It seems that many of today’s lifestyle tips concern a newly rediscovered thrift; a quick glance at the newsstand confirms this. 10 Ways to Save on Household Products bleats one magazine’s subhead. Five Local Vacation Hotspots! blasts the travel section. (Or my favourite from a few months ago: an article quoted Bill Clinton that he now helps the environment by turning off the tap while brushing his teeth. Thanks, Mr. President.)
I gloat that when it comes to leisure pastimes since I’ve always been a pennysaver – or as my friends say, a damn cheapskate. When I read a newly published novel, 99.9% of the time I’ve borrowed it from the library and I can count on one hand the number of times I shelled out money instead of borrowing for free. My rule – no, law – was never to pay full price for a new book unless it was a gift and, since I shopped at used bookstores anyway, I never spent more than $10 a book. Mass market paperbacks? Not a penny above five bucks. Ever.