We Could be Millionaires…if it Weren’t for Books

February 6, 2015 Challenge, Discussion 72

As part of a book buying ban challenge I’m participating in, I’ll be writing monthly posts based on a theme. February’s theme is supposed to be finances: how are you budgeting, how much money you think you’ve saved, things like that. BUT since I’ve already done a post on ban motivation and budgeting, I thought I’d post something a little different.

Bookworms tend to buy a lot of books. Now, some of us are good savers and frequently use the library and pay fees on time. The rest of us are hopeless. Every time we walk past a bookstore we can’t help but enter and empty our pockets. It’s a primal urge to purchase more books for our personal collection at every opportunity, whether we have any plans on reading them soon or not (some books just look pretty and we need those). Sure, there’s more important things we should be spending out money on. We’re very well aware of that. But is that going to stop us spending hundreds of dollars at once?


Now I’m all for spending money on whatever you want, but there’s one problem that comes book buying: books are bloody expensive. Especially in Australia ($20 for a paperback in a bookstore, maybe $15 in a department type store like BigW if we’re lucky and it’s stocked. Harbacks require the selling of the soul). That $100 you spent in the bookstore only bought maybe 5 books max if there wasn’t a sale. If we can spend one hundred dollars or more in one go, how much money would we spend on books in a month? A year? A lifetime?

How much money would be sitting in our banks accounts right now if we didn’t start building a personal library? The things we could buy!

Because lots of money in my bank account is something I dream about on a regular basis (I’m hoping these dreams are prophetic) I have a handy list ready to go.


What would Bec buy if she wasn’t poor because of books?

First up I’d buy myself a new laptop. Specifically a 15″ Macbook pro. My old Toshiba is starting to struggle so I need a new computer anyway. In high school we were given Macbooks and I’m really starting to miss the system. Also my sister just got a Pro and the retina display screen is beautiful.

Next up I might consider a tattoo. Specifically “Rattle the Stars”. On my left forearm. On the inside. In script. I haven’t thought about this at all. Rattle the stars is one of my major resolutions this year and I’ve been considering getting a tattoo of it since the end of 2014. The only thing holding me back is money and my doubt about pain thresholds. (Maybe I’ll get it for my 21st at the end of the year?)

Of course another thing I’d get would be a horse. People who know me well will be surprised that it’s not first on the list. I actually don’t know why it’s not. I ask for a horse every single year and my parents have yet to buy me one. It’s up to me to save up and get a horse myself and the only thing holding me back is money.

Other things I’d get are high quality headphones, a mansion and land, a nice car for my parents, a house for my family. I should also probably put some money toward my HECS debt (university fees/debt we pay of when we start working, for those non Australians). I’d buy fandom things from online stores and won’t have sob over shipping prices. I’d also be more willing to give more money to charities and people in need.

There’s probably a tonne of things I want that I’m forgetting. And many things that come to mind that I’ll never own because, let’s face it, I’m going to keep spending all my spare money on books.

What would you spend money on if you didn’t buy books?

72 Responses to “We Could be Millionaires…if it Weren’t for Books”

    • Bec

      Even TBD it no good now because the Australian Dollar is so terrible at the moment :'( Why are the things we love so expensive.

      I think if we ever actually added up how much we’ve spent we’d be very very shocked. But let’s not because I bet the numbers are scary.

    • Bec

      Oh man, if I could stick to buying on book a month I’d still have fancier things. That’s the problem of having your own money, you can spend it on whatever you want, especially if you have no responsibilities. And it disappears very very quickly.

  1. Leigh @ Little Book Star

    Haha this is so true but everytime I have money and want to buy something, the first thing that comes up in my head is to buy a book instead of saving the money. This addiction has to stop. I want to be able to buy a book and read it right away. At times I wanted to just count how many books I own and total the cost of them but I’m scared to see the result. Oh well, it’s worth it though because books are just awesome. :)
    Leigh @ Little Book Star recently posted…Review: The Conspiracy of Us (Untitled #1) by Maggie Hall

