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Read Me Like a Book

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How a mom of three manages to find time to read ... and afford the books she buys!

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Recession Mama: I'm not sure what I did before the Internet. I guess I just filled my days churning my own butter and putting up preserves. No, I know what I did. I actually went into stores and interacted with real live people. That sounds better than it was.

Once I went online, I never looked back. Right now, for instance, I've got too little time and too many kids to spend an afternoon browsing in a bookstore, no matter how much I enjoyed it in my former life. If I buy my book club book online, I just might have time to read it.

In fact, books are great to buy online, and are often cheaper. One of my favorite sites to compare bookstores is www.bookfinder.com. You can search by author, title, or ISBN number. Don't rule out eBay, www.half.com, or Amazon Marketplace for used or new merchandise from individual booksellers. I've bought tons of books in "very good" used condition that look brand-new. Don't forget to look for Internet coupons to sweeten the deal (just Google the site name with the word "coupon" and see what you get.) Also, always go through www.mrrebates.com or another rebate site like www.ebates.com to get a few more extra percents off if the site is listed there. Every little bit counts!

Alternatively, if you can't give up the stores, try Costco or Sam's Club for your books -- the prices are fantastic. Even a brick-and-mortar Barnes & Noble or Borders can yield some surprising finds. Always peruse the bargain sections while you are there, thinking about future holidays and birthdays, especially the countless parties of your children's classmates. Before you go, Google the store name with the words "printable coupon" and you may be pleasantly surprised. Borders almost always has a coupon promotion going -- usually at least 20% off a purchase of more than $10 (a coupon for 40% off one item just expired.) Sometimes you'll find coupons for free coffee, tea, or pastry at their café. Take a load off while you're there ...


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