Why I Love to (and Will Always) Buy Books

Earlier this week, Melissa wrote a great post about defining the grey area between needs and wants. As soon as I read it, I knew I wanted to write something similar. I think the fact that my first reaction to her post was wanting to write a post of my own is proof that this is where personal finance gets really personal.

My passion for reading goes way, way back.  Thanks to Mom for reading to Baby Cait, I was reading on my own at the age of 3. At age 5, I catalogued all of my books and loaned them out to the kids in my cul-de-sac. (Seriously. I still have some of the books. I wrote “Cait – Book #” on the inside cover, so I could keep track of who borrowed what.) Since then, my passion for buying, reading and giving books has grown to become one of my favourite hobbies.

When other kids were going to dance classes or playing on sports teams, I was reading. And I couldn’t be more thankful that my family was willing to support this hobby. I have vivid memories of my aunt taking me to bookstores and libraries on the weekends, and me coming home with stacks of new stories. Sweet Valley Twin books almost weren’t worth purchasing, because I would finish them in just a few hours. Nancy Drew and I were inseparable. R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series was another favourite of mine. And don’t even get me started on how much I loved The Babysitter’s Club. I enjoyed classic children’s novels, as well, and one of my favourite books to this day is The Giver. (I just gave a new copy of it to Baby Bro for Christmas, because I want someone else to enjoy it as much as I did.)

While I can’t say that I am a collector of good books, I love the feeling I get when I stand in front of my bookshelf. Like I’m just a short reach away from diving deep into a new world. And it’s up to me if I want that new world to be happy, sad or dramatic, or if I want to read classic words written by authors so brilliant you cannot help but fantasize where they were sitting when they were writing them.

Building a library has always come easy for me. I remember constantly re-organizing my books as a child, switching between putting them in order of the colours of a rainbow to, finally the more grownup version, the author’s last names. Today, I have books I’ve read only once, more that I’ve read a few times, and a stack I haven’t had the chance to turn a single page of. And, believe it or not, I still have my entire collection of Sweet Valley books!

Now that I’ve romanticized my love of books for you, it’s time to move onto what this post is really about. Is my book buying habit a need or a want? Welcome to my grey area. I know that reading is a hobby and, therefore, buying books is a want. But when a hobby brings you joy, I think it’s worth every penny.

One of my best friends always says, “you only live once, and the money’s not going with you.” While I wouldn’t take that as advice to go out and blow your budget, it’s true that you will only get a certain number of years to enjoy the money you make. Building my library makes me happy. Sharing my books with friends makes me happy. And you’d better believe I’ll be sharing this hobby with my future children.

Do you have a want that you consider a need?

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