  2. Cait @ Paper Fury

    I want a mansion. Why do I not have a mansion? *stomps foot*

    I’m actually one of the oddest kinds of bookworms who DON’T buy books. Unless they’re second hand or I am literally hyperventilating for them. (Like HELLO anything by Sarah J Maas and Maggie Stiefvater? I will buy. I’m a library girl. Which is why I have saved for my Macbook pro. x) I got the 13 inc screen though, because IT’S SMALL AND CUTE. But what was I saying? OH YES. Why are books so bloody expensive? It’s so cruel. Australia is ridiculous when it comes to books. I know I’m not supporting local bookstores, but I always buy (if I’m going to buy) overseas because I can’t freaking afford to buy here!! I actually don’t mind Big W where I live. The YA books are usually $12. But they don’t stooooock anything new. It’s all John Green and John Flanagan and obscure romances with weird covers.
    Hehe, I am ranting. XD
    But I would like that mansion.

    • Bec

      I used to be a library girl, until Mum started getting angry at me for collecting so many fees (You have to pay 80c to put a book on hold online, and I’d max out my card then my sister’s then my mum’s…) so it ended up just being easier to buy the book XD

      Big W has gotten really good with their books! They don’t carry everything, but the stores near me have a fairly good range between them.

      We all need a mansion. To house all the books we won’t buy to save up for that mansion.

  3. Kyra

    I haven’t bought a book in awhile, actually! (I’m so proud of myself.) I haven’t been to a bookstore since December to buy my parents presents, and I find that if I don’t go to bookstores I don’t spend money. I know that if I walk into a bookshop, especially the fabulous second-hand one nearby, that I’ll spend all my money so lately I’ve been avoiding bookstores and focusing, instead, on my massive TBR pile. I’m saving for a telescope – as I want to be an astrophysicist one day – and I’m quite aware of the fact that if I start going to bookshops every weekend like I used to, that I won’t have any money left.
    Kyra recently posted…Review – You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes – Chris Hadfield

    • Bec

      Good on you! Avoiding bookstores helps heaps, especially if you can avoid the online stores as well haha.

      Telscopes are surprisingly expensive! I hope you can resist books to save up for one :)

  4. Kirsty-Marie

    Holy crap, books are expensive in Australia! :( Rattle the Stars would look great, and they don’t really hurt that much, unless you’re afraid of needles, it tickles more than anything (until after, then it burns for a bit).

    We’re lucky over here, books aren’t that too expensive, but I still have to limit how many I buy because of space issues, but there’s a lot of vinyl I’ve been wanting to buy from last year’s releases, that would take a huge chunk of money if I did buy them. More theatre and concerts, finally go to Italy, buy my family house, and I think that’s it.
    Kirsty-Marie recently posted…Review: All Fall Down

    • Bec

      It sucks :( They’re even more expensive now because our dollar is doing terribly at the moment, which makes everything more expensive.

      Italy would be an amazing place to visit! It looks gorgeous.

    • Bec

      Haha yeah, I don’t really have much of a life outside books so it’s a bit hard to come up with a whole heap of things. Thanks!

    • Bec

      I want a house that has a hidden library in the basement or something you have to take a hidden passage to get to because that would just be cool! Once we have the house and other things, we can totally start buying books again XD

  5. Madiha @ Symphony of Words

    My goodness I can relate SO WELL to this post! I see a bookstore, I enter, I dont even FIND ANYTHING I HAVE ON MY TBR but then the pretty covers get to me and I end up telling myself, “Hey, that synopsis sounds amazing, I need this.”

    And that’s how I have no money at all. :( WHY BOOKS WHY. And from this post I see that books in Austrailia are BLOODY EXPENSIVE. I mean, hardbacks here in India are around $20 and paperbacks around $10. :O
    Madiha @ Symphony of Words recently posted…Review: Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

    • Bec

      It’s almost impossible to leave a bookstore without buying SOMETHING. It goes against bookworm code :P

      Oh those prices sound wonderful. Never buy books from here, unless you’re desperate for an Aussie author’s novel that isn’t released elsewhere.

  6. Rachael @ Rachael Turns Pages

    True story here, but let’s face it books make a book lover’s heart happy. I would have more money in my bank account to pay off student loans. I would spend more money on decorating my apartment. I would just have more money to spend in general, but oh well I love books and that is where I decide to spend my money.
    Rachael @ Rachael Turns Pages recently posted…January Wrap Up and February TBR

    • Bec

      That they do.

