Frugal tip for couples
Most frugalites have long known the value of reading -- especially with books borrowed from libraries rather than purchased at stores.
But one practice they may not have tried: Reading to each other.
I found the value in this back when Tim's eczema was flaring up regularly, requiring oatmeal baths. Problem was, Tim's ADD makes him restless and thus bath-averse. To keep him in and soaking as long as possible, I started reading out loud.
Eventually, this turned into a great way to get him to enjoy books he might otherwise not read. I'm a big fan of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. The books make me laugh, but also provide an interesting, almost third-party look at modern society. I knew Tim would enjoy them, if only I could get him to actually open one up. In the end, I just made him a captive audience. Sure enough, he was laughing out loud within the first few pages.
Nowadays, I try to save up the energy to read at least a few pages each night before falling asleep. It's a great way of both winding down from a stressful day and spending some quality time together. It's also helped our schedules, as it gets us in bed at a reasonable hour.
Oviously, depending on your partner's tastes, you may choose books that are more light-hearted. But if you both appreciate great literature and want to go for Moby Dick -- well, then, more power to ya.
Whatever you end up reading, it's a great way to get someone outside of his or her literary comfort zone. It's a wondeful shared experience, to boot, and an excellent way to end the day.
Of course, plenty of people have trouble going to bed at exactly the same time their spouses do. They might decide this tip isn't for them, because they'd never get through a book by the library due date. But remember: Some libraries will let you renew your books, so long as no one is waiting. Or you can try programsl ike Freecycle or Paperback Swap. There are even programs like BooksFree.com that act like a Netflix for books.
Even more importantly, it is so soothing to be read to, or fun to be the reader and share your books with your partner, that you will probably find yourself making time in your day. You'll be looking forward to the time spent together, as well as finding out the next plot development.
It's a bedtime ritual you can look forward to -- one that cost you absolutely nothing but be completely priceless.
To get you started, I'm doing a giveaway for a $25 Amazon gift card. Most of you should know the drill by now. You can receive an entry:
- If you are a subscriber. (Anyone who's let me know they subscribed in the last is already entered.)
- If you mention this on your blog.
- If you refer anyone to this blog. (They need to let me know in a message.)
- If you post this on any social bookmarking site.
- Leave a comment on any post -- but please something more than "Great post" or "I agree."
- And, now, if you tweet it. (Let me know if you do.)
Contest ends 1/17 at 11:59 p.m. PST. I will draw a winner using Random.org.