Since I’m not working right now, I have to reimagine my spending habits, especially when buying books. Hopefully, my situation will change soon, but I have to get a little creative for now. So, I asked myself how I’d satisfy my cravings for new books without going broke.
First, I must control the ways I hear about shiny new books. I’m a huge fan of book podcasts, and there are so many of them. Every time I listen to one, my TBR list grows exponentially. This doesn’t mean I rush out to my local indie and whip out my credit card immediately. However, the titles are on my radar, and it is tough to shut off the constant pinging to my amygdala—the part of the brain that generates desire.
So, I went through the book-themed podcasts I listen to on Spotify and unfollowed most of them. Not all of them. I kept the ones that not only have recommendations but also take deep dives into reading topics (like this one about budgeting). I’m staying away from the ones that were primarily lists of book recommendations and nothing else. This required me to make some tough choices. Against my better judgment, I will continue to follow Zibby Owens’ podcast, Moms Don’t Have Time to Read.” Her wonderful podcast includes author talks as well as quality book recs. She is a talented interviewer, and I am always in the mood for advice from seasoned writers.
Other bookish podcasts were easier to unfollow. One is hosted by two women in their 20s who talked too much about #adulting and their upcoming milestone birthdays of 25 and 30. 🙄 Oy! I hope this doesn’t sound like reverse ageism, but I couldn’t take their banter for one more minute. I have children their age, and I respect their opinions. However, as a 50+-year-old empty nester, I will also honor the stage of life I’m in, and book tastes evolve with age. And if these women have good recommendations, I’ll hear about the book from someone else. As the kids say, there is no FOMO here. (IYKYK)
Another way to curb my book spending habits is all about timing. Last year, I participated in No Book Buy July, which encouraged me to revisit the books I own or take advantage of my local library. I am confident that I saved around $350 by borrowing books instead of buying them. I had the pleasure of reading them without having to make room on my shelf. I also prioritize reading library books before others because I know people are waiting to read them when I’m done. The ones I own aren’t going anywhere, but library books have a deadline attached. If I don’t want to go back to the end of the line in the holding queue, I need to finish them.
The library also tells my amygdala to calm the f**k down. The shiny new book I heard about is probably at the library, and I’ll get to it when I get to it. There is no rush. We have plenty of other titles to keep us company—which brings me back to timing.
Instead of declaring book buy bans on myself, I want to pick months when I will buy books. I will choose these months based on special occasions. Whenever I plan to do an indie bookstore crawl, that will be a book-buying month. I’ll also give myself a grace period if I discover a new indie bookstore and want to support it within reason. It’s also my birthday next month, and I usually treat myself to a Boston Kreme donut and a trip to the bookstore.
Shit. I’m starting to see how this plan is already falling apart. Well, I tried. 😀
Okay, lightning round time. Here are a few more (realistic) ways I’ll curb my spending.
- Consider my Kindle as a platform to read digital books, not download more books.
- Borrow books from my friends! Lots of them are readers who have books I want to read.
- Cancel my Audible account, which kills me, but I can always come back to it later. I have enough audiobooks to listen to, and I don’t need to add any more.
- Treat myself to the books I’ve already purchased (see my pretty bookshelf photo above). Clearly, I was excited about them at one point. Time to remind myself why I bought them in the first place. I know I’ll uncover a lot of backlist gems there.
- Order bookish gifts online and ship them to those I love. This is an idea from a few fellow bloggers, and it’s a good one. Why else do I have that Amazon Prime account?
In what ways do you curb your spending for something you love? It doesn’t have to be books. It can be anything—crafts, jigsaw puzzles, scented candles, trips to Sephora, etc. Let’s help each other out. Share your ideas in the comments.