      Books are a pretty good thing to spend money on when it all boils down. I mean, you can revisit all these different worlds and your favourite people multiple times for less than you’d spend on a plane ticket.

  7. Kezia

    A MACBOOK *o* When my parents decided it was time for me to get a laptop, I had wanted to buy a Macbook but my dad has this unreasonable dislike toward Apple brand so I opted for Sony VAIO. Which isn’t bad, but would be nicer if I could get a Macbook.

    I would also buy clothes because I like shopping yet I’m only allowed to buy a few pieces for some period of time. :/ Or maybe shoes and purses as well.
    Kezia recently posted…[Review] Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

    • Bec

      We has a Macbook given to us in school, but had to hand it in when I graduated and we couldn’t afford another so I have a cheap Toshiba. Macbooks are so nice.

      Haha I should probably actually spend more money on clothes, but clothes shopping is the worst kind of torture. I just buy things when I need them XD
      Bec recently posted…The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

  8. Julie S.

    Love the direction you went in for this post :) Yep, we bookworms spend all the money to acquire all the books. I’m thinking if I didn’t spend all the money on books (especially my audio subscriptions) I could also get a new laptop and go clothes shopping more often. Wow a horse huh? My co-blogger has a horse and talks about how awesome it is to own one. Hope you get that dream someday soon.
    Julie S. recently posted…That’s what HE said Thursday- February 5, 2015

    • Bec


      I’ve asked for a horse every year since I was old enough to talk and love horses. It will happen one day! Probably not until I graduate from uni but ONE DAY.

  9. Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms

    I have a problem. Because if I didn’t buy books, all I’d be doing was fantasizing of books I could buy with the money I saved NOT buying them. It’s not that I don’t buy anything else, but that I just don’t NEED anything so terribly bad. So I buy books. xD I would love to buy a ticket to go to Book Expo America, but for me to actually go would be a huge miracle.

    Good luck on the tattoo thing! I love tattoos and if I weren’t such a chicken, I’d have a lot by now :)
    Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms recently posted…Review: The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

    • Bec

      To be able to afford to go to BEA just once would be amazing! Plus to have enough money to ship the books home afterwards.

      Thanks! Tattoos are cool and this one would mean a lot but I’ve been umming and aahing over it because of the pain and the profession I’m going into (but by the time I start working I think they’d be a lot more accepted so I need to stop being a scaredy cat)

  10. Lucia @Reading Is My Breathing

    Great idea for a post!
    Nothing makes me happy as new book on my shelf :) That is all I ever ask for on birthday/Christmas. So if I could not buy books, I would probably just save up the money for the future responsible use (like buying apartment or something like that). But I can’t imagine not buying books.
    Lucia @Reading Is My Breathing recently posted…NO MORE WAITING #2: Addicted series

    • Bec


      Books were the reason I’ve always had so much trouble saving. Which I’m kicking myself now that I have to pay to rent a house. I have no extra money for anything :(

  11. Mel@thedailyprophecy

    I see my books as a great investment, because they give me the ability to travel to other worlds, to dream and to meet characters that learn me something. But, if I had the money.. Let me see. I think I would get a tattoo too (although I must admit that my fear for needles is mostly holding me back. I’m thinking about getting one on a highlight, like turning 25) and I’m going to buy a new camera, so I would buy one without hesitating so much.
    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted…Review 213. Victoria Aveyard – Red Queen.

    • Bec

      They are the best investment! So many adventures to be had and you don’t even have to pay for fuel or a plane ticket or anything.

      haha a fear of needles is a bit problematic when it comes to tattoos. It would be so nice to be able to buy a decent camera and not cry over the dent it would make in your bank account.

