When Mike and I were trying to save money when our house was being built, we started referring to it as OFS. OFS stands for “Official Financial Shutdown”. OFS meant that there’s no frivolous spending–no take out food, less nights out with friends for drinks and/or dinner, no unnecessary expenditures.
Over the past few years, OFS has been kind of a running joke with some of our friends. If we’re not going out with them, they’ll ask if we’re on OFS.
Since we just took a somewhat-unplanned, somewhat-spontaneous jaunt across the country, I said to Mike that we need some OFS time to recoup. We need to cool it for a little while and let the balance on our savings account get back to where it was, and sock some more cash away for emergencies (although I counsider a trip to Vegas to be an emergency!).
The thing that’s hardest for me to not spend money on while we’re on OFS is shoes is books. I love books. I love to read. I somehow accumulate books. I walk into a bookstore and walk out with a big bag. I open the newspaper and my eye is drawn to an announcement for a used book sale. I walk into Target and walk out with 2 books, but not the toilet paper I went there to get. It’s like I go into a trance or something. Maybe I can blame it on alien abduction?
Mike was going to the Pirate game tonight with a friend that’s in from out of town (Pirate games and other sporting events are exempt from OFS, by the way. They are NECESSARY). I offered to drive him to the game and then pick him up because I knew that there was going to be an excessive amount of hops and barley consumed. The stadium is about 45 minutes from our house in stop-and-go traffic. That would mean 45 minutes there, 45 minutes back, and then repeat a few hours later. A big waste of gas and time. So my thinking was that since Mike wass having some “guy time”, I would have some “me time” and do something by myself close to the stadium instead of driving back and forth. Healthier for the environment, healthier on my bank account at the gas pump, and healthy for me mentally. So what did I choose to do?
Why, I went to a shoe store bookstore of course! I actually thought about it earlier today, when I agreed to the drop-off/pick-up arrangement. I scoped out two potential bookstores (both with adequate reading areas and comfortable chairs), looked them up online to see how late each was open, estimated the drive time and ease of access between each one and the stadium, and made my choice. I grabbed the laptop, thinking it would be a prime opportunity for me to catch up on all of the online stuff I fell behind on in the past week. I even brought MY OWN BOOK with me to read. How wrong is that, to take your own book to the bookstore to read!?! I wasn’t going to the bookstore to BUY, I was going there just to vegetate and hang out and at the same time be in an atmosphere that I love. I’m sure the bookstore would love to know that there are non-revenue generating patrons just milling about.
So now I’m here. Surrounded by books, all of which look more appealing to me than the one I’m reading or the 258 that I own and haven’t read. Oh wait, two more came in the mail today thanks to bookmooch. 260 books? Yup, I counted. I counted because I wanted some justification other than OFS for not buying any new books. And isn’t it enough that I have hundreds of books at home to read? Isn’t that enough to keep me in my comfy chair in this bookstore, reading my own book, or stalking people catching up on my blog-reading?
I want to check out the sale books, the newly-released books, the “look what’s hot now” section. I want to get up out of my chair, and browse. And browsing leads to buying. And buying leads to me walking to the car with a bag of books. Or two.
So instead, I’m typing this long rambling post about my bank account and my book addiction. It’s keeping me in my seat. Away from all of the books that I want to explore. I feel like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Maybe just one bite book won’t hurt . . . .