New Books!

I excited today – I received two new books in the mail!

One is Living More With Less by Doris Janzen Longacre.  One of my desires is to figure out how to live simply.  I’m simply amazed at how much stuff we amass in our house, even when we are trying not to bring new things in the house.  Hopefully this book will contain some good, practical information that will help me streamline our possessions and let someone else have the things we won’t use or don’t like.

The other one is called The Prosperous Peasant by Tim Clark and Mark Cunningham.  I actually won this one over at the Get Rich Slowly blog.  If you haven’t read what J.D. has to say, you ought to take a look.  He gets into many more technical financial issues than I tend to – things like investing and retirement.  Almost always a very interesting read!

I did want to mention that if you like to read, PaperbackSwap is an excellent resource. That is where I got the first book I mentioned today.  It’s really simple, and it’s basically free!

The basics:

1. You register on the site with a valid mailing address and valid email address.

2. When you post 10 books you would be willing to give to someone else, you will get two free credits.  The books must meet certain requirements – they can’t be written in or missing a front cover, they can’t be in poor condition, but “well-read” is okay.  Individual members may require more – for instance, I have a requirement that there not be an obvious cigarette smell on the book since I have asthma and the smell may exacerbate it.

3. When someone else requests one of the books you’ve listed, you package it and ship it to them.  When you ship it, it takes one of the recipient’s credits away and holds it in “stasis” until the recipient gets the book.  When the book arrives, the recipient marks it as received and you get their credit.

4.  If you find a book you want (and it’s pretty easy to find one!) you request it.  One of your credits is taken and held until you get the book, and you then mark it “received” and the sender gets the credit.

5.  Books are always worth one credit.  Audiobooks are worth 2 credits.

6. The book you want isn’t available?  You can “wish list” it.  The site works on a “first-in, first-out” basis – if you are the 27th person in line, then you will wait until the 27th copy is posted to get the book.  It’s really not too long before you get the book, since there are usually multiple copies floating around!

There are a lot of other features on PaperbackSwap, but I don’t want to mention everything here.  I’ve been on PaperbackSwap for 2 years now, and I’ve saved so much money on books I wanted to buy – and because it’s so cheap (the cost of shipping a book out is usually $2.13) I’ve been able to read books I wouldn’t have bought, but may have gotten from the library.

Speaking of the library, it’s also a great resource, obviously!  My previous library was very small, and the other branches were also small.  They didn’t carry many books in the genres I was interested in.  My local library here in Ohio is actually connected to the Cleveland branches.  Not only do they carry many books that pique my interest, but they can order pretty much any books since they are part of a large city system!

Of course, used books and library books save money, but they also save our houses!  Fewer books reside on my shelves now, and more valuable credits exist in my PaperbackSwap account.  Less clutter, more organization!  And though I’m the type that gasps at the thought of throwing away a book, I know there are people that do it.  Perhaps reusing will keep some books from ending up in the landfills!

It’s going to be -2 degrees tomorrow, and I know our temperatures aren’t unique.  This week will be a great week to snuggle up under a blanket and dive into a great book!

Is Wealth Hereditary?

I’m currently reading a book that talks extensively about how our attitudes affect the way we spend our money. The book reads like a “get-rich-quick” manual, but so far has some good points. I plan on reviewing it here when I finish, so you can decide for yourself.

According to the author, the way our parents handled money has a lot to do with how we handle money. Obvious, yes. But what I thought was interesting is that the author took it a step further and mentioned examples of people he met that mentally handled their money completely differently than their parents – but had the same end results.

For instance, the author himself talks about how his father’s wealth came in cycles – he invested in a venture, and for that time, the family was dirt poor. They would stay poor for a year or two as the venture developed. After some time, the father would sell the venture for quite a bit and the family would have more discretionary money than they needed. Eventually the money would run low and the father would mortgage the house once again to invest in another venture. And the cycle would repeat.

What did the son (our author) learn from that? Not simply to invest in ventures, and to mortgage the house to do it. He learned that wealth came in cycles. Money could not be permanent.

The author infers that a lot of the erronous ideas our parents “taught” us are based on the limited understanding we have as children about the motivation behind adult situations such as finances . The author misunderstood a complicated situation with a simple interpretation of the events, and it permeated his beliefs about how money works.

So, with the author’s premise, a child who grows up watching his parents refuse to give to charity because they simply have nothing to give might grow up to be scrooge-like – even if he or she has millions of dollars. The child didn’t understand the motivation behind his parents’ actions – just the behavior.

According to the author, the reasons why some people never make it rich is simply because they have the wrong idea about money – and even that some people subconsciously sabotage themselves. I’m trying to decide whether or not I believe these premises. I’ve been thinking about my own childhood experiences with money and trying to decide if I might have gotten the wrong idea as a child, since obviously I’ve had issues with using money (and credit) irresponsibly.

I don’t think that my parents were a bad example when it came to money. I know they were frugal because they had to be, and that they worked their way up through the ladders of societal wealth to where they are today. I now know – after talking to them about this blog – that they were in a similar situation when they were younger, but I didn’t know it at the time.

But is that why I spend money like I have done and do now? Even if my behavior is very different from my parents? I don’t know. I’ll have to think about it some more and come up with an answer for later.