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12 Awesome Things at the Library I Wish I Knew About Earlier

12 Awesome Things at the Library I Wish I Knew About Earlier

If you’re like me it’s probably been a long time since you’ve been in a library. That’s fine. Most of us have an antiquated view of what libraries do and are for. As it turns out, libraries can actually be pretty awesome and can save you money. Here are some ways you can save money from the library.

1. You can stream stuff for free

Many of us have Netflix accounts but there are other ways to stream. Using your library card, you can check out a service called Hoopla. Using Hoopla, you can stream movies and TV shows without spending a dime. It’s not as stable as Netflix or Hulu but if you can stand the bugs you can watch some pretty good stuff for free. There are also Android and iOS apps available!

2. You can get free audio books

save money from library

    Libraries have a lot of books but they also have a lot of ebooks. They may handle it differently depending on your library but the premise is pretty much the same. You get a download link, download the file, listen to it, and then in a couple of weeks the file will self destruct. Listening to ebooks is relaxing and provides great background noise when you’re doing other stuff like cleaning the house, cooking, or driving.

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    3. Borrow the latest movies on DVD or BluRay

    Everyone knows that libraries have movies right along with books that you can borrow for free. However, did you know that most public libraries will get the latest titles in the day they come out? Unfortunately, savvy library users will reserve their copy to rent weeks (sometimes months) in advance. You can always wait in line with the reservation holders if you prefer or you can check in with your library and find out how to hold your own copy so you can get in before everyone else. They also have countless older movies which can still make for a fun, quiet evening at home that doesn’t cost you a penny.

    4. Get free trips to the museum

    save money from library

      Many public libraries are becoming part of the Museum Pass Program which means they have free museum passes to give out every month. Not every library does this and the ones that do participate do not have a lot of passes. That means they’re first come, first serve. If you want to try this out all you need to do is inquire with your library and then get a pass!

      5. Access family tree archives for free

      There are a lot of genealogy websites out there and they can cost a pretty penny to join. Some libraries are already members of these websites and will let you browse on their dime for free. A lot of people don’t need a service like this except for school projects but a penny saved is a penny earned, is it not? Plus it can be fun to see where your family came from and what they used to do.

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      6. Read magazines for free

      save money from library

        We know a lot of people don’t really subscribe to magazines anymore but those that do pay for magazines don’t really need to. Libraries keep a stock of the latest magazines from the biggest publications on hand and you can go in and check them out anytime you want. Most magazine subscriptions are negligible but buying individual issues can cost upwards of $10 and even some subscriptions are pretty expensive.

        7. Free conference rooms

        Most libraries have conference rooms that you can book for an hour or two totally free of charge. They come with large tables and chairs and you can sometimes borrow things like projectors for presentations. You can use this for practically anything such as book clubs, Dungeons and Dragons campaigns (I’ve personally done this), work related stuff, or practically anything else. They’re there for your use.

        8. Yes, sometimes even tools!

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        save money from library

          This is something that is apparently catching on although I haven’t personally seen it in my area yet. Apparently more and more libraries have a section of power tools that members can borrow for a week or two. This is amazing if you don’t own a lot of tools and want to do some DIY home improvements or even something as simple as hanging a shelf. This isn’t everywhere though so call and check first!

          9. Music instruments

          A lot of libraries have a selection of musical instruments in stock for those who may want to learn. This is actually something they do for school students who can’t afford their own instruments and may have to borrow them. If you’re interested in learning an instrument or want to practice one you’ve been using, the library lets you do it for free. Musical instruments are insanely expensive so this is the only way some people get to hone their skills.

          10. They have computer labs with free internet

          save money from library

            Not everyone needs internet 24/7 and there are plenty of people who don’t have internet at all. If you need to hop online to check your email, apply for jobs, or check out social media then you’re in luck! Public libraries generally have computer labs with internet access that you can use for free. At my local library, they have a 30-60 minute time frame so if it’s a busy day you may not get all the time you need. On less busy days you can sit there almost all day if you have to. They’ll also let you print off things for a small fee. If you don’t print off enough to warrant buying a printer then this can also save you money.

