52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Frequent the Library {Week 39}

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Every week in 2013, I’ll be sharing a different way you can save $100 this year. If you do all of these things, you’ll be able to save over $5,000 this year alone! Many of these things will likely be things you’re already doing, but hopefully all of you will pick up at least a few new ideas or some inspiration from this series.

When Jesse was in law school, there were a lot of really hard things about that season of life, but there was one huge bright spot about those law school years: the library. I’m not exaggerating.

You see, we lived in Topeka, KS, and it’s home to what I consider to this day to be one of the best libraries in the U.S. It was new, it was large, it was clean, and it was FREE.

We had almost no wiggle room in our budget, we were a few hours away from family, we lived in a town where we knew very few people, and we were newly married. Needless to say, that library was a sanctuary for us. We spent countless hours there. In fact, when we went back to Topeka for a visit not too long ago, we stopped by the library for old time’s sake.

When we moved to Kansas City, we were blessed to find a rental that was within walking distance of the library. Every Friday, I’d load the girls up in the stroller and we’d spend a few hours at the library — checking out books, playing with puzzles and games, and playing with the train set. We didn’t have a second vehicle, so the library became on oasis for us in Kansas City, too.

Yes, I’m a wee bit sentimental about libraries… but they’ve saved us so much money over the years and provided so many hours of inspiration and entertainment that I just can’t help myself. :)

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While the library is a great place to check out books, of course, most libraries also offer many other money-saving programs and resources. Here are a few more ways to save at the library:

1. DVDs & CD’s

Not all libraries offer free DVD rentals, but if your library does, take advantage of it! Our kids especially love checking out old TV series to watch during movie time each day. We also have enjoyed checking out music CD’s from the library, too.

I can’t even begin to fathom the money we’ve saved by checking out DVDs from the library over the years instead of renting or buying them!

2. Kid’s Toys

Many libraries have kid’s play areas — with puzzles or other toys that children can play with. It’s a great place to take your children on cold winter days that doesn’t cost any money (and mom can bring some books home, too!). All for free.

3. Audiobooks

Check your library to see what their audiobook collection is like. Many have a pretty extensive collection — and some even offer audiobooks you can download for a time period.

52 Ways to Save $100 Per Year

4. Ebooks

Have you checked to see if your library offers ebooks you can “check out”? Here’s a tip from Hannah:

Many people don’t realize that most public libraries have eBooks available for checkout through their websites. All you have to do is log into your local library’s site using your library card, then follow the links for eBooks (often, there are also digital audio books available).

In just a couple of minutes, you should be able to search through the available titles, download your selection, and begin reading on your device! No late fees for failing to “bring the book back,” because it will simply expire after 2-3 weeks. This is a great, free way to read some of the newest and most popular books without paying a cent — or leaving your home! -Hannah

5. Local Attraction Memberships

Some libraries offer memberships to local attractions (zoos, museums, etc.) that you can “check out”. If your library offers this, it’s a great way to visit local attractions and have some family fun — without spending a dime!

6. Online Foreign Language Programs

Want to learn a foreign language? Michele from Saving Money In Real Life emailed in this tip:

I recently learned that my public library has an online foreign language program that I can access for free. There are dozens of foreign languages available that I can learn!

Many public libraries across the country have the same free program. It’s called Mango Languages. If you check their website, you can find out if your local library participates. You can find out if your library participates here.

I thought your readers might enjoy this program especially those who homeschool. My son and I just discovered it last week, and we’ve been having a lot of fun with it! -Michele from Saving Money In Real Life

Libary Reading Program

7.  Summer Reading Programs

We started doing our library’s summer reading program in the past few years and we’ve been incredibly impressed with it. Not only does it provide huge motivation for our children to get in a lot of reading during the summer, but the rewards are amazing!

The above picture is what our kids earned from last year’s library reading program. Not only did each child get to choose a free book to take home, they also got a bag stuffed with great coupons and offers from local businesses — things like free Kid’s meals, free miniature golf, a free smoothie at McDonald’s, free baseball game tickets, free ice skating passes, and more.

