Tag Archives: saving money

Another Idea I Wish I’d Had First . . .

Spouse works full-time and goes to school. I take care of all his textbook purchases and such, because left to his own devices he would just go to the school bookstore while I, the Pennywise Librarian, will scour the entire internets to get the best penny-saving deal.

That is what I found myself doing yesterday, when I found this site. It was as if the heavens had opened. Chegg.com lets you rent your textbooks!!! What a fantastic idea! No more paying way more than you wanted to, only to later be stuck with a book that you can only sell for a quarter. I was quite excited. They don’t have everything, but they have enough to make a major impact on our book-buying budget.

Now, I haven’t used their service yet, so I can’t officially recommend them, but I can at least spread the word and save other starving college students some cash.



Where finances and perspective meet…

I have just finished two books about cutting back and spending less: Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping by Judith Levine and Give It Up! My Year of Learning to Live Better with Less by Mary Carlomagno.

For one year, Judith Levine gives up things that aren’t necessities. She doesn’t buy q-tips, wine, or pre-made salad mix. She tries repairing her old stuff in lieu of buying brand new. She eats in, she rides her bike, she even joins a group for people interested in voluntary simplicity. When her niece graduated from college, Judith and her significant other put their heads together and came up with a priceless gift that cost them nothing at all. She is honest, funny, and analytical about the entire process. She even let’s you know that she slipped twice (a cute pair of pants and a resale shop outfit).

BUT HERE IS THE BEST PART – She totally boasts about what libraries have to offer! Because when she needed free entertainment or wanted to make hand-made gifts, guess where she found books, events, and information??? Ms. Levine is a total champion for libraries as an invaluable resource for the cost-free entertainment.

I liked her ingenuity and I liked that she provides insight into how she got more from purchasing less. (For instance, who knew going to the museum on “free night” could be so fun?). You can visit her website and blog at http://www.judithlevine.com/

Give It Up! did not impress me as much. For one month each year the author gave up the following: alcohol, shopping, elevators, newspapers, cell phones, dining out, television, taxis, coffee, cursing, chocolate, and multitasking. Now clearly she wasn’t just giving up financial things, she was also giving up some habits. I liked her sense of humor and approach to things at times, but something kept nagging at me as I was reading. Then I got it…her attempt at giving things up and living with less is how I have to live daily. I’m not holier-than-thou or anything, don’t get me wrong. I love to swear, I multitask like a fiend, and I have never met an elevator I didn’t like, but my financial situation forces me to live a certain way. I guess I was looking for a book on saving cash and what I got was a book written by a New Yorker who pared herself down to the standards by which most Mid-westerners (and especially Michiganians) are living. It just kind of makes you feel a bit dismayed and even resentful.

Now in poor Mary’s defense, she is funny and speaks with great candor. She asks herself (and her friends) some tough questions (like, why do you feel compelled to drink when you hang out?). She is founder of Order, a clutter control and organization company and I’m looking forward to a book about that from her because the website is interesting. But at the end of the day, our financial perspectives are too different for me to really like the book.

For my next literary adventure I’m waiting for a book about America’s Cheapest Family to come through inter-library loan. I bet the pendulum will be swinging to the other extreme and I’ll be sneering at them too! Well, I’ll let you all know.

– C