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            11. It’s a free place to go to be alone

            The popular and hip thing to do is to go hang out in coffee shops. The only problem is that you generally have to buy something to stick around in a coffee shop. In a library you can walk in, buy nothing, and hang out in there all day if you need to. It’s pretty quiet, you can listen to your own music, and in some public libraries the couches and chairs are very comfortable. People looking for a quiet, chill place to work on things can find few better options than the library. Your “coolness” may take a hit, but coolness is overrated anyway.

            12. You can rent free books

            save money from library

              Lest we forget why the library is there in the first place. For books! Books are still pretty expensive these days and reading is still a thing that people do (and should do more of). As always, you can get a heaping pile of books from the library and keep them for a while. Books can usually be checked out longer than other items unless there’s a waiting list.

              Libraries are pretty awesome. Most public libraries have worked really hard to remain current when it comes to the needs of people. 20 years ago all they needed to have were books and they could have fallen into obscurity but they didn’t. If you haven’t done so in a while, just go visit your library to see what kind of stuff they can do now!

              Featured photo credit: FanPop via images.fanpop.com

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              Joseph Hindy

              A writer, editor, and YouTuber who likes to share about technology and lifestyle tips.

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              Last Updated on June 26, 2020

              25 Easy Tips on How to Save Money Fast

              25 Easy Tips on How to Save Money Fast

              “How to save money fast?” This is the question asked by all of us not in the top 1% of rich people.

              If you are looking for ways to drastically reduce your expenses immediately, first look at what you need to spend money on every week. And I mean really need.

              You don’t really need to order in food. You don’t really need to buy expensive perfume.

              Building from that, you can work out how your regular expenses can be reduced.

              As for irregular expenses, they can also be deceptively costly in the long run. Once-off buys can also be tackled with some prudent planning and a little extra research.

              And remember: a budgeted lifestyle does not mean a bad or boring one!

              But first, understand what budget you can cut down on daily:

              • Regular expenses for the average adult (can be trimmed but not eliminated):
                • food
                • rent/mortgage
                • cell phone
                • insurance
                • socializing/entertainment
                • transportation
                • hygiene products
                • household bills
              • Irregular expenses for the average adult (can be eliminated or cut down a lot):
                • travel
                • clothing
                • medication (*depends)
                • grooming (hair, nails etc.)
                • gifts

              Now, let’s dive right into the 25 ways to save money fast:

              Save Money on Food

              1. Bring a stock of food to the office/work

              Instead of popping out for an overpriced salad and a smoothie, leave a set of basic utensils at the office as well as a stock of non-perishable goods such as tinned fruit, tuna, rice crackers and so on (try to avoid the junk food and this can turn into a pretty great diet!).

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              Stocking up means you won’t forget or say “I didn’t have the time” when you rushed out to work in the morning.

              2. Buy the store-brand version

              Many basic foods, such as bread and milk, will taste exactly the same as their branded alternatives. Go for stuff with minimal additives and preservatives. Meat in a tube is probably insanely unhealthy!

              3. Eat cheaper cuts of meat

              Learn how to tenderize and flavour cheaper meat and fish, and save on the (typically) most expensive item on your grocery bill.

              4. Have group dinners

              If 10 friends put $5 each in the kitty, it’s pretty easy to make a giant lasagne and get refreshments, as well as hang out with your favourite people.

              Save Money in Transport

              5. Get a bicycle

              Save on gas money and bus/metro fares with this underrated mode of transport.

              6. Use public transport and/or don’t get taxis

              Some places can only be reached by car. But as a good practise, check your public transport website and see if any routes pass nearby where you need to get to. Walk as much as you can.

              7. Find the cheapest gas

              Regularly check out where the cheapest gas can be bought.

              Save Money in General Shopping

              8. Shop online

              Not only will you save on the gas or transport fares from going to the shopping mall but you will also find better deals

              9. Sell your old stuff

              Get your unwanted belongings up on eBay ASAP and earn a few dollars.

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              Here’re more ideas for you: 25 Things to Sell to Make a Lot of Money

              10. Bulk buying stores

              For regular non-perishable/slow perishable purchases such as toilet paper, cat food, pasta, washing powder and so on, do an epic stocking-up trip to a co-op or equivalent (my mum used to go to a place that restaurants buy from).

              Be wary of supermarket “deals”, as some have been found to be fraudulent after working out a simple calculation.

