Shoestring Reading

Last year I was ambling around a charity shop on my lunch break, looking for a bargain read, when I came across Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping by Judith Levine.


Triggered partly by the excesses of Christmas, the author decided to cut out all non-essential spending for a whole year, from clothes to going out, and this book is a record of her trials and tribulations. There are rather a lot of stats about private and public spending etc in the US which I confess I skipped but the rest makes an interesting read.

Levine’s approach is far more extreme than anything I would ever consider (unless I was really in a financial corner) but it certainly got me thinking about what I spent my money on. It is all too easy to get sucked into the trap of thinking we need this and we need that – to be convinced that our clothes are the wrong cut or the wrong colour depending upon the latest whim of the fashion industry which makes a fortune out of continually shifting the goal posts. 

In mid-January I decided to stop buying magazines and get a weekend newspaper instead. They offer plenty of supplements and, at around £1.50 depending on which you buy, you get a LOT of reading material. In the newspapers and online many people seem to be talking about a shift towards buying classic/good quality clothing  instead of cheap knock-offs as they last longer and don’t date as quickly. It is something I’ll be thinking about next time I go shopping. I wouldn’t say I’ll never pick up something fun and cheap again but I doubt I’ll ever do it as often as I used to.

Speaking of magazines, I worked out that I used to spend £20 a month on them. I had two favourite monthly glossies and one favourite weekly, which I often used to supplement with a couple of others just to pass the time. I like magazines. BUT. I don’t want to spend £20 a month to feel like I ought to be on a diet/need a miracle in a jar/should buy new clothes/care about what Jen and Ange really think about each other. Don’t get me wrong. When my savings are well underway I’ll buy the odd magazine – they can be good fun and offer a bit of light relief. Its just that buying 10 a month puts a whole lot of ideas in your head about buying stuff that will be useless or out of date in a nano-second!

Categories: Book love, Frugal ideas | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “Shoestring Reading

  1. Treat yourself to 2 jars of Horlicks and get a free 3 month subscription to either in-style, marie claire or woman and home

    • shoestringalley

      Hmmm…I might just do that Recessionista. InStyle is a bit of a weakness of mine, I have to say. I am so loving the word free these days!

  2. Thanks for the comment! I like your blog too. As for the magazines, I feel you! It’s really not the same, but until I can justify getting magazines delivered I always check them online. is my go-to for celeb gossip. Anyway good luck with your goals and I will definitely check your blog regularly!

  3. shoestringalley

    Yes, I’ve been having a look online too but I haven’t ever looked at so I’ll definitely check it out.

  4. I’ve saved so much money since I stopped buying magazines. I get one a month (on a great subscription deal – 12 issues for £12) and I have so much extra free time too.

    I also find that whenever I do browse a magazine I instantly want the things in it so avoiding them saves me lots of extra spending too!

  5. shoestringalley

    I think subscriptions will probably be the way forward for me, when I do venture in to the magazine shopping arena again. Like you say, you tend to get a much better deal and there often seem to be good free gifts to entice you. I’m thinking this might be a good Christmas present…

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