My wife and I went thrift-store shopping last weekend. She was looking for shoes. I was looking for personal finance books. I found several:

Because I received 15% off the entire order, these four books cost me just $11.87. I passed up several other good choices — $12 seemed like enough of an extravagance for one day.

In most cases, books are something you shouldn’t buy new. You can usually find what you want at the public library. Or, if you must own certain titles, you can find them cheap at garage sales, thrift shops, and used book stores. It may take a while to find what you want, but that’s part of the fun.

I’m gradually building an extensive personal finance library comprising only books that I’ve purchased at garage sales and thrift stores. I have a mental lists of books I’d like to acquire, and I keep an eye out so that I can get them cheap.

(I’m also building a cheap writer’s library, though I need to learn to exercise self-control on these books: I’ve picked up five cheap copies of the classic On Writing Well or a total of $4. Why do I need five copies of that book?)