Just like most folks these days, my ever decreasing paycheck – due to increases in health insurance premiums for the year – and the ever increasing prices in gasoline, groceries and clothing means my paycheck doesn’t go as far as it used to. The money belt is getting tighter. Maybe its just my expanding midsection, but that’s a whole other issue.
This can be a serious problem to an avid reader. I love books. No way around it. I pride myself in buying from local bookstores rather than the big chains like Barnes and Noble or Borders. La vida local! But I had to take a step back recently when I found several books I wanted to purchase.
There is no way I can justify spending $80 on 4 books. Just can’t do it. The answer? Well, duh, you’re saying about now. The local library! I turn to it often for my fiction fix, but tend toward purchasing when I want to add to my “resource material.” Can’t do it this time. Fortunately for me, Oklahoma City has a huge system of neighborhood branch libraries. What may not be on the shelf at my local branch most likely is somewhere else in the city. All I need to do is go online and put in a reserve for the book. Presto! Three days later I get an email telling me to come pick it up at my local branch. I was happy to find all four books there. Most times I find what I want, sometimes I don’t. I realized that this latest book wish list is more biographical than true resource or reference titles that will be of use later. Those I purchase, if after borrowing from the library I decide I must own them. Simple Prosperity by David Wann is a good example – definitely one of those books that requires a highlighter. So inspirational. I returned the library copy immediately and headed for Full Circle Books. They had it! Full price, but local. Buying used is good, too, but that means buying online which means paying shipping. Not always a savings and does nothing for my local economy.
So for now, being a better steward of our money by getting books from the library means I have more money to purchase organic food from the food co-op. I get to improve my mental health – no guilt over buying books, improving my sustainability knowledge – and my physical health – better food – maybe a smaller midsection? A win win, if you ask me. Something else, too. By being forced to wait a few days to get my hands on a book, I have actually found that by the time the email arrives in my inbox, I may not want to read the book anymore. So I cancel the request and it goes to someone else or back on the shelf. I haven’t spent money on an impulse purchase. Better yet, I haven’t spent money on a book just to delve eagerly into the first chapter and then say, “Dude, who told you you could write!” No money wasted on a book I’ll never finish.
Take a look around. Bet you can find ways to be a better steward of what you’ve been blessed with.
Keep it simple, ya’ll.