Monday, February 8, 2016

Reading Books when on a Budget

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I love to read.  I mean, I REALLY love to read.  That's all I did in the summers as a child, and I still read as much as I can when I can find the time.  (How to find time to read will be another post for another day!)

Books can be expensive.  Here are a few ideas on how to read on a budget.

1.  The library.  Most libraries have interlibrary loan so if they don't have the book you want, they can get it for you.  I try to use this sparingly at my library because state taxes support libraries, and I live out of state from my closest library that offers ILL.  I will on occasion use it, mainly for books I can't obtain in another method, but it's not my first choice.

2.  PaperBackSwap is a site I've enjoyed for years.   Anymore I primarily use it to create a wish list of books I would like to read and if they get posted in the system, I'm in line for receiving that book in the mail.  There are fees associated with it, including mailing books that others want.  But still a frugal way to get new to you reading material.

3.  Free (and low cost) Kindle books.  Did you know you don't have to have a Kindle to read Kindle eBooks?  Although I love my electronic ink Kindle and prefer it over other eReaders, you can download the Kindle app to your phone, computer, or tablet and read there.  This link takes you to the 100 top Free Kindle eBooks.   (I visit this link frequently.)  Publishers often have specials and the books that are free change often.  Most classics are also available free as well.   In addition, for $10 a month, you can subscribe to Kindle Unlimited.  You can try it free for 30 days.   I subscribed for a while, but life got so busy with my wedding planning last year I canceled my subscription and haven't resubscribed yet.  But you can 'borrow' up to 10 Kindle books at a time from certain titles (not all publishers have their books included.)  Many self-published titles are available, and I wanted to read a number of books about blogging, eBay selling, etc., and this saved me a lot of money compared to buying each of those books individually.

4.  Reviewing books.  If you have a blog, many book publishers have a book reviewing program.  Do a search on the Internet.

5.  Giveaways, Contests, and Sweepstakes.  There are thousands of books being given away on the Internet each month.  Goodreads hosts giveaways on a daily basis.  Do a web search for something like "book giveaway (insert current month and year)" These giveaways are everywhere -- Facebook pages, blogs, websites.  In January 2016, I won over 20 books by entering giveaways.

6.  Garage sales, thrift shops, yard sales.   There seems to be an abundance of books at garage sales and thrift shops.  They may not be the most current books, but you might find your new favorite book.

7.  Book sales, Library Sales.   Don't confuse these with book fairs that often feature new (and pricey books).  At most book and library sales in my area, prices are often $1 or less per book.  I've found some real treasures at these events, and while I might end up spending a good bit at once, I will have a huge to be read pile.  (Sometimes too huge! Ha!)  I have even bought boxes of books at auctions for $1 or so a box.  Of course, you never know what might be in there,  it might be nothing of interest to you.

Happy reading!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Radar's Roundup of Giveaways Feb 6, 2016

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Feel free to link up blog giveaways here.  They must be open to the USA, hosted by a blog, and the link should go directly to the giveaway.

Also, if you would please like Books, Bargains, Blessings on Facebook as well as my page where I sell Paparazzi $5 Jewelry, I would be most appreciative. 

Be sure and enter the giveaway for my $10 Little Caesar's Pizza Gift Card.  Ends 2/28 and open to the USA.


    An InLinkz Link-up

Book Review: Breaking Busy by Alli Worthington #BreakingBusy

FTC disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.  All opinions are my own.  This post may contain affiliate links.

There's a new book out called Breaking Busy.   I don't know of any woman who has extra time on her hands, and personally, my daily schedule looks more like a battle plan than a to do list.  In fact, I've gotten a bit into glam planning because using different colors and stickers helps me be able to tell at a glance what I need to do instead of reading a whole list of things.

I hoped that the author, Alli Worthington, would be able to tell me all the ways that I could quit this crazy schedule of mine.  Some days I wish I could go somewhere I couldn't check e-mail for a week.   But since I work at home, that's not possible.

What this book talked about was cutting non-essentials from your life.  Things that are good but might not be the best for you right now.  Teaching Sunday School?   That's a good thing, and something I have done in the past, but there is no way I could do that right now.  She also talks about how to make decisions.  I really liked this part because I'm often paralyzed when it comes to making decisions.  (It's hard enough for me to decide my pizza toppings, let alone something of importance.)

One thing I really liked was how she talked about setting boundaries with work.  It seems everyone on my social media boards love the sound of the cha-ching when we sell an item.  But, I am going to disable that sound and all sounds from that app in my phone.  There has never been a case of an online selling 'emergency' and truth is, sometimes that notification wakes me up, goes off during dinner with friends, or otherwise comes at an inconvenient time.  I am going to take back the power to work my business on my schedule.  I don't know why I never thought of this before!

Another thing I liked was the list of communications from most intimate (face to face meetings) to most casual (social media posting).  I love the idea of communicating with the least intimate form of communication needed.   For instance, when I need information for my virtual assistant job, it rarely requires a phone call, but an e-mail will get the job done just as well.