Note: If you have a relatively small library that doesn’t have a great selection, check and see if they offer Inter-Library loan. Most libraries do, and this offers a much, much broader selection. You have to request the book and then wait for it to come in, but it’s free–which usually makes it worth a bit of a wait!

You can also suggest books for your library to purchase. They might not heed your suggestion, but it’s always worth a shot.

52 Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Use the Library

Rebekah from Simple Rebekah shared that her library also offers the following two resources:

Online Classes – My library offers free online classes through Universal Class.  There are hundreds of classes to choose from out of there 42 areas of study.  Some of those areas include: office skills, performing arts, parenting, homeschooling, do it yourself, gardening, cooking, computers, accounting and web development.

Kindles – I was shocked to find out that my library just started loaning out Kindles!  They come pre-loaded with 15-20 titles.  My library has 13 Kindles, each with a different theme.  The themes include New York Times Fiction & Non-Fiction Bestsellers, Romance, Mystery, Science Fiction, Classics, Popular Fiction, Biography and more!  This is a great way to test out a Kindle before you buy one.

How do you save money by using the library? What other ways do you use the library? I’d love to have you add to my list!

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Other posts in the 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year series

  1. 52 Different Ways to Save at Least $100 This Year: Bake Your Own Bread (Week #1)
  2. 52 Ways to Save at Least $100 This Year: Make Your Own Coffee at Home (Week #2)
  3. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 This Year: Ditch Your Cable Package {Week 3}
  4. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Order Prescription Glasses Online {Week 4}
  5. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Make Your Own Homemade Cleaners {Week 5}
  6. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Make Your Own Homemade Mixes {Week 6}
  7. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Become a One-Car Family {Week 7}
  8. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Surround Yourself With Frugal Friends {Week 8}
  9. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 a Year: Eliminate Disposable Products {Week 9}
  10. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 a Year: Cut Your Own Hair {Week 10}
  11. 52 Different Ways to Save at Least $100 Per Year: Use Cloth Diapers {Week 11}
  12. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Become Best Friends With Your Freezer {Week 12}
  13. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Rent Movies for FREE {Week 13}
  14. 52 Different Ways to Save at Least $100 Per Year: Ask for a Discount {Week 14}
  15. 52 Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Cancel Your Gym Membership {Week 15}
  16. 52 Ways to Save at Least $100 Per Year: Get the Best Bang for Your Buck at Yard Sales {Week 16}
  17. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Grow Some Of Your Food {Week 17}
  18. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Cut Back on the Soda Pop Habit {Week 18}
  19. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 This Year: Buy in Bulk {Week 19}
  20. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Price-Match at Walmart {Week 20}
  21. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 This Year: Ditch Your Landline {Week 21}
  22. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 This Year: Refinance Your Mortgage {Week 22}
  23. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Follow a Local Deal Blogger {Week 23}
  24. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Use a Coupon Database {Week 24}
  25. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Plan a Weekly Menu {Week 25}
  26. 52 Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Strategically Use Daily Deal Sites {Week 26}
  27. 52 Different Ways to Save At Least $100 Per Year: Shop at Aldi {Week 27}
  28. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Buy Used Books {Week 28)
  29. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Buy Used Clothing {Week 29}
  30. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Shop With Cash {Week 30}
  31. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Eat Less Meat {Week 31}
  32. 52 Different Ways to Save at Least $100 Per Year: Is this really a good deal? {Week 32}
  33. 52 Ways to Save $100 Per Year: 3 Ways to Save on Online Orders {Week 33}
  34. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Turn Your Clutter Into Cash {Week 34}
  35. 52 Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Get Organized {Week 35}
  36. 52 Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Have an All-Cash Christmas {Week 36}
  37. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Sign Up for Swagbucks {Week 37}
  38. 52 Different Ways to Save at Least $100 Per Year: Cut Your Fuel Costs {Week 38}
  39. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Frequent the Library {Week 39}
  40. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Simplify Birthday Parties {Week 40}
  41. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Brown Bag It {Week 41}
  42. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Make Your Own Snacks {Week 42}
  43. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Use a Programmable Thermostat {Week 43}
  44. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Limit Eating Out {Week 44}
  45. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Get a Bang for Your Buck on Travel Expenses {Week 45}
  46. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Don't Pay For Pre-Made Baby Food {Week 46}
  47. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Eat More Beans {Week 47}
  48. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Make Homemade Cards {Week 48}
  49. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Shop At More Than One Store {Week 49}
  50. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Eat From the Pantry {Week 50}
  51. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Stay Home More {Week 51}
  52. 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Develop Contentment {Week 52}

