Thoughts of summer tend to include images of situations that go well with a book. Whether sitting on a beach, flying to visit a new vacation spot, or lounging on a patio to enjoy the sun, a good book can make many summer moments that much better.
Books are already a pretty frugal habit, especially considering the hours of entertainment each one provides. But just because something's already a good deal, doesn't mean you can't find opportunities for even better savings.
This year cut your summer reading costs with these five easy tips. If you want to really embrace extra savings, stick with the options on the list that are completely free (all but #4).
1. Make use of your local library.
If we weren't already so accustomed to the idea of libraries, the concept of a building full of free books that anyone can just walk in and help themselves to would seem like something from a fictional utopia. Libraries are an amazing resource for avid readers and frugal spenders, and yet they tend to go underused.
Force yourself to make the trip to your nearest library to see just how many of the books you want to read are free for the borrowing. If you have an e-reader or smartphone, you can save gas money and time as well by checking out e-books with the Overdrive app.
2. Download books for free online.
Did you know that almost all books published before 1923 are no longer under copyright? That means if you have a computer, e-reader, or any other electronic device you can view e-books on, you can access the wide world of literary classics for free.
Project Gutenberg has a massive selection of books you can download at no cost (and don't worry, it's 100% legal). If you're not sure about which older books to read, check out their top 100 list for ideas.
3. Do a book exchange with friends.
This tip doubles as an excuse for a party. Invite a few friends over and ask them to bring any books they own that they've already read and don't mind giving away. You might find your friends already own many of the books you've had your eye on. Even better, you'll probably learn of some new books worth checking out too.
4. Do your book shopping at used bookstores.
The deals at used bookstores are pretty great. Even re-sale shops like Goodwill sometimes sell books at extremely low prices. Before you consider grabbing a book full price, check to see if it's at your local used bookstore first. There's a good chance you can buy it for half the price or less.
5. Ask friends and family members for old magazines.
Most people don't know what to do with their old magazines once they've read them. They either throw them away or let them collect dust in a pile somewhere where no one ever touches them. In many cases, people are happy to hand them over to someone interested in reading them.
Before you go on a trip, ask around and see who has old stacks of National Geographic or People laying around that you can borrow, so you can duck the much-too-high costs of buying reading material at the airport bookstore.
Reading List Suggestions
Need some ideas for your beach bag? Here are a few lists we've found. Feel free to add what you're reading (or planning on reading) to the comments as well.