Thursday, February 26, 2015

Show Your Shelves Some Love Challenge: February Update + Book Budget

The February topic for the Show Your Shelves Some Love challenge is book finances. Before this challenge I never had a book budget. I wasn't putting myself in the poor house, but I definitely could get easily carried away. Amazon deals,, gift cards, credit card points, bargain bins, cheap used bookstore finds, splurges at my local indie store -- I just love buying books. But with so many still unread it was time for me to make a conscious effort to curb the influx. And besides, I'm running out of shelf space!

So by joining this challenge, this is the first time I have ever set a book budget for myself and decided on one new book per month. That may not seem like enough to a lot of avid readers, but the challenge doesn't count gift card purchases or freebies and I also allowed myself a few exceptions, so my budget is a bit more flexible than a strict 12 books for the year. I thought I slipped up in January by buying two books (1 print + 1 ebook), but forgot they were both bought with a Christmas gift card, so I'm technically still ahead of the game. 

To keep myself accountable, I'm going to share a breakdown of my budget and exception categories. I'm trying to not take advantage of the loopholes too much because I still want to focus on actually reading the books I own and not adding to my TBR too much. Spending less is an important aspect of this challenge, but certainly not the only one!

One new book per month -- 0/2

* Since gift card purchases don't count, I haven't used my new book allotment for January or February yet :)

Gift card purchases -- 2

The Rosie Effect, by Graham Simsion (hardcover)
Angels in the Dark, by Lauren Kate (ebook)

Giveaways/Freebies -- 2

* Won an ARC of The Silver Witch, by Paula Brackston from Goodreads
* Won Seraphina, by Rachel Hartman from Book Riot

Review Books -- 1

* Psy-Q: Test Yourself with More Than 80 Quizzes, Puzzles and Experiments for Everyday Life, by Ben Ambridge -- I haven't accepted any new review books in quite a while, but this one was just too intriguing to pass up.

Books for baby -- 3 received as gifts

* I'm being good because I know my baby shower is coming up. The three gift books were an early shower gift from a relative who won't be able to attend. So excited to start a "library" for our little guy :)

Cookbooks -- 6

* Bought Love Bake Nourish on for a really great price
* Splurged on five new cookbooks from an America's Test Kitchen $5 clearance sale. Most of them are of the quick & easy variety which is the only kind of cooking (if any!) I might be able to manage for a while, so I couldn't pass up that deal.

Library Book Sale Books -- 1

Those Who Wish Me Dead, by Michael Kortya

Used Book Store Credit -- 0

* I'm still doing very little driving by myself, so I haven't been taking any leisurely visits to my favorite used bookstores like I used to. I'm trying to save most of my credit for the baby once I do get a chance to go shopping though.

Book Club Books -- 0

* So far I've been able to borrow from the library. I'm trying to read ahead so I don't have to think about any deadlines for a few months after the baby is born -- I already read March's book and have April, May, and June ready to go.

TOTAL new books purchased from monthly budget: 0/2
TOTAL books purchased/received (exceptions): 12 + 3 for baby
TOTAL books add to TBR: 5 (would have been 6, but I already read one)
TOTAL books read from my shelves in 2015: 12

I've also been reading library books like crazy! Since I'm limiting my purchases, my library card has been getting some serious usage -- 27 books so far this year! Library books are neutral for this challenge, but if I want to read more of what I already own, I probably should aim for a little bit better balance. And if you're wondering how the heck I've read so many books in just under two months, I've recently gotten hooked on graphic novels and comics, so I've been flying through those. Plus I've been gravitating toward shorter books in general and have even read a few kids' books that have caught my eye -- I love reading all kinds of books :)

* * * * *

Do you have a book budget or any book-buying goals/limits for 2015? 


  1. I have the same problem you do, although I'm trying to solve it less drastically. I'm limiting myself to buying five books per month (how can you do just one?? That's practically like going cold turkey!). I've done well so far - only two in January and one in February. But our library book sale is coming up soon, and that usually means I come home with a bag or two full of books. Yikes. Congrats on your willpower!

    1. Well, I don't think I could do it without my exceptions! Because of my exceptions, I've had a good number of new books come into my house anyway which is a major reality-check about just how much was coming in before when I was also purchasing willy-nilly! I'm acquiring books at a much slower pace than usual and most importantly, I'm reading more from my shelves than I am adding to my TBR which is my ultimate goal, so I've very happy with that :) I'm starting to think I've substituted my library card for my credit card though given the number of books I've checked out of the library instead of buying!

      Library book sales are so great (and tempting!) My branch (luckily?) doesn't do big sales, they just have a couple of shelves all the time where occasionally a book will catch my eye. Since you did so well in January and February though, I think you have some leftover books from your 5 per month quota to stock up on at the sale :)

  2. I totally support your library usage!! :D

    It sounds like you are doing good and I am loving the budget. Very sensible. I would like to request that after you get more baby books that you do a post about your library for you baby. If you want at some point when you have time, which I know will be harder once the baby actually comes. When are you due again? I'm so excited for you!

    Anyway, it sounds like you are doing really well so far!

    1. Libraries really do rock :) I will definitely do a baby book post (more than just the photo I posted the other am I behind on replying to comments!) I think it will be fun to see which of the books I like the best and which ones the little guy likes/responds to -- I'm a lover of all books, so even I'm excited to explore children's books more now that I will have an *excuse*. I'm due April 23rd & it's fast approaching!

  3. That's a good goal and good for you on not buying any last month :) I think that credit carries over.You've already read 12 books from your shelves? awesome!

    1. I did read 12! I blew through a Harry Potter collector set of books about the movies that were rather short and heavy on the illustrations, so that definitely helped, but I had been meaning to read them for months, so I'm glad I was able to finally read them :)

  4. I totally recommend saving some of the "easier" books for when the baby comes! I remember I brought Lolita to the hospital to read- hahahaha!

    1. I think that advice will come in handy! Being so busy getting ready for the baby, I'm already gravitating toward easier books and I don't see that changing any time soon. But, hey, I'd rather that, then stop reading altogether :)

  5. Buying books as a reader is a part of the reading experience, which is why we impulse buy. It sounds like you're doing a good job so far with the budget, which is great!

    I'm curbing my book buying this year... I don't own a terrible amount of unread books (well, 50ish, although that probably is a lot to some) but I saw my book buying could be minimised. I haven't bought a single book this year so far, which I'm really happy about.
    Life’s Open Pages

    1. I love shopping and browsing for books and you are right that it is part of the experience. I miss it a bit because I don't do it as often now, but it's still great fun when I do go to a bookstore, I just need to be more conscious of my purchases. I had so much fun browsing the kid section the other day of my local store since I am allowed to buy books for the baby :) And that is a great start to the year! Sometimes I just need to remind myself that that book will still be there a few months from now, especially if I'm not ready to read it yet, I'm just tempted to buy it! Good luck with your goals for the year :)

  6. Good job on curbing your spending. I did breakdown and buy a book, but I did it with a gift card. The book was on sale and the audiobook was added on for a very small fee.

    Terri M., the Director
    Second Run Reviews

    1. Thank you! I think it's nice that gift cards purchases are allowed in this challenge -- it probably will help keep us all on track by letting us splurge every once in a while when it is gift, just a gift we get to pick ourselves :)

  7. I try to read as many library books as possible too - books can be so expensive plus I am running out of room
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

    1. Sometimes I think I've traded my credit card (for online buying) for my library card (for online book requesting) -- and I don't think that is a bad thing! The library is such a great resource, especially when you are running out of room or want to try something new.


I'd love to hear what you think :)