I have sort of a problem with money. Okay, I have several problems with money. One, I don’t have a ton of extra money. I make enough to pay my bills and buy the food I need and I usually have a small chunk left over at the end of the month. So that’s rough.
Two, I usually throw my small chunk of leftover money at purchases I should think about before I make them. In my introverted, self-centered world, this usually means I buy a new book or a new game to fill my lonesome nighttime hours. Sometimes, I’ll buy several new books or several new games at a time. As a man with a limited amount of free time, this tendency to buy new entertainments leads to an ever-growing backlog of games and books I intend to eventually wade through.
Three, um, lists usually look better when there are at least three items on them, so … I really just need to make more money? That statement leads me down a rabbit hole of self-doubt and confidence issues whereby I realize that I’m not being paid enough, rather, I’m not being paid what I’m worth, and I need to learn to ask for what I’m worth but damn it’s hard to ask for that because I convince myself that I’m lucky to have a job and wait a second isn’t this the mindset they (the ubiquitous authorities) have brainwashed me into adopting so I become complacent and neglect to push for the money I deserve? Shit, that’s how corporations pocket all the profits that individuals like myself have more than earned through our toils and troubles.
Anyway, this post is intended to address the first two money problems I have, so let’s get to it.
I’m going to stop extending my backlog. That’s all there is to it, but it may be easier for me to stick to my word(s) if I outline a plan, so here I go.
I will not buy any more video games or books until I finish all the ones I currently possess. Huh, that outline is a bit simpler than I thought it would be … maybe the solutions to all of our problems are as simple as this, and they only require decisive action with deliberate intent to succeed? I can dream, can’t I?
This plan sounds simple, of course, but there are factors which complicate matters. I’ve been trained, as many of us have, to enjoy coupons. I’ve also been trained to view memberships with particular companies as worth the money I spend to join said memberships, and in this case, my Barnes & Noble membership is the one giving me trouble.
I know, I should stop shopping at big stores and I should only shop local. Barnes & Noble holds some nostalgia for me, as it’s a place I went to with my mom a lot when I was a child and a teenager. Later, when I could drive myself around, I went there with at least one or two of my significant exes. Since I’ve been single, Barnes & Noble has transformed into a place I can go to by myself and enjoy on my own terms. It’s comforting whether I’m alone or with (an)other(s), and I like it.
I’m a card-carrying Barnes & Noble member. As such, I receive four coupons from them (the B&N authorities) every month. Usually, at least one of these coupons is worthless to me, as it covers items I don’t typically buy. Still, there are always two coupons that allow me to knock 20% off the price of one book. In my head, that translates to “You can probably buy two books a month and be happy.”
Well, yeah. That sounds like a great life. Ideally, I’d read even more than two books a month, but I’m also trying to divide my time among books, video games, board games, D&D, and so on. Two books a month should be plenty. And they are. Because, as I mentioned, I have a backlog of books.
My problem now is that there is one book I really want to purchase, and I don’t want to start my “No More Books or Video Games” pledge until I get that book in my hands. So that’s my caveat: I will use April’s 20% off coupon to purchase one last book before I swear off new purchases. I plan to do this tomorrow, after I get home from work. I’ll head to Barnes & Noble, use one of my coupons, buy the book I want, and then start from there.
After that, I’m not buying any new books until I’ve read all the books on my shelf. This includes books I’m borrowing, and the sizable collection of weird tales I started reading, oh, five or six years ago, and put down for far too long.
Games are a whole other monster entirely. I’ve downloaded more games than I care to remember, and this means my gaming backlog is huge. Some of those games, I’m halfway through. Some of them, I haven’t even begun. So this will be interesting.
I won’t buy new entertainment until I’ve finished the stuff I’ve accumulated up to now. I’m trying to get better control of myself, my free time, and my buying habits. There are only two ways to get around my new limits: one, someone buys a book or a game for me as a gift. I won’t look that gift horse in the mouth, I’ll just say “thank you” and add it to my collection. (A collection of horses? Who are you, a horse breeder?) Two, a big release that I simply can’t resist happens. This won’t be some piddly downloadable game that’s on sale for ten or fifteen bucks. This’ll be, like, a new Metroid or Zelda or Mario title … just kidding, I know that a new Animal Crossing game is supposed to release for the Switch sometime before the end of this year and I’m preparing for that. I don’t know if I’ll have my game backlog under control by then, so I’m allowing myself room to enjoy my happy life simulator. (Besides, one never completes an Animal Crossing game, it goes on as long as one wants it to.)
I guess I should also clarify that if I finish all my books before I finish all my games, well, books are back on the table. Er, the shelf. The checkout counter? I’ll be able to buy more books at that point. I get the feeling it’ll be way easier for me to finish reading books than it’ll be to finish playing games.
So, yep, that’s a whole lot of me rambling on about my entertainment addiction. I have other projects I’d like to work on, projects that require more active creativity than passive enjoyment, but today is all about my overzealous love of passive enjoyment.
I really love to read. I really love to play video games. I’m gonna keep doing these things, until I’ve exhausted my backlogs. I’ll keep you all posted, and when I finally get around to making something, I’ll let you all know.
Keep on learning and loving, everybody.