I am a keen reader and independent bookstores attract me like a bee to a flower. Whenever I see one, I’m very tempted to stop by, wander around, read the staff’s recommendations, and often walk out the door with two or three books under my arm.

Here’s the problem: between the many books I have on my shelves at home and the many, many books I wait for in the library, there are more books to read than I can read Years. And yet I’m still tempted.

The truth is, books have always been the type of editions that seduces me the most. It doesn’t matter how many books I already have in my reading queue. I’m still trying to buy another one. Books can easily become an addiction to spending for me.

Maybe this feeling reverberates in you, even if books are not your great temptation. Perhaps your temptation is clothes and you have an overcrowded closet. Perhaps your temptation is loose leaf tea or coffee beans (which happens to be my wife’s temptation). Various people I know buy salt and pepper shakers or tools for their garage or cookbooks – far more than they ever need or will use.

There is nothing wrong with having interests or passions, but these types of temptations come with real financial risk. If I suddenly had all the money back that I spent on books that I didn’t read or read only once before the trade, I would have many thousands of dollars in my coffers.

What’s the secret to balancing this financial outflow while enjoying the things we like most in life?

How to cut tempting expenses without being unhappy

Focus on the joy of acquisition

Instead of investing the time and energy in acquiring more of something, consciously invest that time and energy in enjoying the items you already have. For example, if you’re tempted to shop for more clothes, instead find an outfit in your closet that you haven’t worn in a long time, or look for new clothes. If you’re tempted to buy new tools, go home and instead to build something with the tools you have.

Because of my book habit, the best approach is to focus on books I have read rather than a long list of books I. have. If I’m tempted to go to a bookstore, I should go home early and read for an hour instead.

Find social contacts to enjoy the hobby

When you have people who share an interest, you can limit your spending on that interest. For example, instead of buying new equipment for a hobby, you can hang out with that person and talk about the hobby or share the hobby together. In addition, other people are a great way to exchange and borrow items.

How do you find other people interested in the same things that you are? For example, if you are interested in clothes, you might see if there are clothes changes in your area where people bring clothes and swap them with each other. If you are interested in tennis, check to see if there are tennis clubs organized by local parks and leisure departments. Search for organizations in Meetup or your city’s website, or post a feeler on social media.

For a book buyer like me, the book clubs were book clubs both in person and online. Reading the same book as others adds rich depth to the experience, helps me meet people who also enjoy reading the same things I enjoy, and gives me the opportunity to exchange books.

Borrow items before buying them

While friends who share your interest are a great way to find someone to borrow items from, there are many locations that you can borrow. Libraries are an obvious place to go for things like books, but libraries have everything: movies, audiobooks, and tools of all kinds can be borrowed from many libraries. Some stores also offer services where you can “borrow” items from them, such as: B. Video rental kiosks. Your neighbors and friends may not have the same niche interest as you, but they may have items related to that interest that you can borrow.

Once you’ve checked out an item, there is time to use it and find out if you want it to be permanent. This can help you make a purchase decision. You will often find that after the first use you no longer need to keep the item, so the return is okay.

For a book lover, the library is of course the best place to do this, but second-hand bookshops often serve as a place where books can be effectively “borrowed”, as you can often bring them back to get a discount on another book.

Sell ​​or eliminate the bottom 25% of your collection

This is a short term solution, but it is one powerful one, and it’s one that you can repeat with some regularity. What you are effectively doing is giving yourself a simple and achievable goal that relates to the items you already have and that has a number of nice side effects.

Here is what you do Take out each item in your collection and sort them into three equal piles: one that you definitely want to keep forever; the ones you are okay to get rid of; and a stack that is in the middle. When you’re done, take the pile you want to get rid of and allow yourself to keep or save exactly one of four items in that pile. The rest are the ones you were considering twice and are fine with the elimination.

As you go, you will almost always find something interesting that you forgot that will make you want to return instead of buying. You will actually feel like you have a lot more things to look forward to than you thought. You also have a pile of items to get rid of. You can sell them (if possible) or donate them. Any returns you receive on these items can be set aside to fund additional hobby purchases you may make in the future, although you now have a number of items to look forward to.

I do this regularly with my books when they overcrowd my shelves. I sell some of these and donate the rest, but I always find a few things to look forward to when I read them. The resulting money will help with future book purchase costs, although all of my discoveries have made me less interested in buying them.

Go “deep” rather than “far” by defining participatory goals

Set a personal goal that is directly related to it Participation in your interest rather than in the accumulation of things. This goal should encourage you to use the items you have on a deeper level than before.

For example, you can set a goal of reading a book a week for six months, or keeping each item in your closet at least once.

Here’s the kicker: you agree to a moratorium on buying new things until you reach that goal. So until I’ve read 26 books, I can’t buy new ones, or until you’ve carried it all in your closet, you can’t buy a new outfit.

This engages you in depth with the items you have instead of just adding to your collection by buying endlessly more things that you barely use.

Don’t rummage around for new items related to the hobby while shopping

It’s easy to do: avoid going into stores that match your interest unless you have a specific item you are looking for. If all you want to do is browse, don’t go. This applies to both online shops and physical shops.

This does not mean that you will never go to these stores again, only when you have something in mind that you specifically want. These visits allow you to slam Serendipity and pick something else up, but don’t walk in the door unless you’ve already made the decision to buy. If you haven’t made that decision, don’t go.

This policy keeps me away from bookstores unless I have a specific book in mind that I want. I will sometimes buy a second book when I go, but I’ve found that less exposure to bookstores has lessened my desire to buy more books because I am deliberately of fewer titles. That saves me money without affecting my enjoyment of books.

Define a “hobby budget” and keep it in cash

If you have a specific hobby or interest that you need to fulfill, each month figure out a healthy amount to spend on these type of items that your budget can easily tolerate and pull that cash out of yours each month Account. When you make a purchase of this type, you are only using your “hobby money” for it. If you want to buy an item online, buy it, but then get that much money out of your “hobby money”.

That way, you can enjoy your passion in any way you want, just with a spending cap on top. For example, if you enjoy hanging out in craft stores you can, but you are limited to $ 30 a month on yarn.

I have a book spend cap that gets me about three books a month. It used to be higher, but I found that with the other practices in this article, my actual book purchases have decreased over the years, and as a result, I’ve reduced my book budget as well. This is more than enough to make me feel like I can buy what books I want, when I want, while keeping my finances healthy.

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