6 Ways to Be a Bookworm and Not Be Broke

Hello everyone!

GUYS, it’s time for a reality check. Over the last few months, I’ve been spending anywhere from $80 to $150 CAD per month on books. To put this in perspective, the only other bigger spenders on my budget are rent and food. I pay more for books than I do for my car insurance, pole dancing membership, and Internet. Seriously.


As much as I believe in enriching the brain as well as our bodies, there must be a way to read voraciously without breaking the bank. Here are some of the things that I’ve brainstormed:

1. Go to the library.

Difficulty: Medium


To be honest, I don’t think the library is used enough! Previously, I’ve denounced the library because:

a) It’s far and I… just don’t want to walk/drive there.

b) I’ve been listening to a lot of audiobooks because, well, life gets busy and there isn’t always time to sit down with a book!

c) I want to read books that are recently released. Libraries only have old books.

NEWSFLASH YOU GUYS! If your library has OverDrive, you can also get eBooks and audiobooks. And if you don’t have the time to visit your library in person, you can actually download these from your phone!

Also, some libraries have an AMAZING selection, both old and new! For example, when I signed up for OverDrive, I found out that my library actually has an audiobook copy of They Both Died At The End (which was, like, just released 2 weeks ago), my soul screamed in happiness, and I snatched it up shamelessly 🙂

This is for those who love the experience of reading books and don’t mind not actually having the book to keep.

2. Buy used books.

Difficulty: Medium


I absolutely love used books. Firstly, they are CHEAP. And I’m a cheapskate at heart 🙂 Finding the right book does require some digging, since used book stores are usually not as organized as your conventional bookstore. But hey- isn’t that part of the fun?

Whether old or new, you are reading the same words and the same story 🙂

This is for those who love the experience of reading physical books and don’t mind the old-book smell and the occasional coffee stain.

3. Reread old goodies.

Difficulty: Easy


Do you have old favourites on your bookshelf that you haven’t touched in ages? Better yet, do you have the memory of a goldfish (like me) and barely remember any books that you’ve read more than a month ago?

IF SO, maybe it is time to reread some of those books that you used to love. The economist in me rationalizes that you will be getting the most bang out of your buck if you read a book two, three, or four times, rather than just once.

This is for all bookworms who do not have a photographic memory 🙂

4. Do not buy books. (Aka. Book-buying ban)

Difficulty: HARD


[Cue scary music]

A book-buying ban is not for the faint of heart. It is one of those things that are easily said, but difficult to do.

Personally, it has not worked well for me: I equate it to being on a strict diet where I cut out only my favourite food in the universe. I do well on this diet for a week, maybe two weeks, maybe even three. But then I decide the world is unfair and go on a book-buying binge :’)

This is for those who have willpower and discipline.

5. Take advantage of sales.

Difficulty: Medium


If the time is right, there might be a sale at your bookstore or online retailer! Audible, for example, occasionally have $5 sales or 2 for 1 sales, both of which are good deals!

On the flip side: sales can lead to overspending if you buy books that you never intended to buy in the first place!

This is for those who love books but can resist over-spending.

6. Create a budget.

Difficulty: Hard!


In recent years (due to a thing called adulting), I started creating a spreadsheet for my earnings and spendings each month, and it made a world of difference to me. I definitely won’t get into technicalities here, because entire blog posts (and websites! and books!) have been dedicated to this subject. But in short, we want to answer these questions:

a) How much do I earn each month?

b) How much do I spend each month on essential needs? (Ie. food, electricity, room over our heads)*

c) How much do I want to save each month? (For a house! or a car! or a vacation!)

d) How much spending can I allow on books each month?

*As much as we would like to think so, and I hate to have to say this, but for the sake of this blog post and this blog post only: Books are not essential needs.

This is for those who need to meet #adulting demands and believe in the power of spreadsheets.


What are your favourite money-saving tips? What works and what doesn’t? Do you go to the library? Do you like used books? Are book-buying bans effective for you? Do you like spreadsheets as much as I do?

50 Replies to “6 Ways to Be a Bookworm and Not Be Broke”

  1. Book buying bans and budgets are so hard! Damn near impossible! What I have a hard time with is libraries. The one we have here is so small and they rarely ever have the books I’m looking for. I usually have to request from another library, wait for it to come in, and then it always comes in when I’m in the middle of something and I get pressed for time. I’m a bargain shopper. What I can’t get here in Canada cheap I usually go to book depository. In Canada it takes FOREVER for a cheaper paperback to come out when it’s usually immediately available on book depository!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! Book buying bans are impossible for me and I was never able to stick to it. I can see what you mean about libraries! Lately I’ve been using overdrive more than borrowing physical books, which gets around having to wait (unless the book is on hold!) Going to book depository is a good idea that I keep forgetting! I should check it out more often 🙂 I also have good experiences with awesomebooks which is an online store for used books ($3.75 per book!) but shipping takes a while!

