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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 September 2, 2020

              How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

              How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

              Personal finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. That’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

              In this article, we will explore ways to set financial goals and actually meet them with ease.

              4 Steps to Setting Financial Goals

              Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task, if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps to get you started.

              1. Be Clear About the Objectives

              Any goal without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream, and this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

              It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore, if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it’s for. It could be anything, including your child’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car, etc.

              Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives that you foresee in the future and put a value to each.

              2. Keep Goals Realistic

              It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a Pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going beyond what you can realistically achieve will definitely hurt your chances of making meaningful progress.

              It’s important that you keep your goals realistic, as it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

              3. Account for Inflation

              Ronald Reagan once said: “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman.” This quote sums up what inflation could do your financial goals.

              Therefore, account for inflation[1] whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far into the future.

              For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years from now, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is a mere 3%. Always account for this to avoid falling short of your goals.

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              4. Short Term Vs Long Term

              Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach to achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It’s important to bifurcate goals into short-term and long-term.

              As a rule of thumb, any financial goal that is due in next 3 years should be termed as a short-term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long-term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short-term vs long-term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

              By now, you should be ready with your list of financial goals. Now, it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

              How to Achieve Your Financial Goals

              Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a two-step process:

              • Ensuring healthy savings
              • Making smart investments

              You will need to save enough and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals.

              Ensuring Healthy Savings

              Self-realization is the best form of realization, and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

              This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

              1. Track Expenses

              The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your spending. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you will be surprised by how small expenses add up to a sizable amount.

              Also categorize those expenses into different buckets so that you know which bucket is eating most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pumping up your savings rate.

              If you’re not sure where to start when tracking expenses, this article may be able to help.

              2. Pay Yourself First

              Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classic mistake when setting financial goals. We pay ourselves last!

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              Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world, i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and manage all the expenses from the rest.

              The best way to actually implement this is to put the savings on automatic mode, i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (mutual funds, retirement accounts, etc) every month.

              Taking the automatic route will help release some control and compel us to manage what’s left, increasing the savings rate.

              3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick With It

              Learning to create a budget is the best way to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be organized

              Nowadays, several money management apps can help you do this automatically.

              At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely, but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

              Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options, and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

              You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

              4. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

              In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that, in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

              Make savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counterintuitive to many, there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

              • Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Weekends are more expensive.
              • If you are a travel buff, try to travel during off-season. You’ll spend significantly less.
              • If you go shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

              The key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice, which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

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              5. Talk About It

              Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission.

              Therefore, in order to stay the course, surround yourself with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

              6. Maintain a Journal

              For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

              If you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

              When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energized to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot easier for you to track your progress.

              Making Smart Investments

              Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However, savings, when invested wisely, can do wonders.

              1. Consult a Financial Advisor

              Investment doesn’t come naturally to most of us, so it’s wise to consult a financial advisor.

              Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings, and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

              2. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

              Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about the common ones, like a savings account, Roth IRA, and others.

              Just like “no one is born a criminal,” no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference[2].

              As a general rule, for all your short-term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature, for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds, etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less compared to equity instruments.

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              3. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

              Einstein once remarked about compounding:

              “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.”

              Use compound interest when setting financial goals

                Make friends with this wonder kid. The sooner you become friends with it, the quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

                Start saving early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

                4. Measure, Measure, Measure

                All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments and taking stock of how our investments are doing.

                If we don’t measure progress at the right times, we are shooting in the dark. We won’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not, whether the financial advisor is doing a decent job, or whether we are moving closer to our target.

                Measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

                The Bottom Line

                Managing your extra money to achieve your short and long-term financial goals

                and live a debt-free life is doable for anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort. Use the tips above to get you started on your path to setting financial goals.

                More Tips on Financial Goals

                Featured photo credit: Micheile Henderson via unsplash.com

                Reference

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