Saving Money on Books

How much do you spend on books every year?

I don’t really have a budget for books. I am roughly guided by the allowance for personal tax relief for book purchase of RM1,000 per year, which I believe is a sensible amount.

So far, my spending on Books (RM690.33) comes third after Pets (RM1,913.20) and Travel (RM1,034.55), while leading ahead of Personal Care (RM499.34), Clothing (RM283.00) and Entertainment (RM200.60).

Thankfully, as much as I love books, I am a slow reader and tend to read books I love repeatedly over the years.

I don’t usually shop for books like there’s no tomorrow. Even though there are times when I go into a bookstore and start piling paperbacks ferociously – I tend to ration myself and put them back again (it’s a great exercise for self-restraint!).

Growing up, my parents took my brothers and I to the bookstore every school holiday, and each of us getting ourselves 2-3 books to last us until the next trip – I believe the experience rubbed off on me in a good way.

Over time, I also have found different ways to make my money stretch further when it comes to book shopping:

#1 Use CIMB Credit Card at MPH*

I didn’t realise it until after I had applied for the CIMB Petronas Mastercard. Basically, for every RM50 spent on books, you will get RM5 voucher – that’s 10% rebate!.

Since MPH Bookstores is one of the most prominent bookstores in Malaysia, there is a good chance 3 out of 4 shopping trips I make is at MPH, so why not save money while at it?

#2 Big Bad Wolf Book Sale*

End-of-year sale when I can camp 24/7 and buy new books at 1/4 of its actual price. Range of titles may be limited, but it’s a good time to stock on those chick-lit paperbacks I’ve been dying to read but not willing to pay the full price for.

#3 Book Depository

Realistically, spending money on books in Malaysia doesn’t stretch as far as you would in the UK or the US. While paperbacks may cost you mere $9.90 in the US, it’s RM42.90 in Malaysia.

Nevertheless, I was content to pay the full amount for what they are worth. Of late, I have taken to ordering books online from MPH (free delivery) or Kinokuniya (RM8.00 delivery charge) to save on time and commuting, until my friend recommended Book Depository, an online UK bookstore offering free shipping worldwide.

Not only that, their price are also 5-10% off the recommended retail price. Deciding to give it a try, I ordered the same books I had sitting in the cart of my Kinokuniya account, and end up with more than RM60.00 in savings. Score!

 What are your money-saving tricks when it comes to spending for your hobby (although I may contend reading is not exactly a hobby, but a need and a basic human right…)?