      Thanks for dropping by 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s great!! The website is awesomebooks.com. You get free shipping with a certain minimum order (I think $30 but not too sure!) It does take a while to ship to Canada (they are from the UK)- I think it took 1-2 weeks for my first order. I could tell the books were used but they were in good condition 🙂 Hope you will have a good experience with this site if you decide to use it!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I used to love going to the library!! But ever since I started reading in English I stopped going because they don’t have a big YA section that is in English (I swear they only have The Hunger Games and Harry Potter lol). It sucks when you’re from a non-English-speaking country because it’s rare that you find English books… anywhere!!! #STRUGGLES.

    I do really like the idea of a spreadsheet though! Book buying bans never work out for me but I feel like if I made a list every month to see how much I’d technically be allowed to spend on books, I’d buy much less! So thanks for this idea, I’ll definitely try it out 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jackie! Yes unfortunately depending on the library, there may not be a good selection of English YA books! I realize that I am lucky to be living in an English-speaking country. I really admire people who are bilingual- it is amazing to be able to read/write in a language that is different than what you usually use 🙂 what language do you speak, if I may ask?

      I’m glad that you like the spreadsheet idea and I hope you find it as helpful as I do 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great tips but the library is no option for me either, they don’t have many English books and none that are recent. Also buying second hand books is a big problem because it feels like I’m the only one reading English books here 🙂 Our country is still very much a book hoarding country. I used to be one myself but now I at least try to leave some of my books in a Little Free Library. I don’t even know if someone reads them because I’m forced to take Dutch books out and I leave English books :-). Book blogger problems 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Inge! Yes I’ve also heard from the other book bloggers about some of the problems with libraries. It is unfortunate that there might not be a big selection of English books! And I can see how this can be with second hand bookstores as well. I realize that I am lucky to be living in an English-speaking country where English books are the default.

      I’ve heard about the Little Free Library and it sounds so, so cool! Seems like a good way to exchange books with fellow bookworms in the area without having to buy new books 🙂

      Thanks for dropping by 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. My biggest problem is SPACE. We try to be good, with a rule that if we get a book then an old one has to go. We don’t stick to it of course, and my wife does not yet know that I’m slowly filling my office at work too….
    The Oxfam bookshop in Lancaster is my downfall as the books are in good condition but cheap. Then I took a donation of kitchen items to the charity shop on the campus where I work last week – and spotted a whole wall of books in there. I am determined not to go and look!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Since I read mostly ebooks and listen to audiobooks, I don’t have many physical books, and I also don’t really have a bookshelf! They are sort of…. just on a pile on my table LOL 🙂 I can imagine that having many books can take up lots of room. You must have a very awesome bookshelf in that case 🙂

      I know what you mean! If I walk into a good bookstore, I will not walk out empty-handed! There is a good used bookstore on my way to the dance studio. I started to not carry my wallet so I won’t be tempted to buy anything 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. These are all great tips Sophie, and definitely needed because I spend so much money on books as well! 🙂 Seriously I need to learn to cut down a little.
    I’ve actually set myself a challenge of reading all the books I own which I haven’t yet read. It should keep my busy for a while and it has limited the amount of books I’ve brought as well, added bonus there.
    I’ve tried book buying bans and setting a budget and it’s so hard for me to stick to them. I guess I just need to find something that I know, 100%, works for me.
    Great post. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s great that you are challenging yourself by finishing the books that you have 🙂 This seems like a good alternative to a strict buying ban! I should try that as well, since I’ve accumulated quite a few books over the past months 🙂

      Thanks for dropping by Beth!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Definitely challenging. I am not nearly as far into it as I assumed I would be and that’s because I have a fair few ARCs I need to get through first. 🙂
        Yeah I think it definitely keeps you busy, and saves on buying books because you realise how many you still have to read! 😀
        That’s all right.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m though most of them now, pretty much all my reviews for September have been ARCs so it will be nice to get to some other books that aren’t next. 🙂
        Oh yeah that’s a definite way to save money, unless you decide you love the book so much you want a finished physical copy, which I’ve done a few times! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      3. One thing I’ve been worrying about in terms of ARCs is that I might not ending up liking them (since I would be making the decision to request them based on fewer reviews/ratings than published books.) That’s good to hear that you are liking them so far though

