Saturday, November 25, 2006


Today, I had one of those light-bulb-goes-off-in-the-head moments. The library. What better friend to the intellectually curious and fiscally conservative? Of course, everyone already knows this, but today, I was thinking about what I said in an earlier post
Every time you want to buy something, ask yourself, "do I really need this (magazine, coffee, $200 Juicy sweatpants)?" If the answer is yes, at least see if you can buy it used.
Today, the mice running the wheel in my brain took it a step further. Why even buy the used book? Why not use the library? Of course this doesn't work in some situations, for instance if you like to highlight or take notes in your book, or if you want to keep it, or it's not available at the library. However, if I think about the books I've bought, excluding those for school, I'd say at least half of those are readily available at the library. My primary motivation for buying books was that if I really liked it, I could recommend it to someone and give it to them, but if they can get it at the library, what's the purpose? Of course there are the dreaded due dates and the late fees for those who are too lethargic to lumber to the local library, but it's actually a positive. It will actually make me finish this book in less than 3 months.

If you're actually in a situation where you need to buy the book, then I recommend If you don't know, it's a branch of eBay, but the sellers set the price, so there is no auctioning. If you're a first time buyer, I can get you $5 off, just email me. It's also a great place to sell books. If you have room to store your books and don't need cash right away, you can just list your book for your price, and when it sells, you get the money. Or you can get $5 from your bookstore for a book you paid $100 for only 4 months ago. Decisions, decisions.

The other site I like to use is AddALL because it compares prices from many online retailers and finds you the best price. And they have cool trivia while you're waiting for the search. That's what gets me at least.

So, if I need a new book, here's my new mental process:
1. Is it available at the library - for free? yes........ you WIN!
no......... go to 2
2. Is it available used? yes........ you win, minus the cost
no......... you lose.... SUCKA!

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Friday, November 24, 2006

Today's the day!

Planning on doing some shopping at Borders today? Use this coupon for a free tea or coffee!
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Why are we the way we are? More specifically, why am I so cheap? I know part of it is because I hate waste. It has to do with the fact that we are currently not living a sustainable lifestyle. Even those who claim to be "green" and try to live environmentally friendly lifestyles still support this culture of consumerism that is pushing us to the edge of the cliff. We're all guilty of it, myself included.

I was in Borders the other day just hanging out, and a magazine caught my eye because on its cover was the winner of the Social Capitalist Award. However, as I was flipping through this magazine, Fast Company, an article by John R. Ehrenfeld called "Feeding the Beast" resonated with my perspective on our problem. (You can't read this online yet, but I'll link it again next month when it'll be free in the archives. Or you can just read a copy in the bookstore.) He basically states that we are all guilty of, simply put, consuming too much. We have somehow created a culture where we define ourselves by our possessions, so in order to keep defining ourselves, we need to consume more.

The first foundations for being cheap is that one must be disciplined. Every time you want to buy something, ask yourself, "do I really need this (magazine, coffee, $200 Juicy sweatpants)?" If the answer is yes, at least see if you can buy it used. This will keep a lot more money in your pockets and prevent that one item being made for your personal consumption. Look around you and ask "do I really need this (iPod, TV, book)?" Sell it on eBay, and it'll put a lot more money in your pockets. If something breaks, instead of throwing it away, first ask yourself, "can I fix this?" If something is being thrown away, ask yourself "what can I do with that (perfectly good chair, half-eaten hamburger, used condom)?" Ok, the last one's a little bit of a ...... stretch. If you think of being cheap in relation to consumption and sustainability, you may think twice before you make that next purchase.
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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Black Friday

Same blog, different title. Why the change you ask? Well, for one, as much as I'd like to be British, I'm not, so calling me a chap is kind of silly - although the alliteration worked rather well. Secondly, I wanted to narrow my niche. While I am a cheap person overall, I am living on a budget and all the money that I spend or invest isn't actually mine, it's Citibank's. This limits how much I can risk, what I can buy, etc. Also, there are certain deals that may be more appealing to a cheap student like myself rather than the cheap population overall. The things that I'm interested in don't necessarily correspond to what a budget balancing soccer mom is interested in (although I was complimented by the cashier at Publix for how well I save money, especially for a guy). So at the risk of losing some readership from the general public, I'm going to focus more on what interests students - college students, grad students, and those wannabe students who graduate but still take advantage of campus resources and their "student" status. Thirdly, as a symbolic gesture, I want this to be sort of a community type blog (of course that is hinging on the assumption that people will read it). If you find a good deal or have a tidbit of advice, post in the comments section. I want to make this a collective effort rather than an individual one. Why? Because I'm lazy.

I do this all in the hopes that I write more since this is a topic I know very much about, yes, even more than food. When my computer broke, and I didn't have one at home, I spent a lot more time in the library. No, not studying, silly, I was looking up deals! I admit it, I spend a lot of time searching for deals, freebies, anything to help me be cheaper. Yes, I admit it, I'm a cheapaholic. If only I spent that time studying...... Back to the point. The point is, that I always find several good deals each day, but I don't necessarily take advantage of all of them because normally, it's for something I don't need. However, if I post them here, hopefully, others will be able to take advantage of the deals. I will sift through many deals each day, and I will bring the best right here to you, so you don't have to do the legwork.

What better way to start off the new blog than to start it off with Black Friday. I for one, won't be attending, but if you need something, tomorrow is the day to buy it. There are generous discounts at almost every merchant, and some places have already started their online Black Friday deals. If you google Black Friday, plenty of websites will pop up, so I will not go into too much detail. If you need a hot item such as a laptop, PC, or plasma TV, you may need to pack up your Thanksgiving leftovers and camp out in front of the stores tonight. If you live in South Carolina, you have an even better deal tomorrow since it will be a tax-free holiday. What a great deal! It won't be too hard to find many deals for this coming weekend, so I may not post much for a couple days, but here are some topics I will cover in the coming weeks:

- Student loans
- Credit cards
- Cash back shopping
- Selling and buying textbooks/books
- Selling on eBay
- Investing

If you have any other suggestions, please email/post in the comments!
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Monday, November 06, 2006

My Money

One of my favorite sites to read about general finance and saving money has to be My Money Blog. In a recent post, he discusses how to work the Black Friday deals coming up. For those of you who don't know, Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving where retailers begin to get out of the red (losses) and go into the black (profits) because of all of the holiday shopping.
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