't find it on thriftbooks, I look on eBay and then abe books.

Netgalley

Lastly, if you have an e-reader and aren't signed up for netgalley yet, you need to be! Basically it's a way for publishers (or authors, I don't know) to get ARCs of their books out and have people read and review them before they are published. I have gotten some really great books from netgalley, and some really not great ones so it's kind of luck of the draw. Well, really, just be careful about what books you request and don't request something you wouldn't normally read.


One place I didn't mention but sometimes shop at is Half Price Books. They also have an online store that I have never shopped at. I am conflicted on half price books. Sometimes their prices are outrageous in store, honestly. It makes me mad. Other times, I get a book for $5 so can't complain. If you have a half price books near you and prefer real store shopping over online shopping, definitely check it out. Just don't go online afterwards to see if you could get it cheaper.

I also always check out goodwill and other thrift stores, but they are rarely organised very well (I don't blame them!) and I am normally looking for clothes anyway.

I know that was a ridiculously long post full of all the information, but if you like to read or buy books, I hope you found it helpful!

To recap: my favourite places to buy books are Amazon (new and used) and Thriftbooks. To support a great company, check out Better World Books.

I read so much that it's silly not to at least try and save money where I can. Even if you don't read as much as me (nothing wrong with that!) saving money is always a good idea!