In recent discussions, especially in the comments for some of the Books on Sale posts, a few of you have mentioned your book budgets. Sometimes it's howls of agony that the monthly budget has been exceeded by yet another tempting $1.99 deal – I feel your pain, as I'm equally susceptible.
I try and budget (note the use of the word try), by using gift cards. I send them to myself each month as my book budget spending. It mostly works.
I've seen other readers mention this strategy in passing, too – especially when the gift card can often be purchased at a grocery store checkout along with all the other necessities (of course books are a necessity, right?).
I limit my book purchases by attempting to budget my time – or by forcing myself to recognize that my reading time, alas, is not infinite. I started listing what I've bought and when its “read by” date is on an evolving spreadsheet. (I know you can use a “to-read” shelf on Goodreads, but I prefer to use the spreadsheet.) That way I can track what book, what genre, when it releases (if it's not out yet), where I heard about it (blog? Twitter? eavesdropping on the train?), and whether I've read, DNFd, or written a review. Often looking at what I have on the list for April, May, June, etc. stops me from buying one more, because if I know I'm not going to get to it soon, I'm better off skipping that one.
But I'm just as susceptible to the .99 and $1.99 temptations, so I repeatedly try to stop myself from buying more books without first looking at my Reality Check Spreadsheet. For example, the Linda Lael Miller sale this week was hugely tempting, so I bought one and started it – and as I mentioned yesterday, I want to slack off and keep reading instead of getting things done.
So I budget my time, while some readers use a financial limit to curb book buying. What about you? How do you budget your book purchases? Any strategies that work really well?