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Comments

  1. says

    I live in Topeka, KS! And I agree that our library is absolutely amazing. We do so much there. We visit at least once a week for storytime or my daughter’s book group (not organized by the library, but they meet there). My kids love the art gallery and the library just recently updated their kids area with some very cool art items. There are free computers in the kids area with learning games on them, in addition to the standard free public use computers. They have Freegal, Overdrive (for checking out ebooks), something or other for free audiobooks (which I recently gave a try and decided were not for me), I’ve recently accessed the free Muzzy for my daughter to learn Spanish, and they have laptops and iPads to check out by the hour. Not that long ago, I told my friend, who lives in Phoenix, to look at her library for something she needed. I don’t remember what it was, but I knew it was something I could do here. I was so surprised when she looked into it and the libraries there didn’t offer that service. It makes me appreciate our library so much more.

  2. Ashley P says

    Don’t forget to keep your eyes posted for library sales. Yes, you will be spending money, but you’ll hardly spend much.

    When I was 16 I popped into the library during a sale. I picked up a beat-up copy of The Count of Monte Cristo for a nickel. Best nickel I ever spent. That book entertained me for an entire summer. The only real damage to the book was a tear on the cover. I didn’t mind. If you have some loose change you can spare, you can usually pick up a handful of books for less than a dollar, and they’re yours to keep forever and ever! Just make sure it’s a book you really want.

    • Ashley P says

      And I’m a huge fan of the audiobook downloads! Since I work 8+ hours a day, I don’t nearly have as much time for reading as I used to. This allows me to listen to a book while I work. Re-listening to Chronicles of Narnia as I type this. :)

  3. Bailey says

    I’ve never been a big fan of the library – due to under-exposure growing up. It was really just used to researching term papers in school. However, being a new mom and needing things to take my toddler to that are fun and cheap, I’ve re-discovered the library this year. A friend of mine and I meet up weekly to attend the “Bouncing Babies” class where the library puts on a program of nursery rhymes, songs & movement activities. Baby LOVES it and it’s fun for mom to have an outlet to chat with other moms with same-age kids. Our library system has lots of programs like this from birth to adult so I’m looking forward to taking baby to many more in years to come.

    I was shocked to see my library loans out board books for babies. Of course I wiped every inch of it with a bleach wipe & let it dry before letting baby touch it (and watch him like a hawk so he won’t chew/ruin it) … but it’s a great way to start exposing him to more reading early on. Board books can be $6-$10 each and since there’s usually no real “plot” I know they’re short lived so we don’t have many in our home library … but he has loved the ones we’ve checked out (usually he sees them in bouncing baby class and then we check it out).

    Our library puts together an activity calendar every quarter … which is amazing.

    Free gifts to those who participate in programs … This year alone we’ve gotten a free height measuring wall chart (with recommended books by age next to different height milestones), a free fabric Taggies book (vendor donated a stash to the library & they gave away as Christmas gifts to all moms in the bouncing babies class) and an annual monthly calendar with daily activities to expand child’s learning – using stuff I have around the house – each month has a different theme like “numbers, letters, sounds, etc”.

    Falling in love with my local library … and recommend to new moms to research baby-programs at their local library. :)

  4. Casey says

    Our library recently started offering magazine checkout through an app. There is no restriction on how many people download an issue so no waiting. A bonus they have a subscription to all my magazines so I was able to let our subscriptions expire and we just get our magazines e-delivered now for free!