Tag Archives: Frugal

Why I Prefer E-Books Over Physical Books

It’s been years since I bought a hardback or paperback novel. Almost one hundred percent of the books I read are in e-book form for the following reasons. I thought this topic would make for an interesting post and possible jumping off point for a group discussion.

Allergies

Book covered in cobwebs and dustIt’s pretty difficult to keep physical books in pristine condition.

Wet pages can easily provide a nice home for mould or mildew to grow. Even a mildly damp environment can give books a musty smell after a while if no one notices and dries them out in time.

Being stored in a dusty place affects books, too, even if they’re eventually brushed off.

It’s hard to completely prevent these things from happening, especially in humid climates or in houses that are difficult to keep dry and clean for other reasons.

Since I’ve been an avid patron of public libraries since childhood, this is something that has cropped up for me even more often than it might have if I bought everything I read.  The idea of many people using the same book instead of everyone buying their own copy and maybe only reading it once appeals to me from both an environmental and minimalist perspective.

But there were multiple times when I reach the top of a huge waitlist for a title only to realize that the book the library sent to me was dusty, musty, beginning to mould, or otherwise was going to be an allergy issue for me.

E-books never have this problem. That’s a big part of the reason why I switched to borrowing them instead of physical books from the library.

Portability

Person facing away from the camera. There's an e-reader in one of their back jean pockets and they're attempting to put a novel into the other I’m not the sort of person who enjoys carrying around a purse, backpack, or bag. Most of the time, I try to leave home with only the items I can fit into my pockets.

There are very few books out there that will fit into a standard-sized pocket…especially since I’m a woman and nearly always buy my clothes in the women’s section of the store where designers have yet to realize that pockets can be practical instead of merely decorative. (But that is a rant for another day).

While I could technically carry around a few physical books, it’s so much nicer to have free hands and not have to keep track of anything extra when I’m out and about. This isn’t even to mention the fact that my cellphone can hold countless e-books without weighing any more than it would if I only had one or two of them downloaded onto it.

Convenience

Man holding a smartphone and looking down at itI find it much easier to keep track of a quote I want to save from a specific page when I read that story in electronic form.

When I was in college, I had a professor who spent a big chunk of our first day in class that semester talking about the importance of looking up unfamiliar terms instead of guessing their meanings.

Some of my previous teachers had encouraged us to infer the meaning based on context clues, so I’d slid into the habit of guessing what a word meant instead of being certain.

That professor changed this habit of mine for good. Even though I haven’t been her student for years, I still insist on looking up any word whose meaning I’m not 100% certain of.

My e-reader can do all of these things with a swipe of a finger. There is no pen or piece of paper required to take note of something I’ll want to remember for the future or look up a word I need a definition for.

When you add in the portability and lack of allergens factors, I can’t imagine reading books in any other way.

What format for books do you prefer? Why?

Health and Fitness at the Dollar Store

One of the biggest misconceptions some people have about getting fit is that it requires a significant investment of money in the beginning if you’re starting out with little to no equipment.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

A few nights ago, I took a stroll around a dollar store to see what kinds of health and fitness items they had for sale there. I jotted down everything I could find that could somehow be connected to this topic, and the list was much longer than I ever would have imagined it would be.

Seriously. I was expecting to find maybe ten things there, but I ended up finding closer to a hundred of them if every category is fully expanded to include every example in them.

This is what they had for sale there:

  • T-shirts
  • Hats
  • Sandals
  • Hair ties
  • Socks
  • Sports bras
  • Ponchos
  • Support insoles for shoes
  • Sunglasses
  • Beach towels
  • Goggles
  • Bug Repellant
  • Sunscreen
  • First Aid supplies (bandaids, disinfectant, etc).
  • Plastic and metal buckets of various sizes (for transporting dirty or wet items back home)
  • Reusable plastic water bottles
  • Fishing poles
  • Headlamps
  • Small lanterns (if hiking or camping are on your to-do list)
  • Pet toys (for playing tug-of-war or fetch)
  • Pool toys
  • Toys and games for all ages/abilities (dart guns, dart boards, balls, chalk, jump ropes, etc)
  • Young children’s toys (plastic baseball bats, miniature golf clubs, etc)
  • Balloons (for water balloon fights or other similar games)
  • Beach toys (small shovels, plastic molds for making sandcastles, etc).
  • Frisbees
  • Rainbow flyers
  • Gardening tools (hand rakes, small shovels, etc).
  • Badminton rackets and balls
  • Plastic/rubber balls for other sports
  • Hula hoops
  • Sports equipment (rackets, balls, etc).
  • Yoga mats
  • Kettleballs
  • Resistance bands
  • Exercise wheels
  • Push up stands
  • Stretch bands
  • Roll out exercise wheels
  • Yoga mats
  • Yoga towels
  • Nonperishable, fairly healthy snacks (nuts, beef jerky, bottled water, canned fruit, applesauce.)
  • Many types of large reusable bags (for toting around everything on this list!)

Some of the items on this list did cost more than a dollar, but all of them were very inexpensive in general.

Whether I was planning to hike, swim, build sandcastles play any number of sports, jog, lift weights, stretch, do yoga, garden, go camping, or participate in any number of other activities, there were products for almost every type of exercise one could possibly imagine. I was seriously impressed by their selection.

Why am I recommending checking out your local dollar store if I believe in minimalism and buying quality over quantity?

There are a few reasons why this could be a smart idea under certain circumstances:

Not Everything Needs to be Well-Made in Order to be Useful

Several years ago, I bought a sun hat from the dollar store that suits my purposes perfectly when I want to exercise outdoors on a sunny day. Was it fashionable? Well, only if you’re a time traveller from 1995, but I’m not the kind of person who worries about how trendy I look when I’m working out.

Why spend $60 on something like that if you can spend $2 or $3 instead for the exact same outcome? For the kinds of activities I do, the type of hat doesn’t matter in the least. Anything that shades my face and neck from the sun will be more than adequate for my purposes.

It’s a Low-Cost Way to Try New Activities

For example, I like the idea of playing badminton. Every so often, I toy around with the thought of playing that sport as part of my fitness routine.

As mentioned above, the dollar store carries badminton equipment. While it isn’t made from high quality materials, it would be the perfect thing for me to play around with if I ever decide to finally add this sport to my list of preferred activities.

Spending a few dollars wouldn’t break the bank, and I could  go to a secondhand store or a regular store to find much sturdier equipment if I decided that this was something I wanted to play more than occasionally and my original racket broke.

Speaking of broken items….

Losing or Breaking A New Item Won’t Be So Disappointing

I’m very protective of the few possessions I have that are top-notch. Anyone who wants to borrow them has to earn my trust first, and I’d be horribly disappointed if they were damaged, lost, or destroyed in an accident or through someone else’s carelessness. There are certain places that I really wouldn’t want to take those items to due to the risks of them being exposed to the water, dirt, or sand that could ruin them.

The nice thing about dollar store purchases is that you don’t stand to lose hundreds or thousands of dollars if they’re accidentally broken or lost. I wouldn’t hesitate to lend out something like a hula hoop or a pool toy I bought from the dollar store to a friend or relative.

If that item was later returned to me in pristine condition, great! If not, I’ve only lost a few dollars at most. Replacing it won’t hurt my bottom line at all, so I don’t have a problem lending it out or taking it places where the risks of something happening are higher than usual.

What’s At Your Local Dollar Store?

Assuming you live in a part of the world that has dollar stores (or pound shops/variety stores, as they’re sometimes called), what kinds of health and fitness items have you spotted there?

I’d love to compare my list with yours!