I really wish that posts could have sub-titles because this one would have: A Proposed Project and a Study of Stephanie’s Spending Habits. I have a bookish spending problem. There. That’s the first step right? I thought a book budget would help keep me accountable. Budgets only work if you respect them and don’t have more clauses and sub-clauses than the contract in Fifty Shades of Grey.
I reviewed the purchases on my credit card last night for the month of April and was filled with horror and shame. As you do these days, I decided to share my own humiliation on the vast space of the Internet. Maybe you need encouragement. Maybe you have advice to offer. What I’ve learned about myself is that I can’t trust myself to spend my money like a responsible adult.
What I’m going to attempt to do is a bit extreme considering my current state of spending but I feel it’s necessary. As of 4/27/16 I’m going to keep my book buying as close to $0 as possible. I thought about waiting until May to start but it doesn’t take a new month to make a change. There are a few things that I’m going to do to help me achieve this goal:
- If there is a next round of #OTSPSecretSister, drop down to the Pen Pal level. – I love #OTSPSecretSister but my inability to control my spending spills over to this. It’s easy to get carried away when you end up with such an awesome person! This round, I am really enjoying the letter aspect as well as the gift giving and receiving. Bumping down to the pen pal level allows me to stay involved and still look forward to letters!
- De-link my credit card from PayPayl and Amazon. – PayPal is done. Amazon is going to have to wait until mid-July when I’ll be done shopping for my Secret Sis. I plan on avoiding personal purchases with step #3.
- Delete all Amazon wish lists. – I need to check and make sure that all of the books on my Amazon wish lists made it to my GoodReads wish lists. Once I’ve done that, I’ll delete the Amazon wish lists and eliminate temptation in the form of cheap Kindle books!
- Stop using Paperbackswap. – Yep, I’m going to stop using a used book site. One that swaps at that! In September my Standard membership will need to be renewed for $20.00. It also costs money to mail out all those books. I have 18 credits and $15.95 in postage. I’ll wheedle the postage down until I don’t have enough to send out any more books. I’ll use the credits until I don’t have any more to use.
- Use the damn library. – Serioulsy there is no reason for this to not happen. Truly. I used the library quite a bit in April and it reminded me of the possibilities.
- Donate my books to the library. – I’m going to cull any duplicate physical books (meaning I own a Kindle copy) I have. Donate them. Read a physical book I own? Donate it. Not only does shipping books out tie up my money but if the receiver isn’t happy it’s a complete waste. I don’t have a local used book store. I have to drive an hour for that and even then the selection isn’t as robust as I’d prefer. I also know that donating my books is going to make me feel better. It’ll be nice to be able to pay back a place I’ll be taking advantage of a lot over the next 365 days!
I think this will be a good start for my guidelines. I’m not going to deny that the thought of not buying a book for a year is scary but that doesn’t mean I won’t be reading good books. The only exception is going to be gift money. It will be good to have that for those books that are only available as ebooks and not available through my library. I’m also attending ALA in June and I’m not counting those expenditures toward my budget (or lack thereof!); mainly because those plane tickets are non-refundable. 🙂
Wish me luck! I’m hoping that a year of healthy financial behavior will remind me what a privilege it is to purchase a book! My monthly budget posts are going to look a bit different but you’ll see that for yourself.