Now, buying books in itself is not the primary cause of the credit card debt I'm trying to pay down. But it does feel like it's a pretty big symptom.
So this year, with my share of our tax refund, I've budgeted out amounts for my main leisure expenses, and I am not going to spend anything beyond my allotment.
And what's interesting about this to me is that I'm only six weeks in and it has been SO hard.
But so illuminating.
And so freeing.
I've realized that, until now, I've continued to buy books as if I could read them the same week I bought them. That is, the way I used to read when I was in my twenties. You know, without children. And underemployed. Getting interested in something and reading all I could about that topic (I read more nonfiction than fiction), and then following a tangent from that book, to another, to another. Amazon is terrible for this. Amazon Prime (free two-day shipping) is even worse.
And then I would just feel horrible as the books piled up. I want to read these! Why can't I? And by the time I might get to a book I'd be off on another topic anyway.
This year my self-imposed limit has forced me to "shop my bookcase." That, combined with tracking my reading on Goodreads and being unwilling to have more than ten books at a time on my "currently reading" shelf, means I have been finally reading some of these books, and finishing them. And some of my husband's books as well. And I am loving it. I am enjoying what I read, with no worries about what I think I have to read next, no guilt about not getting to something I've just bought, and no time pressure. And yet I've actually been reading more books than usual, probably because I've been more discriminating about what magazines I read.
I have a couple of outs planned in... twice a year I get an "extra" paycheck and I figure I might use some of those for an Amazon splurge. And my birthday is coming up and my parents are usually pretty good for books or CDs. (My book budget is actually for all media and art supplies.) And I've always relied on the library as well so I might just get more deliberate about that.
So this is one resolution I've been really glad I made.