I Can’t Afford my Habit

Green and Thrifty recently wrote a post about her experiences sourcing cheap books. I feel for her. I’ve always wanted a library. In fact this was my dream:


With this goals in mind I bought books. I purchased them from anyplace that sold them. The thing is even with all these thrifty ways of getting books it was still a fairly expensive habit. I could easily drop $50 at a thrift store. Slowly I began to realize that I had a lot of books on my shelf but I didn’t love all of them. In fact there were a great number that were there simply because I wanted lots of books. At that point I stopped buying books with the exception of those from 4 authors that I love.

The other issue is, like Green and Thrifty:


In 2007 I distinctly recall spending at least $40 a month on my habit. That’s about $500/year on books that have great covers that I may never read again. Thankfully I live close to 3 branches of my local library so for the cost of  driving less than 20 km I can get all the free books my heart desires.

In 2010 they  instituted a tracking system so you can see what materials (books, magazines, CDs, DVDs) you borrowed. Here’s my use:

  •  2010 – 321 items (this was my last year commuting where I borrowed audiobooks to keep my drive interesting)
  • 2011-195 items
  • 2012 – 146 items
  • 2013 – 140 items
  • 2014 – 151 items
  • 2015 – 45 items ( I took a break and didn’t go in until June)
  • 2016 – 19 items so far

The library has taken my expensive habit and made it very affordable.

As for my personal library, I now have 2 full shelves worth of books that make me happy and that I enjoy revisiting. It looks a bit like this:



Images are from here,  here, and here.


18 thoughts on “I Can’t Afford my Habit

  1. I recently just parted with 99% of my books. I didn’t have a large collection, but I realized there was no need for me to keep them around. Like you, I now frequent the library often, and I also got a Kindle for Christmas. I wasn’t sure if I’d like reading on a device, but the Kindle is amazing. I especially being able to read in the dark with it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This is a great idea and one I have used the library as a resource for many years. I am an avid reader and have considered a Kindle more often than not. Will definitely consider investing in one after receiving taxes. I have lived in about 6 states and twice as many cities. The first things I check out are the library and the church. I had to leave quite a few books when I left SC. As I buy new books at thrift stores, etc., I find myself drawn to the ones that were once included in that library. That said, you can glean what you really use from what you return to and use the library for new discovery. Go readers!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I love books too and as yourself I used to buy second hand books from stores or thrifty stores every weekend – I would feel unhappy or lacking if I had not. And then, last summer I decided to have a budget to keep my expenses at check and two things I have done were a) to have a shopping freeze for books for two months… it was hard but I did it and now I am on a shopping freeze for ever, until I am done with my Game of Thrones books, and b) to declutter my books. I have donated around 300 books, some of which I have not like or did not read after many years. I feel a lot better now with the books I have left with, each of which I love or am interested in. Books are awesome, I love libraries, especially my own, but it is a lot better this way.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m an author and an avid reader and I have done all of these thing. Kept boxes of books until my husband strongly suggested I get rid of them when we moved many years ago. (I’ve never forgiven him and am sorry about a few of the ones I gave away…but I survived.) Then we downsized again a few years ago and I sold or gave away almost all of my book. Sometimes I feel like I’ve read every book I’m interested in at the library, so I’m glad I have my Kindle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve lucked out as my local library has gotten a boost of community support so they’re constantly bringing new materials in. I do remember having to search for new or interesting materials before.


  4. timelesswheel

    I can so relate to this because I have so many books at home and I love reading. I buy a lot of books, but all the ones I really want to read. I still have a pile of books waiting to be read. I work all day and commute very far (dim or no lights in the transportation vehicle) and barely get time to squeeze in reading. Still manage to do it in between this and that 😀 I love talking and reading about books and it gets me excited 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We can’t help ourselves! It’s a passion that must be fed :).
      I remember reading a novel and a character said she couldn’t wait to grow up because then she would read at the table all the time. I thought this was going to be the best part of being a grown up! I must confess when eating by myself a book is almost always my companion.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for linking to me! As you know, I still have the library. I need to be using the actual library more and only buying those books that i read and love, but there’s just something about being surrounded by books that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I haven’t bought a new book in quite a while – generally I trade what I have already and use the credit to get new books or people give me gift cards and I use those. I have quite a to-be-read pile at the moment and, any of those that i don’t love are going to the used bookstore for credit. I got to the point where I was getting books from thrifty places way too often, so I declared a moratorium on book buying and am only allowing trades these days. Books are my last true vice though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They’re such a good vice! I love having books around me, it’s a wonderful feeling to know that no matter what I’m feeling there’s a book for if.
      You’re much more disciplined about giving your books a second life than I was! I love the idea of trading them in.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Because I am a history major, I have close to 80 books or so on shelves throughout my house. Some are textbooks while others are historical novels of some kind or another. I just can’t bring myself to part with a book that I buy. The dream is that one day when I have my own office, I can put them all in there and have something for my clients/employees to look at behind me. The best part about owning so many books is that I can always reread them. I generally read anywhere from 5-15 books a year so I have a steady 5 or so year supply at hand.
    I have been wanting to get back in the habit of going to the library but of course, I can’t deny my favorite author and his ever expanding list of novels he puts out which is usually 2-3 a year. I end up spending less than $50 a year which isn’t so bad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel you! I think you should keep as many books as you can/ that are reasonable for your lifestyle and dreams.
      I was an English major and graduated ~10 years ago. It was only last year that I was able to part with some of my books. I’m torn I wish I had kept them so I can look at them but I got rid of any that I never read after the class. I’m sad to say there were loads!


  7. Yes! I definitely struggle with curbing my spending when it comes to books! For me, books truly are gifts that I can open any time! (Quote by Garrison Keillor) These days, I’ve had to hold on to the old gifts though, and very seldom have a new one…but one day….ah, yes….one day! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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