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Frugal Living Tip – Checking Out the Library

How often have you bought a book, started reading, realized it isn’t that good, but stuck with it doggedly anyhow just to ‘get your money’s worth’?

And even if you end up liking a book you buy, how many times do you pull the book down to reread once it’s found a place in your bookshelf?

It may seem like an old-fashioned suggestion, but you could save a good deal of time and money just by checking out the selection at your library.

Since you don’t pay a nickel to borrow a bike from the library, there’s no cost to stopping after 50 pages if you’re just not engaged.

And if you’re the type of person who likes to be surrounded by books at home, well the library could still prove to be a gold mine. Libraries frequently hold used book sales to clear out space for new arrivals. Show up early and you might find a good selection for a small fraction of the cost you’d pay to buy the book online or in a store.

These days, libraries have jumped wholeheartedly into the 21st Century. Many libraries have sophisticated websites that let you browse for books, audiobooks, CDs and movies online, then have your selections delivered to your closest library branch.

Some libraries, like the New York Public Library, are even experimenting with downloadable media – meaning you don’t even have to take a trip to the physical library branch to pick an audiobook or some music. The concept of libraries providing downloadable media may only gain force as e-book readers like the Kindle become more widely available.

Of course, the question of whether or not to use the library will come down to convenience for some people. It’s certainly easier to click a mouse on Amazon or Netflix and have a book or DVD arrive in the mail, but going to the library can be a pleasant experience in itself. While browsing the shelves, you might come across a book or movie you would never have considered. You might run into friends from the community or find out about a lecture or other event that the library is hosting.

If you haven’t been to your local library in a while, stop by or just visit the website to see what’s going on. You might just find the library can fill most of your reading, viewing and listening needs – saving you some substantial cash in the process.

How often do you use your library? Have you borrowed videos, CDs or audiobooks? Have you tried downloading anything online from your library? Has it helped you save money? Share your experiences, rants or raves in the Comments section below!


1 JohnNo Gravatar { 01.07.10 at 12:36 pm }

So true–excellent advice. I’ve been starting to amass a collection of hardbacks, many of them leather bound copies from Easton Press that I purchased second-hand on ebay, and I recently asked myself, “How many times am I going to reread these books?” Sure, they look great on the bookshelf, but we’re on a budget. I also bought a beautiful copy of one book and didn’t even like it. I’m taking some new hardbacks I just bought back to the store today because of buyer’s remorse. They have the same books at the library, which is two minutes away!

2 TomNo Gravatar { 01.15.10 at 3:03 pm }

Good thoughts. If you think about it, filling shelves with books you’ll probably never read again . . . isn’t that just using bookshelves as a garbage bin, basically? I’ve gotten very choosy about which books I buy. In fact, I view the library as a chance to preview books I’m considerinb buying and I think long and hard about whether or not the book will be worth keeping around.

And what if you move? Books are freaking heavy! Do you really love them enough to go to the trouble of lugging them around?

Salt Lake County Library has an amazing system. I live in Seattle now and I miss it. There was virtually no music, no dvd, no book my heart might desire that they didn’t have. If more cities were as frugal as Salt Lake maybe we’d see more of that kind of thing.

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