Thursday 15 October 2009

Some restraint is in order

Books have been freely flowing into the B Files establishment at a rate far faster than they can be read. My eyes seem to be bigger than, well, my eyes. On Monday this week I used my bank statement to tot up exactly how much had been spent on books since last payday, and then I looked at librarything to see how many books I had added. It wasn't a pretty figure. I could have put quite a bit of money in my savings account and averted the shelving crisis if I had been a bit more careful.

So. I am taking drastic action. It is payday tomorrow and I am going to try not to buy ANY books until next payday (16/11). But ideally until the end of November.

If I do cave in, then I can only buy a book which I will read that day. So that immediately rules out all Amazon marketplace purchases. I'm not quite sure what to do about Virago Modern Classics spotted in a charity shop; perhaps I will be able to purchase them but only under the get-out clause. My other get-out is that I will continue to borrow books from the library and allow myself the odd reservation charge at the library.

Instead I will write myself a wish-list, and see if I still really want the books when I come to the end of the period. Christmas is coming, and it's not so exciting when you have already bought everything you want in the run-up - I don't really get Christmas presents, but I can still treat myself to some books for Christmas, and it will be a genuine treat rather than an everyday activity. I am also planning to donate some of the money which I will save to some of the charities that I support.

My boss has decided to join me in this challenge (only her vice is clothes, expensive designer clothes!) and so we have called it the non-essential spending challenge. This is good because I know that I can easily divert into other forms of shopping (cookery equipment, clothes) (when I gave up shopping for non essential items during Lent last year we ended up spending an awful lot more on groceries!).

I shall use the blog to help me stick to this and will share with you how I am getting on. Feel free to join in, read from your shelves* and the library, and share the pain!

*I shall be blogging next week about Susan Hill's book where she did this for a whole year.


  1. I'm not sure why you'll be in a charity shop if you have a buying ban - perhaps not seeing them in the first place is the best way to avoid temptation?!

    Good luck! It is such a hard thing to do.

  2. I've been not buying books unless they will be started THAT DAY for a few months now, and it's really helped. Good luck!

  3. Oh good luck Verity. I know how hard this is. I tried it and fell into the trap of walking past a charity shop...going in...finding VMCs...walking out with a bag full of books...just ONE DAY after promising not to buy any more books. I just can't do it. I hope you will be stronger than me.

    I agree with Jackie - don't go in to the charity shops in the first place. Avoid temptation completely!

  4. Writing a wish list and then revisiting it a week or two later is a great idea. Sometimes the yearning wears off and sometimes it doesn't. I realized last weekend that second-hand shops are dangerous, I purchased books because I saw them, not because I wanted them before going into the shop.

    This sort of thing can almost be fun when you're in it with someone else. Best of luck to you and your boss!

  5. Sometimes when I am out book browsing, which inevitably turns into buying, I think to myself "I should be at home reading".

    So I agree with some of the other commenters here, just stay out of the charity shop. Go and read one of the fantastic books already on your TBR pile. I am going to practice what I preach in the coming months...but not yet.

  6. I'm looking forward to hearing more about your month without buying books. I have a wonderful university library and a local library literally down the block from me, and I still struggle against picking up "just one" when I'm out shopping. Best of luck!

  7. Thanks for all your advice ladies and gentlemen. I shall try to stay out of the charity shops. I agree with Darlene about purchasing books because one has seen them, so I guess it is best to just avoid the shops. I'm scared!

  8. Don't be scared! I'll be right there with you being supportive and empathising. I broke last week but I did achieve six weeks so know that it can be done. I really need to read books from my shelves (and that means curbing the library requests as there are just too many and I'm not getting through them in time) and don't plan on buying any new books until Christmas... Luckily I do receive Christmas presents.

  9. Thanks Claire. I think knowing that I don't get Christmas presents makes the not spending harder...

  10. You treat yourself though and Book Psmith and I were discussing a Persephone Secret Santa...

  11. I'm so glad I'm not the only one struggling with this problem - if only I could buy a block of reading time with each book all would be well. :-) Michelle


Do leave a comment - I love to hear from people who read my blog.