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Haha that’s true 🙂 even for books that are published and frequently reviews, I don’t like some books that everyone loves, and vice versa! People’s tastes are so different, and it’s true that we can’t like every book.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Unfortunately I don’t have a book budget any more so more or less problem solved! Nowadays I only buy books when there are any money left at the end of the month or I have carefully planned months before. And still always looking for bargains, used and e-books. Anything more than 10€ is now considered “expensive” for me and there are months I can’t afford even that. It’s a good thing I’ve got a “stash” of books from better days and I can borrow from some friends. Not meaning to make anyone feel bad.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you for understanding, I am also lucky that my lovely Helena is also a bookworm (prefers crime and YA) and that helps a lot. Library is an option but the books are mostly outdated and not all genres get covered. It’s just a small municipal one.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Fantastic post, Sophie, I love all of your tips here! I unfortunately don’t have a library where I could get my books from, so I end up buying most of my books… which is quite good in the end because I have to THINK about what I buy, not buy books that are too expensive and everything. If I’m working, I’m still trying to have a budget and not spend too much each month on books, otherwise… well…if I’m starting, I will never stop hahaha 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Marie! That’s unfortunate to hear that you aren’t able to get books from a library. Good for you for putting thought into the books that you buy 🙂 It definitely is a challenge to not over-spend! One time I went into a bookstore looking to buy 1 book, and walked out with 5 haha 🙂 Having a budget makes me more aware of doing things like that and will hopefully prevent that from happening again!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hahahaa, I have this problem way too often. I tell myself I’ll just buy or order one book and I end up getting like, five. I can’t help myself sometimes 😛


  8. I’m broke half the time due to my book-buying addiction so your advice was very helpful 🙈 🙂
    I usually buy used books – they’re super cheap,I feel like I’m contributing towards sustainability of the environment and I usually impulse buy (previously unknown) titles that I end up loving!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes budgets are hard to stick to, and unfortunately not all libraries have a good selection! I think that money spent on things we love is money well-spent 🙂
      Thanks for dropping by!


  9. Hey, nothing wrong with your book buying being one of your major expenses, lol! I WISH I had a bunch of extra money for it! (And more time, too!) I like online sites for books; and if you’re into garage sales, sometimes you can find people selling large book collections. I also like to trade with friends which is easy on my budget. Oh, and Dollar Tree here in the States sometimes has interesting books for only a buck!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha yes we spend money on things that we love, and it’s true that there is nothing wrong with that! It’s perfectly fine to spend money on travelling and clothes, so why not feed our brain? 🙂 it is an interesting way to think about it!

      I love garage sales because they are full of good surprises! We have dollar tree in Canada and honestly I didn’t think they sold books at all! Maybe I’ll have to check those stores out 🙂

      Thanks for dropping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Loved this post. Extra points for the Macklemore gif!

    In regards to the library/overdrive part: Anyone doing the digital library thing needs to check if their library offers access to a digital service called hoopla. It’s much like overdrive, but there are never any holds. Every book, audiobook, graphic novel, movie, etc, is available instantly through the site. Your only limitation is 10 borrows per month. After using it for the past little while, I find myself checking it BEFORE Overdrive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Glad that you like this post!

      And thanks for the tip! I checked my library website after I read your comment, and it does have hoopla! So far I am not too familiar with the titles that is on there, but I will take a closer look 🙂 great tip!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Fantastic post! I absolutely love the library, been going there since I was a kid. Plus, I work with limited living space, so I really have to think about which books to buy before heading into a bookstore. I do have to say though, that it’s a well known fact public libraries do not get much funding these days. The once new (and majestic) library I use to visit is now old, has limited and even wrinkled books. And yes, financing is very important; I even use an app to help me keep track of my expenses. I would also suggest trading books with friends, or donating /buying a book with the library. That way, many more people can have the reading experience they want from a newly purchased book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello! Thank you!

      Yes unfortunately not all libraries get a lot of funding, which is a shame! That’s great that you use an app to keep track of expenses. I am more old school (I copy and paste my credit card transactions onto a spreadsheet and group them into categories from there)

      Trading books is such a good idea! I like buying from libraries as well, since the books are generally cheaper. And I will keep in mind to donate back to the library too 🙂


  12. Great list. I also found that e-reader apps have free books! I have kindle and iBooks and I have found many books for free. I recently read Slaughterhouse Five thanks to this. I’m not a huge fan of e-readers but I travel a lot and I am on a book budget so it works for now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Cristen! Thanks for these tips. I haven’t been taking advantage of free eBooks so far (other than from the library). It is something that I will look into. Slaughterhouse Five seems like an interesting book 🙂


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