• Reading to Save


    This is a post from Make Love, Not Debt staff blogger, Abby.

    Civil War Encampment

    Civil War Encampment

    One of my projects this summer is to read through Shelby Foote’s three volume history of the Civil War. There are a few motivators behind this several-thousand-page journey through the mid-nineteenth century – self-betterment, a general interest, a long-held goal. But mostly, I want to get my husband, who is Southern born and bred, to stop making fun of me when we drive past various Civil War historical sites and I am unable to repeat from memory everything that happened there, the way states South of the Mason Dixon line apparently train their children to do from infancy. Our marriage will be much healthier when I no longer hear the phrase, “You don’t know the positioning of the battle lines during Manassas? Ugh, and you were a history major?”

    This is a fairly hefty reading undertaking. I’ve set myself loose page goals for days and weeks, because it would be easy to let this drag on for over a year. I’ll admit that it’s actually fairly easy going, as the book is very well-written and has a great narrative flow. But I’ve discovered an unintended consequence of spending most of my free time reading about Grant and Lee (although it’s currently more like McClellan and Beauregard) – I have much, much less time to think about how I could be spending my money on stupid, but fun, summer purchases.

    Take, for instance, my work day. Where I used to spend my lunch hour browsing the internet, foolishly clicking open the emails various retailers send me and thinking about how nice it would be to have a new dress for barbeques/beach trips/imagined sunny strolls through my university town, I now hunker down and continue reading through whatever volume I’m currently up to. After work I rarely turn on the TV or browse the blogs that would tell me what cute thing I should probably buy, and anyway it’s just an accessory and that’s a much more reasonable expense, right? Instead, it’s back to the book, with a break for dinner and much more planned TV time (because I have a page goal, and while the material is very interesting, I need to make sure I have time to watch “Community”).

    So while this project is great for my intellectual development and my wallet, it may end up being not so great for my marriage. I now spend my days casually remarking, “Hey, Brad, do you know the exact number of casualties at Shiloh? OH YOU DON’T? BECAUSE I DO,” which I’m sure my he loves.

    Have you ever found your spending curbed in unexpected ways?

    image: Brandi Jordan


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