How To Save Money On Books

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Books!  We love them, don’t we?  It doesn’t matter if you are a student or just an avid reader, we love and need more books.  The only problem is the expensive price tag on new books. 

Do you want to save money on books?  I’m sure you do.  There are so many ways to save on book purchases.  And, free books are also a fantastic option.  You just have to know where to look.

Our family homeschooled, so books were an ongoing expense at our house.  As my kids headed to college, we found the textbook prices to be outrageous.  Here are some ways to save on textbooks and books for school:

Buy Used- Buying used books can save you 1/2 price or more off the retail markup.  This is by far, the first choice for our family.  Here are some great places to look for used books.

*Used book Sales-Homeschool groups and conventions, libraries, facebook groups, and       individuals all are selling used books.  

*Thrift stores and book stores have a Used-Book section.  This can be a fun place to look and grab all types of books.  

*College “for-sale” boards- Bulletin boards were used in the past to post used textbook ads.  Now, colleges will have online sale boards for students to sell their old books.  College bookstores will usually have a limited supply of used books to sell, too.

Now, colleges will have online sale boards for students to sell their old books.  College bookstores will usually have a limited supply of used books to sell, too.

*Amazon- This is a fantastic place to look!  The huge selection makes it easy to find the exact book you need and get it shipped fast.

* This site is great for selling or buying used textbooks.  

*Websites: Abebooks,, A2Z homeschooling lists a huge group of places to shop for homeschool books and swap them, too.

Rent Books- This has become extremely popular for textbooks, because it’s cheaper than buying used.  College bookstores rent books for easy pick-up and no waiting for the books to be shipped.  

*Amazon also rents textbooks at great prices.  Our family has rented from both.  

*Valore offers a price-match guarantee to have the lowest textbook rental prices.  They also offer 30-day returns and free return shipping.

Free Books – Many free ebooks can be found by looking online.  These can be downloaded onto your e-reader, phone or computer.  

*Project Gutenberg has 54,000 ebooks for you.  Our family has used this great site many times. 

*Bookshare- offers ebooks for people that have a disability, and is free for students.

*Open Culture has over 800 free ebooks.  

*Kobo is also a free ebook site.

*Textbook Revolution offers free textbook searches, as well as Google.

Have you found a favorite way to save on books?  Please share; we always want to save!

@2017, copyright Lisa Ehrman

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Beginner Exercise

With all of my chronic illnesses beating me down, there is one thing that has seemed impossible for me to do.  Exercise!  Although I completely understand the benefits of exercise, when you’re knocked out from overwhelming fatigue, achieving my exercise goals seems out of my grasp.

Level Zero
Disclosure: Sponsored Review. All opinions are 100% my own.

During my time in physical therapy, the exercise there was so difficult.  The PTA’s were there to push me through the routine and encourage me.  The challenge was unbelievable, and I would feel terrible afterwards.  As someone who could exercise easily before my Ehlers Danlos became painful, this is disheartening.  I never wanted to be middle-aged and out of shape.  It’s not laziness that stops me; fatigue and pain are the reasons.

Now that my kidney functions are abnormal, the urgency to add exercise has increased.  I feel like there is a life or death struggle in my future, and exercise must be added to my daily life.  The problem has been, what kind of exercise?

Being a member of the Chronic Illness Bloggers has given me many opportunities to try new ideas and products to help with pain.  Now, I’m thrilled to be given the chance to try a new exercise program.  The designer/author/coach has made this available to me and others to try for 6 months and review.

Level Zero woman exercise

Zero to Hero is a pilates program that I’ve just started.  The online program is delightfully led by Megan Densmore.  She has the most easy-to-follow plan, with step-by-step plans to get us from Zero to Hero.  I’m most certainly at the Zero level of fitness right now.  So, when I started my very first routine last night I was truly excited!  The first step was fun and easy.  There was no pain or weakness of any kind.

You’ll be hearing more about my experiences as I go, and then a full review.  As a physical fitness Zero, there’s nowhere to go but UP!  Check it out for yourself!

@2017, copyright Lisa Ehrman

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10 Favorite Ways To Save

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Here are my favorite ways that you can use to start saving Today!

