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Keeping It Cheap

The Tracking Sheet

Some people don’t have to be fiscally conservative when they purchase their HS books, and they are blessed by that. We have 3 that we purchase school books for each year and we only have Hubby’s income, so we must be frugal when buying books. I came up with a spreadsheet that helped me to track my book purchases. This spreadsheet also helped me to keep track of what books I needed to hunt for and what I could re-use from the previous year. I also color coded the books that I was able to use for the whole group. I have shared a spreadsheet, that you can hopefully download if you choose to. There are formulas in the boxes that will help to tally up what you would need to spend retail, and then you can track your bargain finds. It is a nice way of showing yourself how and where you have saved money, if that is necessary for your budget.

The ‘cost’ column is where the sum formula is.  When entering the books you need, place the current retail amount in the block. You should see the totals being tallied throughout the page.  When you have your columns and spaces filled, simply type that column total in the ‘retail’ column.  This stays static so you can chart your savings easier.  As you hunt for the best deals, you will type in the deal in the correct boxes.  These cost or sale totals will be tallied in that ‘cost’ column.  It’s fun watching the distance between those columns grow 😉  You can also color code the things you already have that you can re-use for another child, or books that are used for all the kids.

The Hunt

The hunt for me is so much fun!!  I will open an internet window for Amazon used books, eBay, and CBD to sniff out the best deals.  I search for the books I am looking for and I always keep my wish list on CBD of the books I am going to need for the next year.  You can actually save a wish list on CBD for free.  Once I get my ball-park cost, I keep my eye on the used side of Amazon and eBay.

eBay: When dealing with eBay, always keep in mind the shipping costs.  Make sure you factor that into your amounts.  When dealing in books for school, make sure the seller is shipping Media Mail.  It is the cheapest option, but one of the slowest.  As long as you are shipping books, that is the best option when keeping things cheap.  Before you bid, make sure you have checked other sites so that you don’t end up paying more than you should, getting caught up on bidding.  You can also save your searches and have emails sent when that exact item is listed.  I find some great deals that way.  Also, keep in mind that some people don’t always list things correctly.  Try different spellings of the book titles and don’t always look in the education listings.

Amazon: The key to Amazon’s used book section is ‘ask questions’.  They don’t generally give me enough detail in each listing for my taste.  I email questions concerning markings, printing dates, cover wear, or whatever I may want to know.  Asking questions is really important, but you can save so much on your school books with Amazon.

CBD:  Christian Book Distributor is where all my books ‘originate’.  I create my wish list on their site, I get my ballpark costs there, and they regularly have the books at the cheapest rates.  If you choose to sign up with an account, you get coupons throughout the summer for various things like free shipping.  Shipping can add up quick with school books, especially for multiple children.

I wish you the best with your hunt!!  May you find cheap books for your children 😉

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