  12. Nova @ Out of Time

    I actually DON’T buy books and I’m STILL poor. I guess I would buy makeup. God knows that’s what I do. It’s actually insane. The last time I bought a book was in September and that was only because we picked up and drove to Book Outlet. I spent like sixty dollars in one shot but I haven’t bought anything since then. I might actually go through withdrawal.
    Nova @ Out of Time recently posted…Nova Rants: My Unpopular Opinions

    • Bec

      Make up is so expensive so that could be a decent investment. And it has reminded me that I should probably learn how to do some basic make up things one day…

      I am jealous that you live near enough to Book Outlet to drive there! Shipping to Australia is ridiculous, but those books are so cheap!

  13. Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity

    The cost of books here is disgustingly exorbitant. Everything is so darn EXPENSIVE, and like you said: you spend a hundred bucks and only get, like, five books. THAT IS NOTHING. And then you see people in the US buying like 30 books for $100, and I cry. All the tears.

    I love your list of things you would buy!

    As for me, I would also buy a mansion + a horse, and the horse could live on the really large property behind said mansion. I’d also buy a lot of books (I know, we’re talking about what wed buy if we hadn’t bought books but COME ON, I have to fill the library in the mansion I bought, okay?).

    I’m also pretty keen on a tattoo, but I don’t want a shite one. I want a really pretty perfect one, and they are hella expensive *sobbing*

    I’d also travel the world with my mula. England + US + Europe. YESSSS.

    I just really wish I were rich. WHERE IS MY MONEY AT, DAMMIT?
    Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity recently posted…After Dark Review: Hyde by Lauren Stewart

    • Bec

      And it’s only getting worse because our dollar is so horrible at the moment :(

      Once you’ve bought all the other things, you’re totally allowed to buy books. Libraries aren’t made to be empty.

      That is one of the thins I’m scared of when it comes to this tatto. It’s PERMANENT and will take a chunk out of my bank account. But it does have more meaning to me than just being some random quote so I’m really tempted…

      Yes travel! I’ve never left the east coast of Australia so I’d love to see the world. Scotland and Ireland are on the tops of my lists (particularly the highlands) and I want to go to famous historic places in Europe, then visit all my friends in the US.

      Why must all the best things cost so much?!

  14. Nara

    I would definitely have a lot more money to spare if I didn’t buy as many books haha. I mostly buy my books online, because the books in places like Dymocks are just ridiculously expensive- especially hardbacks (I’ve only bought one hardback from Dymocks, and that’s because it was on sale for some reason). I wish BookOutlet would have free shipping! How good would that be

    I’d like to go to those really fancy and expensive restaurants and see just how good the food is. Especially the desserts. My god, the desserts!
    Also kind of want to hire my own stylist haha. Then I don’t need to think about what to wear and still look fabulous :P
    Nara recently posted…What’s With All the Books About Suicide?

    • Bec

      If Book Outlet had free shipping their business would go through the roof!

      Oh that’s a good point! I’ve never been in a super fancy restaurant. I’d feel so out of place XD

      A stylist’s advice is what I need! Would I wear what they tell me to though? That is the question :P

  15. Puiman

    Haha, love this post! I can totally relate to this. I would spend my money on stuff for the parents, traveling, a car, and a grand piano.

    • Bec


      A piano would be awesome! I have no idea how to play anything beyond hot cross buns, but I’d love to own one.

  16. Joy @ Thoughts By J

    My book buying ban has worked well so far because I’m not working and I can tell myself that I CAN’T justify all the books when I have no income. But, I’m starting full time work soon and I’m so scared that I’m going to be spending ALL THE MONEY on books that’s going to sit on my shelf for ages. :/ I’m also hoping to save up a deposit for an apartment as well. Your tattoo idea sounds so nice, I hope you get around to getting it Bec! And your horsey as well! x
    Joy @ Thoughts By J recently posted…Book Review: All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

    • Bec

      Having a constant flow of money does make it a lot harder to resist! But having a certain goal to save up to with the deposit might help. Watching money grow in your bank account is surprisingly thrilling when you have something you’re aiming for!

      Thanks! It will happen eventually, I’m determined!

  17. Wattle

    I don’t buy hardcovers here anymore, they cost way too much. Why would I pay $45 for something at Dymocks when I can get it online for $25 :/ they blame the book import taxes for the prices, but I am not convinced.