10 Favorite Ways to Save

1.  Join memberships, but only the ones that you will actually use.  A warehouse club, like Sam’s isn’t worth it if you don’t save money there.  We save on tire purchases, gas, and bulk groceries.

2. Don’t join an expensive gym, if your budget can’t afford it.  Many people join gyms and rarely go.  You can purchase some cheap equipment at yard sales and work out at home.

3. Visit all the grocery stores in your area and farmers’ markets. Learn prices by keeping a price list of what you buy on a regular basis.  Then, shop for the best prices.  Use coupons (paper or digital) or purchase off-brands (whatever price is the better buy).  

4.  Stock up when there is a super deal on something.  Of course, if it’s something that must be frozen, you’ll need to know that you have adequate freezer space at home.

5.  Don’t go in debt for small things.  

6.  Apply for loyalty cards for all stores (online, too) where you may shop.  I keep mine in a small cloth zippered bag in my glove compartment.  When I go shopping, I can throw them in my purse.  I certainly don’t want them weighing down my purse on an everyday basis 🙂

7.  Sign yourself and your family members up for Birthday Clubs.  On their birthdays, they’ll receive e-mails for free coupons to get all kinds of goodies!

8.  Consider Amazon Prime The huge list of benefits is hard to ignore. Free prime shipping, groceries, book rentals (great for college students) used books, Kindle, book borrowing, Movies, movies, streaming, music, and the list keeps growing. If you really use Amazon for more than free shipping, it’s well worth the cost! 

9.  Consign: Consignment buying and selling is wonderful when you have growing children.  You can sell their small clothes and buy bigger clothes.  I did this with my last child and he was so well dressed!  I’ve also done it with my clothes, too.  It’s a great way to make some extra money.

10. Shop “After Christmas” sales.  When I’m filling the Christmas stockings every year, the budget always seems to be finished.  I never seem to have enough money left to buy cute stocking stuffers.  Now, I’m shopping the After-Christmas Sales (online) to purchase stocking stuffers for my older kids.  I have a box filled in my closet with great purchases, which I bought at 75-80% off!

What is your favorite way to save?  

@2017, copyright Lisa Ehrman

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Great Ways To Save

Ebates – Get Cash Back on your online shopping.

Swagbucks – Get Free Gift Cards for shopping, surveys, and web searches.

Shop “Used” first – Consignment, thrift stores, Ebay, used books, Amazon, Flea Markets, etc…

Loyalty cards – Grocery stores, department stores, etc..  Receive discounts and coupons directly.

Coupons – Digital, paper, and apps.  Search for apps for all the places you shop.  You’ll find great savings in unexpected places.

Online shopping/comparisons – Know the lowest price before you make a purchase.  You may be able to combine coupons and free shipping or even get it cheaper locally.

Small Local Shops – Get to know your local dealers.  They often are negotiable and offer great service.  You can find wonderful products, fresh organic produce, and more!

If you use Credit Cards, shop around for the best rewards program that fits your family’s needs.  We use the Kroger 123 card and get Kroger Cash Back and wonderful coupons on foods that your family actually eats.  Our Amazon Prime credit card also rewards us with free money to spend at Amazon.  If you fly a lot, look for a card that gives Airline Miles.

Cash Back from Ibotta.  This offers cash back from your retail receipts.  This is also now connected to Amazon.

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@2017, copyright Lisa Ehrman

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Why Homeschool Moms Should Care About Scripture Memorization

I’m honored to present this guest post to you from Dakota Lynch of Scripture Memory Fellowship.  Mr Lynch is the IT &Communications Manager, and has been a wonderful help to the homeschool community.  Please enjoy his thoughts on Scripture Memorization and visit the Scripture Memory Fellowship website to see the amazing program there. 

Scripture Memorization

Over the last two years, I’ve traveled to homeschool conventions and book fairs across the country. As I chat with dozens of homeschool moms at each of these events, I frequently turn to their young children and ask if they can quote any Bible verses. Of course, John 3:16 or “Jesus wept” is recited quickly by most, but when asked if they know any others, the response is often disheartening: blank stares, sheepish grins, and a somewhat embarrassed parent. 

