I have to confess something: I have a potentially VERY expensive habit. I’ve tried to kick it, I’ve tried just being OK with it, but it’s not going anywhere. Now, I just need to deal with it, because nothing seems to be able to put this thing behind me. I love…LOVE….LOVE books. I can’t NOT read them or buy them. The newest Christian non-fiction? Gotta have it. That highly recommended children’s book? It’s in my amazon cart before we finish talking. That book from the library that I really liked? Bought it already. It’s bad.
I’m scared to figure out just how much I actually spend a year on books (outside of school books) because, quite frankly, the number would probably kill my husband. Fortunately, I haven’t figured out how to itemize my Amazon order history to do this.
But there is HOPE!
This is how I afford my very expensive book habit.
I’ve come up with somewhat of a solution that seems to be helping, at least a bit. Here it is: DON’T PAY FOR THEM! That’s it, very simple. Now, before you freak out that I’m suggesting that you steal books (whether it’s socially acceptable or not, I can assure you it is still illegal). There are several ways to get your books for free; these are the two methods I use.
Method 1: Review Them
This method used to be available only to bloggers, but in recent years, since social media has overwhelmed the blog and e-readers have become so popular, many publishers and authors have opened their reviews to anyone. Some do require that you have a certain sized following or a website on which to post your reviews, some don’t. I’ve had a lot of luck with getting really fantastic books simply by reading and writing a review.
I’ve worked with the following:
- Waterbrook Multnomah
- Book Look Bloggers
- Tyndale Publishers
- Follow your favorite authors on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram….they very often will share opportunities to review their upcoming books!
Method 2: Buy Them
I know I said that I’ve managed to not have to pay for most of my books. This is true. But there are ways to buy books, without having to foot the bill yourself.
Introducing….cash back bonuses!
Chances are your credit card has a cash back bonus option. Find out and use what you earn for book purchases. I have an Amazon Prime visa, which means I get 5% cash back on every purchase I make on Amazon, and 1-3% on purchases made elsewhere. Being that I rely pretty heavily on Amazon and my Subscribe and Save (we do live almost an hour away from any chain stores), that’s a hefty chunk of change every month. Sometimes I do have to force my self to wait a month or two to make a purchase, but that’s really OK.
I’ve had a ton of luck with click thru websites! There are several out there, but the ones I’ve had the most luck with are the following (these are my referral links):
- Ebates.com – I’ve earned $344.77 since I’ve had an account with them a couple of years ago (I use this for almost ALL of my online purchases)
- Ibotta (smartphone App) – $31.65 since November 2016 (I use this for any of my purchases on iTunes and more specifically for grocery shopping)
- SwagBucks – Another really well known one…I haven’t focused too much energy on them though
- TopCashback – Just found out about them, but all the reviews say they’re fantastic, better than Ebates
My recommendation on this method is pick one that works great for you and stick with it. Yes, you could go through all of them, but you’re more likely to forget to use your links and it will take you longer to save up your earnings. However, I do recommend that you cross reference who is giving the most cashback on certain websites, especially when you’re making a big purchase (when I wrote this up I checked Lands’ End…ebates was 2%, TopCashback was 4%; Lowes was 2.5% on Ebates, 5% on TopCashBack – so definitely do your research).
One of the best things about any of the click thru websites is that they very often they will give you cashback for any friends you refer that sign on….which can add up quickly. Another fantastic thing is that just because you’re going to a brick and mortar store don’t assume that you can’t get a cashback. Most major chains offer in-store pick up. Use a click thru website to place your order, get the cashback and very often the websites offer their own coupon or discount codes.
Where To Start
I know this is a lot of information and a lot of methods to sift through, but start somewhere. I recommend signing up for an account with Ebates.com or TopCashback for your online purchases, and start following your favorite authors on social media. Before too long you should start seeing the results of a little bit of effort.
Don’t limit yourself to books with this either! Think of all the things you could be putting extra money toward, without spending a penny more than you are already:
- Christmas and Birthday Gifts
- Memberships (gym, book, website, etc)
- Ministries, Charities, and Missions
- THE SKY IS THE LIMIT! Use your imagination.