Thursday, January 4, 2018

Why am I making a book budget for 2018?

In my first post of the new year I shared my bookish plans for 2018. I condensed the list from previous years, but many of my plans are similar, if not identical, to ones I've made in the past. For the most part, I like to use the new year as an opportunity to evaluate what's been working well for me and what hasn't. My bookish plans aren't goals exactly, but more like a guide for the direction I'd like my reading go in the coming months. Several things on my list are already fairly well-established parts of my routine, but reminders never hurt. And I think maintaining a habit or practice is just as important (if not moreso!) than starting a new one.

But there is one brand-spanking new plan for 2018 on my list: a $25 monthly book-buying budget. I've never done one before and I'll admit I'm a little nervous about my follow-through skills. But when it comes down to it, I really and truly need one for this year. I can make every excuse in the book, but I've been spending too much money on books, especially considering how overflowing my shelves currently are. I want this to be the year I finally read more of the books I am already fortunate enough to have in our home library and I think establishing a budget is the best way to achieve that.

I considered a complete book-buying ban, but I decided that's a likely recipe for an eventual binge down the line. I also considered a book-buying ban with some pretty broad exceptions -- book club selections, library book sale, garage sale, used book store, etc., etc. -- but I'm positive I could still overdo it if I leave myself that much wiggle room. Having a set budget will force me to spend my book dollars more wisely and opt for the library in some cases or defer a purchase to a later time. I'm making very few exceptions that fall outside the monthly budget (gifts & donations; purchases made with gift cards & reward points), so any new books I have my eye on will need to be carefully considered.

This always seems easier in January than it really is. I can look ahead and see which titles by my favorite authors are coming out or which series have a new installment being published, but this never shows me the whole picture. Sure, it's easy now, to say I'm only going to buy a short list of specific titles I already know about, but I know darn well that lots of great books will come out this year that I don't even know exist yet. Debuts by writers I have never heard of will come out and pique my interest. Book bloggers will review awesome stuff. But I have TONS of books in my house already that I want to read, and I need to remember that.

I even have a huge backlog in my Audible library largely due to two incredible children's/middle grade sales this past summer and fall, as well as titles I bought with credits. At first, I didn't think I would count my Audible subscription toward my monthly budget, but ultimately decided I would. I'm just not flying through audiobooks like I was a year or so ago. I've shifted back toward primarily reading in print, so I bit the bullet the other day, redeemed my last 2 credits, and cancelled my subscription. If I want to start up again, I can, but it will count toward my $25/month.

I'm not joining any read-what-you-own challenges this year because they seem to have backfired in the past. I really think going the budget route will give me both the limits and the freedom I need to really make this work. The gift card/reward point exception gives me a bit of extra cushion and I'm feeling pretty confident I can pull this whole thing off. I quite literally have a library in my house, so I have a LOT to choose from. I also live in a fantastic public library system. I should have done this long ago, but I'm glad I'm doing it now. Wish me luck!

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Do you have a book budget? Any tips or tricks for me? I'd love to hear what has worked for you :)

2 comments:

  1. Your logic makes complete sense. I just don't think I could do it! :) I've had the most success with limiting myself to a monthly number of books I can buy, regardless of price. (I should probably try that again this year.) But it's those used bookstores and library book sales that get me every time. "These books are so cheap! And if I don't get them now, they'll be gone!". And yet, I have hundreds of unread books in my house that need some love... Congrats to you for your commitment to this goal. I'm looking forward to seeing how it goes for you! :)

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  2. I LOVE this post. I've tried to put myself on a book buying ban before (since there was once a time when I spent $15-$30 A WEEK on books), but it never worked--I felt like the more grave the restrictions I put on myself were, the less I was able to push through with it. A budget will definitely make more sense--I can buy some books BUT not too much. This is super awesome, Christine! Thanks for sharing! <3

    - Aimee @ Aimee, Always

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