Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Pure Love: Caine's Arcade

This is an oldie (four years ago!?!) but so worth sharing - if you've already seen this video once-upon-a-time, you know! I've been cleaning out the million+ blog archives I have saved & came across this little nugget of happiness/inspiration. Seriously, this kid is adorable & I get teary-eyed every time I watch it.

Click here and enjoy!


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

How to read (lots) for little

My one consistent hobby throughout life (or at least from the age I could do so) is reading.  I usually read at least two books per week (see my ongoing reading list here) & I also work really hard to do so without breaking the bank.  Here are a couple ways I keep my costs low:

Amazon Prime

It might seem odd to start here, as Prime costs $99 per year, but if you make frequent purchases via Amazon it might be worth it for you.  Along with 2-day free shipping, streaming music/movies/TV, & photo storage, you can also download one (sometimes two) free books a month.  Yes, not entirely free, but it's a nice perk & I've read a lot of great books that I may have never given a chance.

Your local library

This one should really be at the top of everyone's list.  If you don't already have a library card - grab one asap - especially if you have kids.  Libraries have numerous benefits beyond books (like movie rentals, passes to local attractions, classes, computer access - just to name a few) - you can also download e-books & rent audio books via the OverDrive app.  Don't know how or where to get a library card?  Click the "Your local library" link above to get started.

The Kindle app

The Kindle app is awesome as you don't even have to have a Kindle to use it.  You can download it to pretty much any device & read away.  If you don't have a Kindle, many models are super affordable (if you read lots, they can't be beat - especially if you like to travel with lots of books at the ready) & can also be bought used.  I have one of the earlier models & though it's a bit scratched up from lots of wear & tear, it works perfectly fine.

Why would you want to use the Kindle app or invest in a Kindle?

Most of the time e-books are a lot cheaper than hardback or paperback books (not always, but often).  E-books also free up clutter in your home, give you instant access to a bazillion titles, & sometimes e-books are offered for free for a limited time.  They also often go on sale.  Another perk? Reading a cheesy novel or a particular title you'd rather not broadcast to the world?  A Kindle gives you that privacy.  :-)

Paperback Swap

This is one of my favorite websites for paperback & hardback books.  You list 10 books you are willing to swap & in return you'll get credits for books you'd like to read.   For the cost of Media Mail, you'll have a pretty good flow of books coming in & out of your life.  If a title is super-popular/current, it may take awhile to get to you, but it's fun getting an email that one of your wishes has been granted.  You can also track books to see where they've been around the world & even keep a book if it means that much to you (ideally, though, you'd swap it out again).  This is another great way to keep your bookshelves from overflowing/reduce clutter.
Free Little Library

This is kinda the local version of the Paperback Swap website - & free!  Does your neighborhood have one?  If not, maybe you can start one?   Your community donates books they are willing to share (kids book too!) & anyone can stop by & pick up a title - love this.

Create a book exchange at work

I've worked at a couple places where co-workers would leave books in the break rooms or create groups to swap books.  A great way to read & share.

Crowdtap & other various survey sites

This one might sound odd, but I usually earn one $5 Amazon gift card per week via Crowdtap (your mileage may vary...).  No, I'll never get rich on that, but $20 towards Amazon purchases each month adds up.   Many other survey sites offer payouts in Amazon gift cards.  For the time & cost of answering surveys, trying/reviewing products, etc. while I watch TV, these gift cards are worth it to me.  Free or reduced-priced books are always worth it to me.

Ebay &

Both sites offer used books for sale (of course, Amazon too).  There are lots of used bookstores online & some physical ones still exist out there too.  Buying books used will always save money. Also, you can sell your unwanted books on these sites.

Here's a great link on other ways to get audio books for free. Do you have favorite ways to read for less?

Happy reading & cheers,

ps. some affiliate links above