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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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              Published on May 7, 2019

              How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

              How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

              When it comes to stocks, I bet you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing.

              Everyone who’s not a financial expert has been there. I’ve been there. But, time is passing and you need to be crystal clear with how you’re investing for your retirement.

              Otherwise, it’s back to work until you can afford not to. So, how can you invest for retirement when you’re not a financial expert?

              You take the time to learn the fundamentals well. If you do, you can grow your wealth and retire happy. The best part is that you don’t need to be a financial expert to make smart investment decisions.

              Here’s how to invest for retirement the smart and stress-free way:

              1. Know Clearly Why You Invest

              Odds are you already know why should invest for retirement.

              But, maybe you know the wrong reasons. It’s time you get clear on why you’d like to retire. Here are some questions to help you get started:

              • Will you spend more time with your family?
              • What does retirement mean to you?
              • Are you looking to launch that business you’ve been holding off for years?

              Everyone wants to retire but not for the same reasons. Once you’re clear for why retirement is important for you, you’ll focus on making it happen.

              Investing in the stock market allows you to take advantage of compound interest.[1] All this means is that your money earns money on top of its interest. A reason why investment in the stock market is one of the best ways to plan for retirement.

              2. Figure out When to Invest

              “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”– Chinese Proverb

              It’s true if you’d had started investing when you were 10 years old, you’d have a lot more money than you do today.

              The reality is that most people don’t start investing until it’s too late. So, if you’re currently waiting for the perfect time to start an investment, it would be today. Open your calendar and block out 2 to 3 hours to choose how you’ll invest for retirement.

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              A quick way to get a snapshot of where you stand is to use Personal Capital. Input all your personal information and spend some time setting your retirement goals. Once completed, you’ll know where you stand with your retirement.

              Having a savings account for retirement isn’t planning for retirement. Why? Your money loses value when you factor in US inflation.[2]

              3. Evaluate Your Risk Tolerance to Create the Perfect Portfolio

              Investing your money well depends on your emotions.

              Why?

              Because when the market drops most people panic and withdraw their money. On average, the US stock market yields an annual 6% to 7% ROI (return on your investment.) But, this won’t happen if you’re worried about short-term loses.

              Before you invest your next dollar, know your risk tolerance.[3] Your risk tolerance determines the number of risky and safe investments you’d have.

              Regardless of your investing style, you need to view investing for retirement as a long term game. Know that some years you’ll lose money but recoup this in the long-term.

              Avoid watching market-related new. Also, create a double authentication to log in your investment account. This way you’re less likely to withdraw your money.

              4. Open a Reliable Retirement Account

              Depending on your circumstance, you may need to open a new brokerage account. This is the account is where you’ll invest your money.

              If you’re currently working for a company, odds are that they offer a 410K investing account. If so, here’s where you’ll invest most of your money. The only problem with this is that you’re limited to the stock options that are available.

              You do have the option to open a separate IRA (individual retirement account.) Here are some of the best brokers:

              1. Vanguard
              2. TD Ameritrade
              3. Charles Schwab

              5. Challenge Yourself to Invest Consistently

              Committing to invest for retirement is hard, but continuing to do so is harder.

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              Once you’ve started investment for your retirement, you run at risk from stopping. Often you’ll want to contribute less, so you’d have more money in your pocket.

              That’s why it’s important that you create a budget that allows you to invest each month. If you’re working for a company, you can set a percentage for the amount you’d like to contribute each month. Most people by default contribute 1% but aim to contribute 10% to 15%.

              Be the judge for how much you can afford to contribute after covering important expenses. To stay motivated, use Personal Capital to view your net worth.

              A benefit to contributing money to your retirement account is not taxed. For example, if you earn $100 and invest 10%, you’d contribute $10, then get taxed on the remaining $90. As of 2019, the most you’re able to contribute towards your 401K is 19K but this can change.

