How I Read On A Budget

I’m going to be completely honest: books are super expensive. And being an avid reader is kind of hard when you’re a broke college student, or when you just want to save some money.

I’ve been trying to find ways to read without spending a million dollars on books, and here are the ways I’ve found to save money. Of course, you could find a PDF online, but that’s not fair to the people who worked so hard to make those books happen.

  • Invest in an eReader

I’m someone who absolutely loves the feeling of an actual book in my hand, and I love the feeling of turning the pages and smelling the book smell. However, I wish my mom had stopped me from buying books when I was younger. I spent all of my babysitting money and all of my birthday money on books, and although I am grateful to have all of those books on my shelves, it just isn’t worth it in the long run. When I left for college, I couldn’t take any of them with me, so they’ve been sitting in my childhood bedroom, collecting dust. I did, however, bring my Nook to college with me. eBooks are generally cheaper than physical books, and it’s way more portable, so you can get your money’s worth with your books by being able to bring your library anywhere.

  • Borrow books from the library

This one is kind of a no-brainer, but for a while when I was in high school, I refused to go to the library because I thought that I wasn’t a real book fan if my room wasn’t littered with them. Trust me, libraries are awesome. For exactly zero dollars, you can check out any book that they have, and you can even request books if they don’t have them yet! I could spend hours browsing for books, because that’s half the fun. And then you don’t feel guilty when you don’t like the book, because you didn’t actually spend any money on them.

  • Download the OverDrive or the Libby app

These are my absolute favorite apps on my phone. It’s basically connected to your library, so you first have to check if your library is on this app, but if it is, you have a whole collection of books in your pocket. All you have to do is put in your library card, and you can check out books to read on your phone any time. I was a little skeptical at first, but it was so nice to have the book I was reading in my pocket at all times, because, let’s be real, my phone is always in my pocket. This way I could read whatever book I want without spending any money (and they let you request books as well!). Overall, this free app is absolutely my favorite app.

  • Hang out in Barnes and Noble

This might sound a little weird, but my Barnes and Noble has a cute little Starbucks cafe on the inside of it. I can sit down, order some coffee, and read a book, without actually having to pay for it. As long as I return it before I leave, I can read it for free. You just have to remember to write down your page, because it’s not like you can stick a bookmark in a book that someone is about to buy. People in my town go to the Barnes and Noble to do homework or to meet with tutors, so why shouldn’t you be able to go and just read a book without having to buy it?

  • Borrow from a friend

My friends and I are all avid bookworms, so, chances are, one of us will have a book. This is especially true for me, since I have a twin sister, and it’s absolutely pointless for me and her to both buy the same book when we can just walk into each other’s bedrooms to borrow them. Even though you have to return them in the end, borrowing books from friends is a great way to read, because you don’t have to go all the way to a library, and you have an easy way to return it. My copy of Crazy Rich Asians was passed around to three of my friends, and two of my friends borrowed another friend’s copy of Becoming by Michelle Obama. It’s a great way to read without spending money.

  • Wait for it to come out in a paperback copy

If you’re someone who absolutely needs to own a book, and the library or other ways of borrowing books is not an option for you, you can just wait for it to come out in paperback. Hardcover books are so much more expensive, and unfortunately, most new releases are only available in hardcover (probably to make you spend more money, honestly). Even if it might be the hottest new release, you could always wait a few extra weeks to buy it in paperback form.

What are some ways you read while you’re on a budget? Let me know in the comments!

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