Here s a real quick and simple budget tip: Don t Buy Books. Ever.
Somewhere I m sure my 5th grade teacher is crying at this advice. Books are amazing you say! Let me be clear, I m not advocating you stop reading, only that there is no reason to own a book in any form, ever.
Most people I know, readers or not, buy books new. Either on a whim at Barnes and Noble, or every time they want to read something they buy it from Amazon. There are three reasons I typically hear from people when I ask them why they bought a book:
- It s a new release!
- I often reread books
- I buy books in case someone wants to borrow one
- It takes me a while to read a book
- I m building my library (you know the one we ll all have one day with a fireplace and oak desk?)
I ll address each of these points and why the whole concept is terrible for your budget. First, I think most people don t realize how incredibly convenient your library is. You ve probably been in there a few times, saw some old dusty books (not the latest fiction), and maybe even been hit with some fines for being late. For whatever reason, people are not big fans of the library. But the library is actually pretty awesome. First, it s free!!!! Ok, well you get what you pay for right? In this case, no!
Point 1 New Releases. Every major metro area has a library system that s complete enough that you can go to their website, put a book on hold, request it be shipped to your local library. This means, if you can wait even just one week, your new release will magically show up at your local library free of charge! Sometimes there is a little longer wait for new releases, but luckily there is surely something else you can read in the meantime from their other 1 million books.
Point 2 Rereading. That s great that you are rereading a book, but once again, it s a minor inconvenience to go to the library to get it again! Saving tons of money (and becoming rich) is essentially not paying others for small inconveniences.
Point 3 Buying on the intention of lending This is a great noble cause. How often do you actually end up lending these books out though? Pretty often? Well, even then, your recommendation is probably just as useful as physically having the actual book. Let that person go to the library or spend the money to buy the book, don t take that on yourself (if they buy it, you can re-read it too!)
Point 4 It takes me too long to read a book. Everyone has different reading speeds, but most libraries let you renew for at least 2 months. If you re not reading a book in two months, you probably don t like the book enough, and that s all the more reason you should be happy you didn t buy it.
Point 5 Building a Library. Honestly, I think this is the secret reason most people buy books. TV and Movies have been showing us these full complete libraries with a roaring fire for years. This all came from the fact that the Internet and Library system didn t use to exist in the 19th century. Rich people literally had to own their own libraries, and so they did. This is completely unnecessary these days, and frankly modern books just don t look as pretty when they fill up the room as old books did. This also REALLY increases moving costs and pain, and uses up storage. If one day you actually do have this dream library and it just needs books to decorate it, you can probably fill the entire thing from book giveaways and yard sales for under $200 (about the cost of 10 new books).
If you learn the joy of reading for entertainment, and the convenience of using a library, you ll save hundreds and thousands of dollars a year on entertainment. Most libraries also have magazines and movies, if you want to save on a few more entertainment expenses while you re there.