              6. Consider Where to Invest Your Money

              The most common way to invest your money is in stocks, but it’s not the only way. Here are other ways to invest:

              Robo Advisors

              Robo-advisors[4] are fancy algorithms that’ll choose the best investments for you. Sites like Wealthfront make it easy for first-time investors to invest their money. You’d input information about yourself and set your risk tolerance.

              Then, set your monthly contribution amount and your robo-advisor would do the rest. Robo-advisors charge a fee to manage your money, but less than regular advisors.

              Bonds

              Think of bonds as “IOUs” to whomever you buy them from.

              Essentially, you’re lending money and charging interest. Like stocks, not all bonds are equal. Some will be riskier than others depending on their rating.

              Here are the different types of bond categories:[5]

              1. Treasury bonds
              2. Government bonds
              3. Corporate bonds
              4. Foreign bonds
              5. Mortgage-backed bonds
              6. Municipal bonds

              Mutual Funds

              Picture a group of people dumping all their money in a jar that’s managed by a professional. This is how mutual funds work. The fund manager manages the money looking to earn capital gains (interest.)

              One of the best types of mutual funds is index funds. Since these funds don’t try to beat the market and instead follow it, they need less research. Because of this they often charge the lowest fees and yield the best long-term results.

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              Real Estate

              Yes, buying a home is an investment when done correctly.

              Imagine buying a home and using it as a rental property. After repairing it, you receive a monthly surplus check of $100 to $200.

              This may not sound like a lot, but repeat this process enough times and you’d earn a large amount of passive income. That’s why real estate is one of the best investments to not only retire but become wealthy.

              But, it requires a lot of money to start and you should expect losing money along the way as you learn the process.

              Savings Accounts

              Your money can still grow in a savings account. Nowadays most online banks offer a 2% annual return. Although the average inflation is higher your money will be available when you need it.

              7. Master Disincline to Dodge Short Success

              Investing for retirement is a long-term strategy. That’s why you need to master delayed gratification. All this means is delaying short-term pleasure for something bigger in the future. Research shows that those who have delayed gratification are more successful.[6]

              So how can you master delayed gratification?

              By building your discipline.

              Think back to what retirement means to you. A clear purpose will help you avoid withdrawing your money during a market downturn. It’ll help you contribute more towards retirement when you’d want to waste it instead.

              Your journey towards retirement will be long, so reward yourself along the way. Choose a reward that’s relevant and meaningful, so that you reinforce positive behavior. For example, after contributing more towards retirement, treat yourself to dinner.

              8. Aggressively Invest on This One Investment

              I’ve mentioned several types of investments but haven’t covered the most important one.

              It sounds cliche but here’s why you’re your best investment towards retirement. The more you know, the more money you’ll be able to make. The more good habits you adopt, the more secure your retirement will be.

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              More importantly, investing in yourself is an investment that no one can take away. There’s no market downturn nor tragic circumstance that’ll wipe your knowledge and experience.

              But, how can you invest yourself?

              Reading books, blogs, and anything that’ll help you learn new topics daily. Listen to podcasts and audiobooks on your commute to/from work.

              Save money to buy courses and hire coaches. I used to believe hiring coaches was a waste of money when I could learn the subject alone.

              But, coaches see your blind spots and hold you accountable. Hiring the right coach will help you achieve your goals faster than you would’ve alone.

              Retire Happy with Excess Money

              The key to a secure financial future doesn’t only belong to financial experts.

              It’s possible for you and I. What if you were able to retire earlier than most people and weren’t a financial planner? What if you were able to focus on what you enjoy doing the most while your money was working hard for you?

              I know this sounds impossible now, but the truth is you’re capable of taking charge of your retirement. I’m not a financial expert but I’ve learned how to invest my money by reading books and learning from others.

              Investing your money is scary. So start small and invest a small amount of your money with a robo-advisor. Feel your money drop and rise for a month or two. Then, invest more and keep this up until you’re aggressively saving for retirement.

              One day, you’ll wake up with a net worth you’re proud of – confident about your retirement. You now know a few strategies you can use to invest in your retirement. Will you take action to retire happy?

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              Featured photo credit: Matthew Bennett via unsplash.com

              Reference

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