Granted, most of these kids are being raised by well-meaning parents who want more than anything for them to know Christ and embrace a biblical worldview. But tragically, many parents mistakenly think they can do this without teaching the actual words of Scripture. 

This might seem like a minor omission at first, but it couldn’t be any more serious. Why? Because a biblical worldview cannot be said to exist apart from a deep and wide knowledge of God’s actual words. We cannot omit the study and memorization of God’s Word from Christian education any more than we could omit the Constitution and Founding Fathers from our study of American history. Without God’s Word, Christian education is not Christian education at all, but moralized secularity.  

Of course, you probably already believe memorizing Scripture is important. After all, the whole reason you decided to homeschool in the first place is likely because you place some value on the Bible’s principles for living. Scripture memory, then, automatically gets your parental stamp of approval. “Sure, memorizing Bible verses is a good thing,” we say — yet relatively few of us make it an integral part of our lives.

The problem, as is so often the case, comes down to prioritization. It’s one thing to mentally assent to the value of knowing Bible verses; it’s quite another to stop what you’re doing and make a focused effort to memorize a few. We know memorizing is important, but we tend to put it in the same category as exercise and eating healthy. Running three miles and then eating a salad is admirable, but sleeping in and having a donut probably won’t kill us, right? 

It’s not that we fail to see the importance of memorizing Scripture; it’s that most of us fail to see the indispensability of it. And if you are homeschooling your kids in hopes of them embracing a biblical worldview as adults, then knowing God’s Word is foundational to the success of your homeschool. Let me say that again, just in case you missed it: if you are homeschooling because you want your kids to have biblical values, then instilling the actual words of Scripture in their hearts is vital.

At Scripture Memory Fellowship, our mission is to motivate and equip believers to memorize God’s Word. Over the years, we’ve learned that a few simple steps will get your family on the road to successful Scripture memorization: 

  • First, decide what you’ll memorize. Goals and deadlines are part of every core subject, and Scripture memory should be no exception. So, set a definite goal with specific verses to memorize.  
  • Second, set a target completion date and share your goal with at least one person outside your immediate family. That added measure of accountability will help you stay on track for the long haul. 
  • Third, make a weekly appointment with a well-chosen person to hear you recite until your goal is reached.

If you’re not sure where to start, our Jonah memory program is great for beginners and is especially suited for integration in any homeschool program. Details and signup info are at

Whatever your family chooses to memorize, I can guarantee you’ll be richly blessed as you resolve with the psalmist, “I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word” (Psa. 119:16). 

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How To Create A New Schedule

After my husband retired, our routine was gone and replaced with nothing.  We started staying up much later and sleeping in.  He quickly got caught up with his sleep and was appearing more rested.  But, after some time, he began to realize that nothing was getting accomplished in his life.

His goal of writing was getting no where, because he had no schedule to keep him on task.  His lack of schedule was also making me use that as an excuse to be less organized with my time.  We both decided we would like to be more disciplined with our time and be more productive.

I read online to see what other people were doing to create schedules in retirement.  There are many different ways to set up schedules.  We decided to just follow an easy approach.  

1. We wrote down all the things we wanted to accomplish each week and month.

2. We took a blank computer calendar and decided how to spread these goals into practical, doable actions.  We placed the actions onto the calendar in their amount of importance.  

(Ex.  Writing time- he decided how many hours a day he needed to write and added those on the calendar.)  

3. We went over the calendars together to create time to do things together and to make sure we didn’t overwork or over commit ourselves.  We wanted to make sure that there was “margin” included in our lives.  Margin is important for rest, reflection and sanity.

Using a digital calendar is helpful, because the schedule may/probably will need tweaking along the way. Schedules aren’t created to rule our lives, but to guide us into productivity and protect us from chaos.  

Android Apps offer many digital ways to keep your schedule with you at all times.  Here are a few to check out:

TimeTune is free 

Planner Pro-Personal Organizer

Planner Pro- Daily Calendar & Personal Organizer 

also has this app for iPhone

Because my laptop is Mac and my phone is Android, I prefer to use my Google Calendar which is also on my phone.  That way it syncs perfectly!  

What are your favorite ways to stay organized?  Do you keep a schedule?

@2017, copyright Lisa Ehrman

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