Financial Friday, Money, Simple Living

Why I Can’t Buy Any More Books For At Least 8 Years

Let’s play a fun game, shall we?

I’m going to call it—

“Things I’m Going to Stop Spending So Much Money On.”

You see, this year (and especially these past 3 or 4 months or so), I’ve really been trying to cut down on needless spending. Lately, much of it has been out of sheer necessity, but even before we had the financial need to cut down, I just knew that we didn’t need to be spending so much of our money so frivolously. And while I have been MUCH better this year overall about spending less on all of these categories, there’s still always room for improvement.

So, for a fun (or not-so-fun, as the case might be) peek into our more frivolous spending categories, here we go:

Category #1: Clothes.

This year, we have spent a total of $539 on clothing and shoes for the three of us, which *still* seems like an astronomically high number to me, even if it is the total amount of money spent on our household (although, let’s be honest—only about $50 of that has been spent on Matt).

However—now hold onto your lunch because this number might make you want to throw up—last year, we spent $1410 on clothes for the three of us! That’s almost fifteen hundred dollars, people!

I totally just lost my appetite.

Sure, I was pregnant and growing out of my clothes every week about, and true, we had a brand new small human who came with a bunch of clothing needs of her own…

But I had had bins and bins of maternity clothes and baby clothes (some secondhand, some new) given to me, so I just can’t believe we’d have such a high number.

So, if you compare this year to last year, we’re actually not looking too shabby (especially since almost $100 of that money on clothes this year was spent on a pair of high quality running shoes, which were an absolute necessity since my old ones were literally starting to give me serious injuries), but still.

For next year, I want to try and get our spending on clothing even lower if possible, because I just can’t believe how much of our paychecks we’ve put towards that already.

Moving on in our little game, let’s go onto the category of books, shall we?

Category #2: Books

Because I’m a numbers freak, let’s have a little bit of fun with numbers (this idea was totally inspired by this blog post):

Known # of Books in Apartment: 676 (does NOT include cookbooks)
Estimated Additional # of Books in Apartment: 50+ (I’m too lazy to bring out any more boxes from the closet)
Estimated # of Books Currently Loaned Out: 15
Estimated Total # of Books Owned: 741

Known # of Books I’ve Read Cover-to-Cover that I Own: 180
Estimated Additional # I’ve Read (that are on loan or in boxes): 25

Okay, now I’m left with an estimated 536 books that I haven’t read.

Narrowing it down further:
***53 of those books are “reference” books that I don’t plan on reading cover to cover (like, you know, the dictionary)
***Even if I branch out my reading a bit (or lose a lot more bets to Matt), there’s still easily 100 of his books that I just will never ever read due to our vastly different reading tastes

That leaves 383 books THAT WE OWN that I haven’t read yet (but plan to someday).

This year, I’m hoping to read around 50 books (and that’s a HUGE number for me—typically, in other years, I read around 25-30 in the year).

Let’s say that I continue my fabulous reading streak and read 50 of my own books per year (which, let’s face it, won’t happen just because I love the library and love reading new books, but imagine with me for a second)—

If I was actually able to read 50 of my own books per year, it would take me seven years and eight months to read everything that I currently own.

So, it’s official–

No more buying of books for me until I’ve taken care of this little problem I’ve got going on over here!

(The only exception would be if I was given gift cards to book stores, of course. So…everyone give me gift cards! Ha ha.)

I’ve already cut down drastically on the amount of money spent on books since last year (when we spent around $400, and the year before, where we spent around $350), but basically, I’m going to try and be a total stickler on not buying ANY more books unless it’s using birthday/Christmas money or gift cards.


Category #3: Movies and DVDs (to own)

The last time I counted, we had around 250 DVDs, and I would venture to say that it’s probably around 300 now.

The years where our habit was the worst, we probably spent between $150-200 on movies to own.

This year, I don’t think we’ve spent even $40 (in fact, my birthday splurge on the latest Jane Austen flick—Love and Friendship—from Amazon video for $14.99 might be the ONLY movie we’ve bought all year. Miracle of miracles!)

The thing that’s helped the most with this, surprisingly, has been subscribing to Netflix. For $8.52/month, we get access to tons of new shows and movies, therefore eliminating our urge to buy more movies and shows on DVD, and helping us to not add yet more stuff to our small-ish two-bedroom apartment.

And, time for the last one—

Category #4: Magazines.


I LOOOOVE magazines. I basically always have. As a teen, I subscribed to ALL the teen magazines almost, plus several other magazines that were about stuff I was into at the time (like gardening and home design).

About two years ago, for a little while there, I was determined to whittle down my subscriptions to the bare minimum and maybe only subscribe to 3-4 magazines, tops.

While that lasted a *little* while, I missed getting all my magazines in the mail, and when some “too good to pass up” deals came by, I snatched them up.

Now, I currently subscribe to 17 magazines.

Nope, make that 18.

Whoops again!

It’s actually 22.

At least.

ANYWAY, I’m fully aware that I have a teensy problem. (I will have you know that for almost all of those magazines, I read them cover to cover, like a crazy. Then I recycle most of them, or just clip out the stuff I really love.)

While I currently subscribe to more magazines than I ever have before, I actually probably have spent less than ever before on the subscriptions that I do have, thanks to a combination of totally free magazine subscriptions (through freebizmag) and super cheap $2 subscriptions.

However, because the magazine rack in our bathroom is currently completely overflowing, I have decided to once again take my subscriptions down to a more reasonable number by letting most of the subscriptions simply expire and not renew them (which many are in the next month or two).

All in all though, if I subscribe to fewer magazines and take advantage of subscriptions ONLY if they’re $2 or less, I could easily save a cool $50-70/year.

And that’s about all of this fun little “game” that I can take, ha ha! (Because I don’t even want to THINK about the kind of money I spend on things like chocolate!)

What are some of your spending vices that you could cut down on and save a bundle?


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