Chronicles of a Second Hand Book Buying Expedition

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I have been blogging here about my quest to find some of the 25 personal finance books suggested by J.D. Roth at Get Rich Slow. I have been updating you on my progress.  This will be my final post on my book hunt as I have made my official decisions on the question does patience pay off?  See my answer below.

Does Patience Save Money?

Without a doubt.  By waiting to buy these books over a three month period I was able to save almost $80 on seven books.

Was it worth it?  Would I do it again?

My first few trips to the second hand store was actually kind of demoralizing.  I thought, “What kind of a fool would take a list to a second hand store?  There is no way I am going to find any of these books”.  I felt like I was wasting my time, but once I had my first book find I knew my mission could be accomplished.  Photo by austinevan

How much time did it take?  I was looking over a three month period.  During that time I probably spent 3-4 hours total looking at books in second hand stores.  Assuming 4 hours, I saved $20 per hour.

A Few Ideas to Keep you Hunting Along the Way

  • It is a better experience if you love shopping second hand stores.  For me, I enjoyed the challenge of finding the books.  It felt like an adventure, (I know I need to get a life) not a burden.  For me the time was viewed as entertainment, not as ‘work’ or ‘extra hassle’ time.
  • Remember, you need to be patient. You never know what you will find, but if you keep taking a look at their stock you will eventually come across a diamond that made all that hunting worth the time.
  • The beautiful thing about books is that they take you time to read.  Thus, I found that often by the time (or before) I finished one book I was able to find another.
  • In the process of looking for my set book list I was able to find other great books at amazing prices.  Here are a few examples – Dave Ramsey More Than Enough for $1.50; Larry Burkett Debt-Free Living $1.50; Jeremy Siegel Stocks for the Long Run $1.50.
  • In addition, I was also able to find some books I know I wanted to sell on  In addition to saving money I also made some money in the process.  I had three books I purchased for $3.25 that I sold in a lot for $19.95.

If you enjoy reading personal finance books I highly recommend that you print up a list of books (I suggest this list of the top 88 recommended personal finance books) you would like to read and keep your eyes peeled at a second hand store.  I bet you will find some great bargains and you will learn a ton of new things about personal finance along the way.

Any other advantages to book shopping at second hand stores?


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