1. Hide all credit cards in your underwear drawer
This sounds weird but it works like a charm. When I’m trying to avoid spending money on books (or anything else I don’t need) I hide all my cards in a ridiculous place: my dresser drawers; between DVDs; the pockets of retired coats, stowed away for the season. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. When you receive a conveniently low credit card bill at the end of the month, you’ll thank me.
2. Just say no
Sometimes, you gotta just say no. Put the book down and walk away. It will still be there in a month from now. If you still really want it two weeks later, and you actually have time to read it, then you can make the purchase.
3. No more online shopping
Do I really have to explain myself here? Online shopping is dangerous. It’s way to easy to click “add to cart.” If you must make a purchase, do so instore and with cash.
4. Assess the damage
Count how many unread books you have sitting on your shelf. If that number tops 100, like myself, then I think it’s time to get realistic. You only have two eyes and twenty four hours in the day. How much money do all those books add up to? At $15-20 a book, 100 books is represents $1500-2000 dollars. Let’s hope some of those books were bought used…
5. Create a reading strategy
Attack the books you have. Create a schedule that will allow you to read everything you have, one at a time. Once you stop adding to the TBR pile, the real work begins. Set yourself a goal and, if you can, a deadline. Projects with a deadline can sometimes inspire you to be more vigilant with your time.
6. Go cold turkey
Stop going to bookstores. Period. If you have no self-discipline, don’t tempt yourself.
7. Spring cleaning
Assess your bookshelf and ask yourself what you can purge. Have you read ten books in the last month that you have no intention of reading again? Get rid of them! It’s as simple as that. If you can’t stomach the thought, try to give away at least three books to people you know will appreciate the gesture. That way, you know they’re in good hands, but you’ve also cleared some room on your shelf. The goal is to clear as much as possible without being excessive or minimalist. By all means, keep the dogeared copy of Emma. But, if you have several John Grisham paperbacks sitting around your apartment that you have absolutely no use for, pitch em! Or, vice versa! If you can’t stand Jane Austen, don’t keep her books just because you think you should.
8. Avoid temptation
If you’re on a diet, don’t go into an ice cream parlor. Nuff said.
9. Develop a strategy for future book purchases
Once your shelf has been cleaned up, organized and prioritized, don’t go storming back into Chapters and max out your credit card! Now is the time to be thoughtful and practical. Make each purchase count! Consider your budget, and your available time.
10. Revisit the library
I don’t recommend going near a library until you are in control of your reading habits and purchasing power. Libraries, though free, can be just as dangerous. I’ve often checked out way more than I could handle, forcing me to return half -or all- books unread and late.
11. Don’t binge when you get off the diet
This tip harkens back to tip number nine. Don’t negate all the time, energy and effort you’ve committed to reorganizing your reading life! If you must, keep your credit cards hidden and avoid online bookstores! Never buy more than one book at a time.
12. Wait 48 hours before making a purchase
A good rule of thumb is to write the book title down, then put it in your purse or pocket for a later date. Don’t buy into hype, bestseller lists or sales.
Now, if only I could follow my own advice…