    Macbooks are awesome. So are tattoos. Both are expensive though *sigh* I dream of getting more tattoos. One day! I thought they were going to be super painful but they really aren’t. When I expressed my surprise at this, the artist doing my first one said, ‘people wouldn’t get them if they hurt too much!’ ;)

    If I had more money I’d be going on vacation more often than I do!
    Wattle recently posted…Book Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

    • Bec

      If I buy hardcovers it’s from the book depository, where they’re usually $18 or so. It doesn’t help that books are published in paperback first here 90% of the time.

      I’m sure the tattoo won’t be as bad as I’m thinking, but my pain threshold is ridiculously low. Well, it used to be. Puberty might have changed that -_-

  18. Miriam @ Inky Realms

    I think I would go mad if I couldn’t buy books, so, ummm, question denied :p

    I know what you mean about how expensive books are in Australia though. (It’s the same in NZ.) It’s why I now read exclusively ebooks. Between that and the library, I think I can manage!

    Also, a horse? Pretty cool!
    Miriam @ Inky Realms recently posted…I mustache you some questions!

    • Bec

      Hey, there’s the library and friends collections to borrow from. The situation would not be ideal, but entirely possibly to survive and stay sane XD

      Ebooks are a bit cheaper, but still not as cheap as I’d like! I definitely need to start utilising them more though.

  19. Kelly

    I’ve been on a ban for a few weeks and have cut down on my book spending dramatically. It hit $250 just before Christmas and as much as I love to read, I just can’t justify spending that every month. It’s not as hard on the finances at my age though, in my early twenties, there’s no way I could have afforded to spend that kind of cash each month. I wait for sales now, unless it’s something I really want.

    I can only imagine what else I could have bought with what I’ve spent last year alone, a Prada bag, a cleaning lady for the year, landscaping my garden, probably could have had a few weeks up on the Gold Coast even.

    That makes me really sad now, I love the Gold Coast *runs off sobbing*
    Kelly recently posted…Anthology: Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean Mini Review

    • Bec

      Good on you for sticking to your ban! I’ve just hit what was your early twenties situation! Full time uni, no time for a job, rent to pay, etc, etc. It sucks.

      *cackles* I’m only an hour away from the Gold Coast. Was actually up there just a few weeks ago… which was the first time I’d been in a few years. I much prefer the Sunshine Coast.

  20. Andreea

    Here in Germany, books are very expensive as well. It’s so much cheaper to order English books from Amazon than buy German books, especially hardcovers. A German hardcover costs 20 € and an English hardcover costs only 13€.

    If I didn’t constantly buy books I would probably buy more clothes and other girly stuff I guess.

  21. Kat Stark

    Love that tattoo idea! I actually don’t spend a lot on books, but that’s because my home library isn’t all that grand. I do a lot of kindle stuff. I think I’ve just gotten to enjoy the cheap ones on there and borrowing from the library. I only buy when I absolutely love it to the moon and back.
    Kat Stark recently posted…Interview & Giveaway: Shutter by Courtney Alameda

    • Bec

      Thanks! I have a kindle which I seem to forget I own. I haven’t bought that many kindle books unless there’s a deal on or they’re free.

    • Bec

      Haha I’ve been obsessed for as long as I remember. It’s going to happen one day XD

      I need to start utilising my library better! We used to borrow books from there all the time but I stopped when high school got hectic for various reasons. And then grew addicted to collecting books.

  22. Lakin

    Books are definitely a black hole in the money department. I step into a bookstore and whoosh, money gone byebye! I would definitely buy a horse if I could afford one. I’ve always wanted one, but my parents couldn’t afford one either:( I would also give to charities, go on mission trips, and pay my way through college with no stress!
    Lakin recently posted…Taylor Swift Book Tag

    • Bec

      I think they spray something in the air of bookstores that leeches all your money from you. I used to spend $60 every time I stepped inside one.

  23. Elizabeth

    I don’t buy books, I’m pretty much a library girls all the way. In fact, I have about $150 US dollars in gift cards to Barnes & Noble, but I’ve started using those for e-books that I can’t get through the library. I used to buy books, but I went through a period of moving every year for 8 years and hauling all those books that I never re-read got pretty old. I am participating in the Snagged at the Library challenge and several of the people are keeping track of how much they are saving. One person is already at $150! If it continues at that rate she’s got a trip!
    Also, I love your blog layout. It is so pretty without being fussy. Nice and easy to read.
    Elizabeth recently posted…Crewel: a Book Review

    • Bec

      Hauling books between houses is really hard, which is why eReaders are such an awesome invention!

