I try to read what I consider REAL books most of the time. Good, solid books by notable or admired authors. But once in a great while, I just have to have some bubble gum for my mind.

And so I found myself with one of the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris. Which got me totally sucked into the series. Hmmm, “suck” isn’t a good verb here, but you know what I mean.

It’s not that the books are badly written. They’re interesting and funny. But I can read one in the space of a few hours, and I don’t really come away with any deep thoughts. Other than maybe what Eric the vampire looks like naked. But that’s a subject for another day. (And soooo not my fault, which anyone who’s read the books will know.)

So, in the space of about two weeks, I devoured (hmm, again, not a great verb) the entire 11 novels. And it only took two weeks because I actually waited for some of the books to show up at the library.

The rest, though, I bought as e-books. Because Amazon had them with the terrifying “1-Click” buying process. (Should buying actually BE that easy? I think not.) And since we had GCs — thank you Swagbucks — I ended up buying five of the 11. At $8.68 (including tax) each.

All because I was annoyed at the prospect of waiting 2-4 days for each one to come in when I could read each one so quickly. Apparently, I’m a lot more impatient than usual when it comes to vampires. Or sex-filled chick lit. Or something.

Probably, it’s just my coming down off the stress of the mortgage. (Now comes the stress of the contractors.) And it was a good way to relax and not overly tax my mind. So I’m not castigating myself.

Still, I was somewhat freaked out by how easy it is to buy these virtual things. With a real book, you have a bare minimum of four steps: After you find it, you put it in the cart, click checkout, enter your payment info and confirm.  You might even have to (gasp) leave the house, go to a bookstore, pick up the book, take it to the counter and check out.

Either way, you have some time to really think things through.

But with Amazon’s trusty 1-Click, you locate the book and click. And it’s bought. You can’t return it if you change your mind (“Hi, Amazon? Can you come wipe this off my computer and give me my money back?”) or regift it to someone you think would enjoy it. Nope. It’s just you, your wireless device and words on a virtual page. Caveat emptor, baby.

I did find a way to bring in a few extra Amazon GCs to help cover the ones I used. But it’s still a good lesson in the vagaries of instant gratification.

I could have waited a few days for each novel. Surely something would have cropped up to distract me while I waited for each new book to arrive. But I wanted it right then. And each time I bought a novel, it made buying the next one seem a little more natural.

To my credit, I went back and forth over whether or not to buy each new e-book. I just kept coming down on, arguably, the wrong side of that discussion.

I find it funny that most of us can say no to the big stuff, but the little things can be our undoing. “Penny wise, pound foolish” comes to mind. When you add up all the little things, the total can be surprising. In my case, it was $43.40, which sounds a lot more substantial than a few $7.99 (plus tax) charges.

Splurging every so often isn’t a terrible thing — especially if you can get it for free. Still, when I think of all the work that went into getting those damned gift cards, I kind of wish I had just waited for the library.

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Holiday fund update | I Pick Up Pennies
October 27, 2013 at 11:22 am

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