Can I say I will be less busy after reading this?   Unfortunately, no.   My husband and I are renovating the fixer-upper house I inherited (while we are living in it!) plus pursing adoption.  I joked in our foster parent training that I was a work at home mom to a guinea pig.  I sell treasures online and in an antique booth, I blog.   I am a virtual assistant.  I am in direct sales.  Realistically, I knew Breaking Busy wouldn't give me more time of a day or take any of my responsibilities away from me because everything I am doing is a good thing, and I have prayerfully added in everything I am doing to this season of my life.  I do know it's only going to last for a season, though.  Reading this book gave me the determination to keep going on with my crazy life because there is an end reward (adopting a child.)  I know once that happens, my life will no longer seem to revolve around work and saving money for the expenses we are encountering, but I'll likely be just as busy in other ways.  I loved how this book basically said busy could be a good thing as long as we have prayed about things, take care of ourselves as well as our family.  Busy is a bad thing when it's not productive, not prayed for, and not purposeful.

This book will likely be different things to different women.  Some may see it as finally permission to evaluate everything and cut some things from their lives.  Others, like me, may see it as an encouragement to keep on with what we have been doing -- with a few minor adjustments to allow us to be more productive and therefore being able to claim more time for ourselves.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

$10 Little Caesars Gift Card Giveaway Ends 2/28/16

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I love pizza, so I decided that I was going to have a giveaway for a $10 Little Caesars Gift Card.  I love the hot and ready pizzas, and it's so handy at times when life has been busy, my husband can just pick one up on the way home from work, and we have dinner.  :)

This giveaway is open the USA, 18 and older.  Winner has 48 hours to respond to e-mail or another winner will be chosen.

It's winter, we're in the middle of the doldrums, so why not enter and have a chance to win a pick me up of pizza.  All the cool kids are doing it!  ha ha!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

My Five Favorite Christian Albums of All Time

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It's Wednesday, so that means it's time for Five Favorites, linking up with Ashley over at The Big White Farmhouse.

Today's Five Favorites:   My top five music albums of all time.

Can there be a better album than City On A Hill: Gathering?  I think not.  When I went to Israel in 2006, I only had an mp3 player that stored only about one hour's worth of music.  This is the album I decided to load on it.  I listened to it "On Location" so to speak.  I grew up Protestant, and imagine my surprise when I started attending a liturgical church (and of course later Catholic), but when I realized this album pretty much follows the liturgy.  There was something so chilling about listening to these songs at the places where the events took place, and I'm so glad this is the album I chose to take to Israel on my mp3 player.

Another of my most listened to albums is She Must And Shall Go Free by Derick Webb.  The language is a little course in this album for a Christian album, but it doesn't bother me any.  The one thing I love most about this album is people who know the Bible will really receive a fuller message (although anyone can enjoy it.)  I listen to this album and it feels like there is such a multi-level meaning in each song.  It has catchy tunes, and I really enjoy the music, but the lyrics rule.

Kenny Marks' Another Friday Night was a favorite of mine when I was in high school back in the 1980s.  It's typical 1980s music.  I'm upset that there isn't a Kenny Marks station on Pandora.  He seems to be an under appreciated artist from the 1980s, but those of us who are fans seem to be big fans.  This was on the 1980s version of repeat in my boom box for almost my entire senior year of high school.  In fact, I played my cassette so much I wore it out and had to buy another.  (That only happened to two cassettes I ever owned, so you know how much I appreciate this album.)

The other cassette I wore out?  Return to Paradise was released in 1989 by Randy Stonehill.  He is actually in concert (sort of) near where I live this weekend, but due to my husband's work schedule we won't be able to go.  That disappoints me greatly because this album was my go-to in college.  I remember listening to Weight of the Sky and You Can Still Walk Tall and it giving me the encouragement to keep putting one foot in front of the other and facing another day at some of the most difficult times of my life.  The other songs are just as strong.  My friends from high school and I kind of considered "Friend of Old" our theme song when most Christian youth groups were adopting "Friends" by Michael W. Smith.  Randy Stonehill has amazing musical talent and, like Kenny Marks, is under appreciated by the masses.  His other albums are great as well, but this one is my favorite.

Can I have a tie?   Well, it's my blog and I'm going to!  The Jesus Record by Rich Mullins belongs on this list.  An amazing album, he was working on it when he died in 1997.  He didn't write down any of his songs, but he had taken a cassette player into an old church and played this album on the piano and sang to it.  Various artists did the studio versions.  My Calm, Your Storm by Caedmon's Call is the final of my favorite five.  I remember hearing this album in 1996 before they became known nationally.  I was riding around with a friend who attended a Louisiana Tech, and he said they were a local band.  I wrote down their name and went on the search of this album.  Back then it was more difficult to find an indie album than it is now, but my search paid off and it's one of my most played albums.  I remember at my friend Heidi's memorial, There's a Stirring was sung.

If I had to pick only five albums to listen to for the rest of my life, I certainly would pick these six!  :)