If you asked me to name the one resource available to everyone that can save you the most money, I would say the public library.
Public libraries offer a wealth of savings. With your free library card, you can check out books, audiobooks, music and movies. You can access the internet. You can use their spaces to work, study, or meet up. Some libraries check out unique items like puzzles, board games, fishing poles, cake pans, and tools. Other libraries offer free museum passes. Nearly every library offers quality, free programming for people of all ages. You have access to all kinds of materials that can help you save money on cooking, cleaning, crafts, and DIY projects. You can use your public library to learn about budgeting, saving and investing.
There are folks out there who don’t bother with the library because they say they always end up getting fined for overdue materials. For those folks, I highly recommend these simple tips to avoid library fines. Because unless you check out an insane amount of materials without returning them, there is just no way that those fines cost more than heading to the mall or shopping on Amazon for all your entertainment needs.
Don’t believe me? Let’s look at some numbers.
How much money do you save at the library?
Ilovelibraries.org has a library savings calculator based on one the Massachusetts Library Association developed to demonstrate the value of public libraries.
To use the library savings calculator, you simply enter in the amount of each kind of item you check out from the library each month (or year, if you want to go big!). Or if you’re not checking items out from the library, you can enter in the items you purchase each month. The calculator then estimates how much money you save using the library rather than purchasing those items for use.
We’re moderately heavy users of our local library. The kids check out piles of books and movies each time we go. I love to read the magazines and pick up a new book or two. We also love having access to digital magazines and ebooks from the library at home. My husband and I often do our work at the library while we’re waiting for the kids to get done with their activities.
Our estimated monthly savings for our family of 5: A whopping $783.90!
Not only are we saving an incredible amount of money by using the library, we are keeping clutter out of our home. We are living greener by sharing community resources instead of buying items we may only consume once.
When budgets are tight, it’s easy to feel deprived. But at your public library, you don’t have to feel that way.
We may not be rich, but our lives are much richer for all that we have access to at our public library.