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Money-Saving Habit #1: Use Your Public Library

Image courtesy of rockcreek

If entertainment costs are too high in your family, consider the incredible resource of your public library. There are so many opportunities for saving money:

Renting DVDs: Our library has every Nick Jr. and PBS show on video, raising an argument for cancelling satellite TV (hubby is the holdout on that). We also have many kids' studio movies on DVD (Stuart Little, etc.), so there is no reason to spend money at Blockbuster or Netflix for children's movies. Some library systems even rent adult studio movies, which saves even more money.

Books, of course!: We can borrow up to 50 books per library card, which is great for increasing our children's library and exposing them to many types of books. If you're the type who likes reading the newest books, find out how your library handles new releases; there may be a “Hot List” where you can get on the wait list before books even arrive in the system.

Books on tape/CD: If you're a walker, a jogger or someone with a long commute, audio books are a great way to stay entertained without any out-of-pocket cost. You can also find children's books on CD, which I use with my son on long car trips and to improve his listening skills.

Kids and Adult Programs: Most libraries offer free storytimes and other programs for children. What a great way to expose your kids to the library and get some free entertainment, especially when you're a stay-at-home mom looking for activities for the kids. Adult programs can be book clubs, lectures, art programs, computer training, etc. Check online for your library's schedule or look for notices once you're there.

Reference Desk: If you've just moved to a new area, head to your local library and talk to the reference librarians about what your community offers. They can tell you about support groups for stay-at-home moms, mothers of multiples clubs, and lots of other opportunities for you to meet new people and get connected to your new town.

Learn the Computer System: One of my favorite features of our library system is that I can look up books from home and have them waiting for me at the front desk. This is a huge help when I go into the library and the toddlers turn ornery. I can also renew books online, so I make it a point to check our accounts once a week to avoid any late fees. Speaking of which…

Make sure you keep your library books organized at home–we have a box upstairs and a basket downstairs designated for library books–so you don't incur fines. Keep an eye on your account by checking online and renewing your books as necessary, make your kids take good care of their books, and keep the service FREE for your family.

Read the other articles in the 20 Money-Saving Habits for 2009 series.

Gina

Tuesday 13th of January 2009

Good point, Lynn! I usually miss those sales, and I always hear about how people find fabulous kids' books there.

Thanks for all the comments!

Lynn

Tuesday 6th of January 2009

I love the library and use it weekly. I would like to add; check your local libraries for their semi annual/annual book sales. I have gotten a few books for pennies this way.

Lisa

Tuesday 6th of January 2009

Unfortunately not all libraries have DVD's (or VHS), and some just started getting recorded books. We have recently moved and find that yet again there are no movies available at the library.

I suggest that we all give a small amount of support to our libraries and let our local officials know how much we appreciate the library. In tough economic times, the libary provides so much to so many but is an easy target for budget cutting.

Lisa F.

Tuesday 6th of January 2009

This is the best bang for your buck...yes your buck...if your local taxes support your local library. Sadly I only pay $40 a year in libarary tax, that just 2 books!!! Talk about a bargain. (I say sadly as I think they deserve more of my tax money, seem to to better things will it than other taxing entities)

Pink & Green Mama

Tuesday 6th of January 2009

Great post today. We love our library and the kid dvds are great to mix it up a bit around here. I also love the yoga dvds- cheaper than a gym membership. :)