February 8, 2023

This morning, I am doing one of my a course in miracles to the children at my daughter’s nursery. Reading is a large part of our family. I and each of my children are book worms with huge collections of books that are at times divested and then re-built. Actually, I have fewer books now than at any time in my recent life: only three small book shelves worth, about two hundred or so. But at the retail price of about five pounds for paperback and over twenty for hardback, being a book worm on a budget can be a challenged. My secret is that I have paid that full retail price for less than a handful of my books.

Today, I want to share with you some of my ideas for loving and adoring the written word…without breaking the bank. But let’s first look at how reading and books rate against some of our Frugal Fam core values:

Family first. Besides talking to and with your children, there is no single gift I think you can give them that is better than a love of reading. Studies have consistently shown that children, whose parents read to them at home and from an early age, perform better in school. But it is not just about reading to them, it is also about them seeing you read. My husband almost always reads the newspaper over his bowl of celery on the weekend. Our daughter at three now has to have her own ‘paper.’ We usually purchase one of the children’s magazines for her at the grocery story or newsstand. Of course, we can then re-use of magazines with various art projects.

Healthier. It may not seem obvious how reading would apply to health, but it is wonderful form of stress relief and lower stress can improve your health significantly. This may sound funny, but one of the biggest differences in my library now and the ones I have had in the past is the absence of a significant number of romance novels. When I was unhappy in previous relationships, I would escape into romance novels as a means of dealing with those stressful situations. Now that I am happily married, my reading habits have changed somewhat. Oh I still read, but it is not as much fiction and escape.

As for the core values of saving money and environmentally friendly, let’s examine each of those in terms of the specific ways I have found for being a book worm on a budget.

1) Your local library is of course the first thing that comes to mind. While most communities still offer free library cards to their residents and free loan of books, this one has always been frustrating for me. If I love a book, it is virtually impossible for me to give it back. Of course, it is a great chance to road test books if you will before purchasing. It may also be a great alternative for time and situation specific material such as pregnancy, holidays and health topics. Since we will likely not need to repeatedly refer to the material, checking it out from the library, reading and returning it is a great alternative. It is also a free family adventure for our children, especially if we coincide our visit with reading aloud times offered in most libraries. But in terms of our core values of saving money and environmentally friendly, the library is a great option, especially if you walk there and back.

2) The Internet is an excellent alternative to purchasing books. I have been able to find research on various topics as well as quality fiction posted on the ‘information super highway.’ Obviously this alternative ranks very high on both saving money and environmentally friendly, because it is FREE and paperless. Although of course running our computers does use up energy so this source is not completely free or green, but it is a viable option for most people.

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