      WHOA that’s a lot of money saved! I might have to join that challenge next year! I haven’t been going to the library, but am working through all the unread books I already own.

      Thanks! Alise does all the design work for the blog :)

  24. Faye @ The Social Potato

    Ugh, this is so true. I have so many books in my personal library that I haven’t even read yet, and I only bought on a whim. I even bought manga online, straight from Japan, just because I thought they were pretty, even if I didn’t really understand them… I think I bought like 1000$ worth in the past 4 years which I easily could have used for a new MacBook Pro (mine is slowing down >_< It's an early 2011 model and I need a new one, stat). I don't really regret it BECAUSE THE PRETTINESS but yeah, okay, maybe I regret it a bit especially since there are so many out there I don't have plans to read yet, but ughh, it's a struggle you know!?
    Faye @ The Social Potato recently posted…Random Things in Motion #12: If you had the power to save the world, would you take that responsibility?

    • Bec

      Those whim books are pretty much what I’m working my way through now becasue of my buying ban. Here’s hoping our whims brought us good stories! haha I almost bought a volume of Rave Master manga at Bookfest the other day because it was an original edition but put it back because my Japanese is no where near that good haha.

  25. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    hahahaha oh my, this post is 10000% accurate^^ All the cash we spend on books could really make our lives easier if we put it in other areas instead ­>.< I'm also in desperate need of a new laptop. Screen died on mine so I have to keep it hooked up to the tv so I can see through my tv screen o_O And well, the bf doesn't read so he got killer tattoos recently…and I haven't been able to afford a new one in years. I could also do with a new car, clothes, a well deserved pampering at the beauty salon…etc, etc, etc.
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday *109*

    • Bec

      Oh no! That must be so annoying. My laptop doesn’t have anything so wrong with it, it’s just so slow.

      Life would be so much easier if there was just a little more money in our bank accounts.

  26. Terri M., the Director

    Books are expensive EVERY WHERE. I boggle at the price of an adult novel being more expensive then a YA novel. Or sometimes the movie/tv version of the book can be more expensive that the original before-movie/tv version.

    Totally save up for a Macbook. Totally worth the money. I switch from PC to Mac about 5 years ago wouldn’t go back. Macs are more stable. Oh, AppleCare it totally worth it. My battery went bad on my first MacBook and AppleCare covered it. :) Good luck saving.

    Terri M., the Director
    Second Run Reviews
    Terri M., the Director recently posted…Behind the Curtain: My Blogging Routine

    • Bec

      You would think the movie version would make it cheaper!

      I used to have a Macbook for school and it was great. Coming back to windows where I keep getting browser jump on and other irritating things is really annoying. I just wish they weren’t so expensive!!

  27. Laura

    Haha! So true… maybe not quite a millionaire :-) But maybe I wouldn’t be better off at all bc with all of my new found free time I might just find some really bad habit!
    I’ve made a big effort to use my local library more and I’m loving they’ve got onboard with ebook loans. Makes it so much easier in a busy schedule.

    Happy reading
    Laura recently posted…The best of the best… series

    • Bec

      There is that “what does one do if they’re not reading” problem… I’d problem be more into gaming or something which is just as expensive, really haha.

      I only recently discovered the ebook section of my library and the range is more extensive than I first thought! I’m definitely going to make more use of it when my TBR gets lower.

  28. Ashana Lian .

    This made me laugh! It’s true, Book lovers spend a FORTUNE on books, and without shame XD I’ve been pretty good over the last 12 months, but whereas before that I was buying a book every so often, Now I hold out for, say, three months until I’m bored out of my mind and then splurge. I dunno if that’s better or worse.
    Ashana Lian . recently posted…Stacking The Shelves With Fantasy (Jan 2016)

    • Bec

      Haha it’s more money at once, but you’d probably spend more on the books you REALLY want

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