Mar 16, 2015

How to Survive Barnes & Noble: A Savings Strategy for the Frugal Bookworm

I rarely go into Barnes & Noble, that literary bastion of psuedo-savings, To Kill A Mockingbird totes and Peter Rabbit tchotchke. Oh sure, their wares are tempting... but that is precisely the problem! A penny-pinching shoestringer like myself must resist the temptation to overindulge in books, and that is tough because books aren't just my jam: they're my jam, my peanut butter, bread and the whole glass of milk. So when I recently found myself in B&N I almost fell off the savings wagon big time. The displays are too slick and shiny and genre-saturated to resist! But resist I did and I remained true to my library therapy regime in the process.

Goal: Delay your purchase, but not your gratification.

My smartphone camera totally saved me. I used to resist the urge to splurge on a book (or ten) by jotting down titles in a notebook, then I'd get the books out from the library later. Same practice but now I just snap a picture of the book with my phone. The funny thing I noticed on this last B&N recon mission, however, is that taking pics is more satisfying than writing things down and I don't think it is simply because it's easier. When snapping photos of what you want, in a way you are still gathering things and leaving with them. You retain not just a memo but a full-color representation of the thing itself. Such an act provides that sweet instant gratification the shopper craves wthout the resulting buyer's remorse or light pockets. When you buy anything what you're really getting as the initial reward is the potential of its use, right? Maybe that's why sites like Pinterest are so popular: it is shopping in disguise. All I know is that once my camera was out, I was in no danger of impulse buying and I went on a wild non-shopping spree:

All these titles piqued my interest, but do they really need to take up permanent space on my shelves? No!

Reality Check: Is that good deal really no big deal?

More than once I did have to fight that little voice that said, "Oh come on put down the camera. This is a bargain book. treat yourself!" That sales sticker can be alluring but, once again, do you really need it? I've been doing pretty good with my phone-to-library system but I realized that all too often I put the camera down for a good (supposedly) book bargain. But is it really a bargain if you just read it once or not at all? That's the problem with us hardcore bookworms. We inevitably end up with a storehouse of books we'll get to "one of these days". 

Case in point, here are 4 bargain books I was interested in: 


4 times I was tempted to buy because "this one's so cheap!" But add them up and you get $34.92 USD before tax. I don't know about you, but I have often experienced sticker shock at the register, having been oblivious to how my bargains were adding up. They can all wait for a library trip!

Damage Control: too late to take a picture?

So what to do with those books you already brought home and they are now gathering dust? Well if it is too late to return them, and you definitely won't read them again or ever, donate them to a local school, charity or library. You could also arrange a bookworm swap with your friends. And if you're looking for a way to recupe some of your funds you can often resell books at one of your local bookstores. Recirculate the literature and vow to do better next time. That's all any of us can do!

Happy reading, Shoestringers!
xoxo
Sally

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