Mae asks:  How do I resist impulse buys on my Kindle? I need to be able to pay my bills, but also … books?

Brea: I like any question that ends with “… books?” As an e-reader, this is a huge problem for me, as well, but I think impulse buying on the Internet is something we can all relate to. I mean, why did I ever give Amazon my credit card number for buying things like makeup I don’t need, bralettes, and weird household items? That One Click is so easy for my hands, but so hard on my bank account! Like any impulse buy, my suggestion is to wait a day when temptation rears its ugly head. Just one day. If you still want it as badly the next day, then go ahead and buy it. But if by then, you’ve already opened up a new book that you don’t want to put down, then you know you can hold off on that impulse buy.

Mallory: Even though I’m a physical-book buyer, I am also at risk for becoming a slave to impulse. To prevent myself from becoming broke and homeless and holding a WILL WORK FOR BOOKS sign on the side of the road, I have a system of book buying rules. I can’t buy any books in a genre that I already own a lot of unread books in. I can’t buy any books by authors I have unread books by. This sounds like it wouldn’t be a big restriction, but it’s surprisingly effective. It feels like I have freedom because I’m allowed to buy any books that pass those two rules, but most of the time, the book I want doesn’t!

Brea: I agree with Mallory. Book rules can really save you. And, Mae, you have a Kindle, which means you can get books from the library sooooooo easily. A book rule I have is to always check the library first. Sure, there are wait times for popular books. But you may just want to jump on that waiting list instead of buying. Getting a library card is perhaps the most difficult part and it’s really not that difficult. Then you can connect your library account with your Amazon account (yes, that means Amazon now knows EVERYTHING about you) and books will be delivered from your library to your Kindle for FREE! Take advantage of this public service. It’s going to help you not overbuy books. Even with the library limits, you can still book hoard quite a bit—if that’s your thing.

Mallory: The difficult thing about impulse buys is that you get so excited about this new book that you forget about all the other books you have to read. Before I’m allowed to go to the bookstore, I have to take a walk through my library to remind myself what books I have that I want to read. It’s always more than I think it is. This also helps with my second book buying rule. Enact a decree—before you press that Buy Now button, you need to scroll through your entire Kindle book library and see what you’ve got on the book docket. It’ll show you all of those unread books and maybe remind you about a book you were excited about and forgot. Maybe you’ll be so excited to read that forgotten book that you’ll read it instead of buying the one that got you looking through your library in the first place!