Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Reading on a budget!

I wrote this post or at least the outline a long time ago and I didn't publish it, much like I haven't published 60 other posts. No, this is not exaggeration. So as I was randomly discussing being a student, being away and living on a budget a few things I did came to my mind. Now, some of these I wouldn't recommend to anyone, but I did a few of these and I survived two years of madness. 

Well, given that you live in a hostel as a student with no real income and a lot of pride to borrow extra money from your parents you just *have* to resort to certain things. One is to officially acknowledge that you are perennially broke and there is no shame to it. Seriously. 

You are broke, even if you aren't :Here's the deal, tell yourself you have much less cash than you actually do. Oh! It helps. I always withdrew less money than what I knew I needed, here's the thing that happened, the ATM was far away and I was too lazy. So I somehow managed in the cash I had. I never went hungry, never skipped a cup of coffee, never even passed up an opportunity to buy myself a slab of chocolate. Now, I was in this hell hole, so chocolate and coffee were why I survived without killing anyone. Living in abject poverty is what living on your own is all about. If you've lived in college on campus, you know. 

This post isn't about how to manage money, I know about managing money just as much as I know about that asteroid that is going to hit the earth. Nothing. The point of the article is to simply understand how to get around reading and book buying when you live on a budget.

  1. Get a flat or room near a bookstore. Damn! I have spent so many hours reading books at Landmark, expensive books that I wouldn't be able to afford or wouldn't read more than once have all been read at Landmark, I'm no fan of the place but they let people sit and read for hours together, I can't complain. I went to landmark almost everyday for 2 years. I read their comics, their science section, I read some religion and spirituality. The prices of  the books I read would come close to one week's lunch money!
  2.   Start saving :A great book needs to be bought and a good bookstore always has a sale. If the bookstore is like Blossoms, where they actually know shit about their books then great, these other places don't know, don't care. I have hidden so many copies of so many books discreetly in the back of bookshelves where I've gone and picked them up in the next few days, either to read and return or to buy them.  
  3. If a book stays on your mind long enough, then buy it :When you live on a tight budget, you can't afford to go crazy and buy books, so very simply read a book and let it stay in your mind. If it is on your mind for more than a few days, then buy it. This book called Hindu Samskaras by Rajbali Pandey was a book that haunted me for 3 months before I bought it.
  4. If you are looking to save money while looking for a good bargain, go buy books at second hand bookstores, I have friends who know me as "Beta". These two wonderful gentlemen who hold out copies for me of exclusive books. Make friends with bookstore guys, if these bookstore guys know half of what they stock, you have a treasure trove. You will find the best recommendations and perhaps save a great deal of time and effort finding good books. I found Schindler's List and The Analyst just like that. Both great buys. 
  5. Make friends :While borrowing books may not be something you are comfortable with, it's always recommended that you have friends who also read, that ways you can swap books and always buy the ones that you loved too much. (Look, you are going to make money someday, wait till then). Fair warning, this could be the reason you stop talking to friends who borrow your books and may forget to return them, but that's a risk you should be willing to take. I generally did the 'I hang on to one book of yours while you read one of my books' and it worked out quite okay for me. Although, I am not much of a borrower

However and I do wish to add, pirated books may serve your purpose of reading, but should never be resorted to. The author who has put in so much effort is the person the money should go to, rightfully. So if you've made the mistake of buying a pirated copy of a book, it's not too late to replace it with the original, even if it is second hand. That ways at least someone paid the author.

When you have an insatiable hunger for reading and you can't seem to have the money to satisfy it, try this. It helped me.


  1. there is something more easier and cheaper than all - join a book library! :D

    1. Don't remind me about libraries (Neo).I thought that was implied. :)


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