Wednesday, August 10, 2011

PaperBackSwap: New (To You) on a Budget

My sister loves to read and her library is quite impressive.  The best part is that her library is constantly changing.  She manages to do this with very little cost by using a great website called PaperBackSwap.com.  I am not sure where she heard of this site but it has quickly become a favorite of hers and mine and every Book Lover that we tell about it.

The way that PaperBackSwap.com works is that (1) you post all the books that you are ready to get rid of by their ISBN, (2) mail the books that others request to them thus earning credits, and (3) request books from others with the credits that you earned mailing out your old books.  The site is pretty awesome in that it is a one-to-one swap but it ends up being a three-way swap because you send your book to one person and get a book from another.

There is no cost to become a member but there is some cost involved.  You are responsible for the cost of mailing your book to the new owner.  But by extension the other person is paying to send their book to you so it all evens out pretty well.  So, the only money that you spend goes directly to the post office and can be very little depending on book weight.  (There is an option to get the postage though PaperBackSwap.com but I think there is a small fee to use that so I never do, instead I just stop by the Post Office when I am already out doing errands)

I have used this site several times, primarily with Hubby’s old Spanish textbooks.  In college, he was required to read some Spanish Literature but the college bookstore never bought them back and he held on to them hoping that the next semester the bookstore would.  This also worked on textbooks that I couldn’t get rid of either.  This isn’t a quick fix for most random books but eventually I was able to get rid of our old books and choose new ones.

Getting books is really easy and you can pick out ones from every genre.  The one that I am most interested in right now is the Children’s books because of my 7 month old, Honey Bear (because he is such a sweet little boy!)  And, you don’t have to worry about condition because PaperBackSwap.com has standards that everyone has to follow.  I have never had a problem so far and I don’t anticipate any in the future.

If there are any books that you feel that you have read enough and are ready for something new on a budget I strongly recommend PaperBackSwap.com!

Trade Books for Free - PaperBack Swap.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tracking Down the Perfect Laptop

Hubby is currently preparing to begin his first year at Business School.  He starts a two week long Orientation on August 16th which is also the day after his last day of steady employment.  This is because Hubby’s school makes everyone sign a contract that they will not work (paid or unpaid) in any way during their first year of Business School.  Yeah, I’m nervous. 

We are trying to find him a great laptop with a whole list of minimum requirements that Hubby’s school has—not to mention the minimum requirements that Hubby has himself.  Right now we are comparing computers from BestBuy.com, SamsClub.com, Amazon.com, Costco.com, basically everywhere.  I really recommend not being impulsive on this matter since it is such a big purchase.  Plus, being thorough helps me to be less paranoid.
I also believe that the extended warranty is a great idea for school laptops.  Think about it, if you have the money now to get a laptop you probably have that little bit extra to pay for an extended warranty (which in our case only needs to be a two-year plan since Business School is only that long.  I think the smartest plan is to get a warranty that is for at least the length of your program if possible—law school: three-years; med school: four-years plus). 

Now here is my reasoning, and it has nothing to do with frivolous spending but everything to do with peace of mind, a year and a day from now (when the basic manufacturer’s warranty runs out) we will not have the money to buy a completely new computer and that is when things are more likely to break.  I also believe in the accidental plans too but they are more expensive and if you trust yourself and everyone who could come near it this might not be necessary and skipping it could save some money.  Seeing as we will soon have a small person toddling around I think that we need the accidental plan…Hubby disagrees, I’ll keep you posted on who wins that one.
It is a long and frustrating process but in the end I think Hubby will be happier knowing that we checked out every option.  Otherwise, if he were to stumble across something better that was available at the time of purchase I know he would be disappointed.

I do have some guidelines to make it a little less convoluted:
·         Decide what is important for your computer to do for you.  Create a list, and this list does not have to use computer jargon!  There are plenty of people out there who can translate what you want into the actual product.  Know what sort of things you will be using this computer for—different programs make the computer run slower and slower.  So, if you want a fast computer but you also want to run a slow program your computer will need to compensate for that and the sales clerks can help you pick that out.

·         After you have picked out your ideal computer compare prices.  Even if you are in a store and don’t have a smart phone this can be done without leaving.  Lately, more and more computer stores are hooked up to the internet—not necessarily all the computers on display but a couple.  Log on and type the model number (ask the clerk) into your favorite search engine (I prefer Yahoo.com even though I still say that I am going to ‘Google it”) and it will bring up the price at various online and real world stores.  Then decide where you want to buy it—keeping shipping costs in mind.
Wish us luck.  Laptop hunting is hard. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Wife, Mother, Moonlight Blogger

My name is Heather and I am the wife of a soon to be MBA student and a brand new mother. 

Hubby and I have been married for four years and during that time I finished college with a BS in Home & Family Living from Brigham Young University.  I am now counting on my major to guide me through the next two years.  Hubby, having finished his degree from BYU before I met him, has been working a good, steady job this whole time.  His plan has always been to attend a graduate school and he picked Business School in order to get his Masters of Business Administration.
To be perfectly honest, our marriage has been low on financial stress to this point having been able to pay our bills easily as long as we budgeted and were reasonably careful with purchases.  Doing so, we’ve been able to save up some money for Grad School but definitely not all that we would need for 2 years. 
Now, this is going to sound insane but…Hubby is voluntarily and intentionally quitting his job to return to school for a 2 year MBA program.  And thus begin our financial struggles.  This is going to be a crazy adventure but we are sure that it is best for our future…in the meantime it is probably going to suck.  How much it sucks, I have decided, is up to me and my awesome Home & Family skills I picked up in college.
My job is to keep the home running and figure out a way to survive off our savings and live on student loans while raising our incredibly adorable son.  So my goals as the wife of a Grad Student are these:
·         Make do with our saving and student loans without borrowing more than necessary


·         Keep Hubby’s stress exclusively oriented around school and not finances or the home


·         Raise our sweet, energetic son with all the love and attention that I can give him


·         Run the home efficiently by managing the costs of groceries and other regular purchases


·         Enjoy life on a shoestring budget
I am quite certain that I can find ways to achieve all this without losing my mind…or at least not all of it.
So here I am, a wife and mother who Moonlights as a Blogger.