              11. Become a flea market/car boot sale/street market guru

              You can find original gifts and develop good negotiation skills at these places.

              12. Generic brand medication

              More often than not, the generic version of paracetamol and other basics work the same as the branded version.

              13. Choose deodorant, not perfume

              It blows my mind when someone drops $70 on a bottle of spray. Stick with a nice deodorant, and not only will you smell just fine but you’ll be sweat-free as well!

              Cut Down on Household Expenses

              14. Printing

              Ink is one of the most expensive substances in the office and coloured ink is doubly so. B

              e more efficient and choose black and white, and if your printer doesn’t have a print-both-sides options, just print odd pages first, re-insert the paper and print even pages.

              Expand the margins of what you are printing as often as you can to save on paper.

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              15. Minimize SMS and phone calls

              A combination of a free chat service such as WhatsApp and a free call service such as Skype can reduce your bill to nothing (so long as you have a decent Wifi connection).

              16. Shop around for insurance

              Most people don’t spend enough time searching for the best insurance deal.

              Keep a watchful eye out for deals and new competitors in the market.

              17. Try re-negotiating your rent/mortgage

              If you have built up a good credit history or a good rapport with your landlord, then chances are a frank chat about needing to tighten your spending could result in lowering your payments. You’ve nothing to lose from trying.

              18. Don’t get a TV

              Invest in a computer/laptop and an internet-only package. You can watch more (and often better) entertainment on the web, and skip the advertisements as well.

              19. Pool your internet bill with a neighbour

              My apartment building is basically a big old house split into three apartments. There are five of us in total. We pool the internet bill, making it crazy cheap.

              Save Money in Socializing, Entertainment And Travel

              20. Have house parties

              Instead of paying for overpriced drinks, set up a series of in-house get-togethers with your friends. Everyone takes a turn, so it’s not always your house that needs cleaning.

              For sound insulation, hang heavy drapes on the walls and windows. For music, invest in a good second-hand set of speakers which you can connect to your computer. Let Spotify or Grooveshark playlists do the rest.

              21. Open festivals, meetups and events

              It never fails to surprise me how much underground stuff goes on around me for free or for very cheap. Find out who runs the blogs and websites that list all the less well-known cultural activities.

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              22. Volunteer

              If you can’t pay for a ticket, volunteer and get to be there anyway.

              23. Housesit

              There are multiple housesitting websites offering you the possibility to avoid paying hotels and skip the discomfort of crummy hostels.

              Save Money on Hygiene and Beauty

              24. DIY beauty

              French manicures, pedicures, waxing, eyebrows… pretty much all of these can be achieved at home (and done well) with some practise. There are plenty excellent blogs and YouTube tutorials to help.

              25. Fewer haircuts/volunteer at a trainee hairdresser

              If you can’t bear the risk of a trainee touching your locks, learn more ways to manipulate your hair as it grows and get haircuts sparingly. Women’s haircuts are outrageously priced in many cities.

              Bonus: Effective Money-Saving Tips for Everything

              Here’s a summary of what you can generally do to save more money:

              • Share/pool resources. Organize a neighbourhood sharing scheme, common resources for your apartment block or with your friends. Not everybody needs an individual lawnmower.
              • Buy energy-saving everything. The easiest way to lower your bills – replace those lightbulbs!
              • Buy in bulk. Be sensible about it (i.e. make sure you have space!), and drastically reduce weekly expenditure.
              • DIY. Skill up using YouTube tutorials on plumbing and many other essential services so you never have to pay for simple problems again.
              • Research a lot before making a decision. Most money-wasting is the result of poor preparation and planning. Don’t shirk this part just because you don’t like it!
              • Use your network. Your network is full of resources that can ease the pain of budgeting. Ask for help.
              • Stop and think. Do I really need it?

              Unfortunately, there are some things that require plain ol’ giving up for the time being. This can include high-cost sports such as skiing, the latest versions of some technologies, the finest brands of food/drinks, premier seats at the opera and most other indulgences.

              What is important to remember during lean times is that when you look back on your life, it will be the experiences that stand out, not the extra comforts.

              Living on a budget can teach you a lot about how much you can really get out of your paycheck. We only live one life, so make the most of every penny you earn!

              More Tips for Personal Finance Management

              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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