Money Saving Tip: Use Your Library Card

How Your Library Card Can Save You Money Every Month.

We’re taking it old school for this one, but if you’re looking for a healthy way to save money, use your library card! Depending on your habits, you could save between at least a few dollars each month and hundreds of dollars every year. It is one of the easiest ways to save money, and it doesn’t cost a thing (as long as you remember to return your materials on time). Even during our current crisis, most libraries are offering options to get a temporary card online that will let you have access to ebooks, eaudiobooks and other materials. Here’s a look at how using your library card can save you money every month.

1. Free Access to Books When You Use Your Library Card 

When it comes to books – whether they’re physical, ebooks or eaudiobooks – there’s no more affordable option than using your library card to check them out from your public library. 

  • Most libraries are very good about staying up to date with at least many of the latest reads. While you may have to wait on a waiting list for bestsellers, as long as you can be patient, the book will get to you eventually. 
  • Checking a book out from the library is a good way to try it on for size before you buy it. If you read it and think that it’s something that you’ll want to keep coming back to, then you’ll know it’s worth the investment. 
  • If you’re wanting to dive into a topic by reading everything you can about it, checking out books is by far your best bet. Whether it’s cooking, decorating, gardening or self-improvement, you can gain vast amounts of knowledge for free. 
  • If you like to have your books in a digital format, most libraries are part of a network that lets you download them as an MP3 for eaudiobooks, and/or they’re available as ebooks. (Potential savings of $9.99-$14.95/month) To access, click on “browse digital collection” if that is available. 

2. Magazines

Unless you’re someone who likes to look through a magazine over and over again, accessing your library’s digital collection simply makes sense. The latest issues are available for most of the popular subscriptions. (Potential savings of $1-$5/month) To access, click on “browse digital collection” if that is available. 

3. Newspapers 

Your local newspaper plus probably the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times should be available through your library’s digital collection. Your local newspaper may only offer an abbreviated version of the content, but it should hit the main stories of the day. The only hitch that I’ve found with my local newspaper is that it doesn’t include the current day’s paper. It only goes through the previous day. (Potential savings of $5-$18/month) To access, click on “browse digital collection” if that is available. 

4. Movies and Music

Movies and music are usually available through DVDs and CDs at your physical library, but in most cases, you have access to at least some online as well. (Potential savings of $1-$9.99 or more/month) To access, click on “browse digital collection” if that is available. 

5. Online learning courses or software

Most libraries offer access to at least some type of online learning resource. These can range anywhere from software that lets you learn a new language to The Great Courses,  which lets you learn just about anything. (Potential savings of $10/month to $350 for one course) To access, click on “browse digital collection” if that is available. 

Not every library offers the same resources, so be sure and check out your library’s website to get a full picture of what is available. Then get your library card if you haven’t already and start saving money!