Everyone knows that you can borrow books from the library to read and return, saving you money in the long run. But there are many other ways the library can save you big time money. Here are seven of our top recommendations.
Most libraries have a vast CD collection to choose from,
including the latest releases and even hard-to-find albums. Try borrowing a CD
or two to listen to before buying it in-store or online.
But did you know that some libraries offer free digital access to music through Hoopla or Freegal? Depending on your library, you may be able to stream music for free, download songs for free (with weekly limits), or borrow the music using Hoopla or Freegal.
This way, you can save yourself a few bucks per month, rather than pay for premium services like Spotify or Pandora.
Movies and TV Shows
It seems the price for Netflix and other streaming services
keeps going up, right? Why spend $3 or $4 renting a movie or TV show from
Redbox or Amazon when you can borrow a copy from the library for free?
Most libraries are pretty good at obtaining the latest
releases as soon as they come out. Some movies will be so popular that there
could be a waiting list, but you shouldn’t have to wait long.
If you’re lucky, your library offers a streaming service called Kanopy, which offers documentaries and international films for free online. You’ll need a Roku box, smartphone, or tablet to download the app to stream your movie.
Rather than spend your hard-earned money on a service like
Audible, which costs $15 per month, you can borrow audiobooks from your
Note that there are a few apps that you will need to
download in order to access their audiobooks. Some of the more popular ones are
Libby, LibriVox, Loyal Books, and Hoopla. Check with your library to find out
which one they use.
If you can’t access your favorite book via your library’s streaming service, then check out their audiobook CD collection. Libraries usually carry the latest releases of audiobooks in CD form, so you can listen to your favorite book in the car or at home using your CD player.
Some libraries now offer toy, game console, game, and tablet
rentals. This service is a lifesaver as well as a money saver for parents
Kids often get bored with their toys, and they end up in the
toy bin, taking up space. Try borrowing that toy from the library instead and
save yourself some money in the process.
If your kid still wants the toy, even after the borrowing
period is over, then you can buy it for them and know it won’t get tossed
Before you spend money on an Xbox or iPad, see if your library offers them for
rental. Even if they don’t offer game console rental, most offer games you can
check out the same way you check out books, movies, or CDs.
If you’re sold on the console, tablet, or game during the borrowing period, you’ll feel better about spending money on it in the long run.
Love magazines, but hate how much a subscription costs? Even
better, how about paying for a subscription, only to find you don’t have the
time to read them. They get thrown in your recycling bin, which ends up being a
waste of money.
Buying a magazine off the rack can really add up. Most
libraries have a big selection of magazines in just about every subject you can
think of, from fashion to hobbies to news.
While some libraries won’t allow you to borrow magazines to take home, why not enjoy the peace and quiet of a library while reading about the latest fashion trends?
Continuing Education and Workshops
Some of the more extensive libraries offer educational
classes for free or a nominal fee. They usually sponsor various series from
local schools or businesses.
For instance, a local business club may offer a free
budgeting class. The library might also partner with a local museum for a
Try learning a new skill like coding or design for free!
Lynda.com, a popular online learning site, has partnerships with some libraries
that will allow you free access to their website. Check with your library to
see if you’re one of the lucky ones.
Computers, Internet Access, and Wi-Fi
If you can’t afford Internet service or a computer, or if
you only need occasional Internet access, you’ll be happy to know that almost
every library has computers with Internet access.
Most libraries also have free Wi-Fi you can use to save money when it comes to data usage on your smartphone. Now you won’t have to spend money at a restaurant or coffee shop just to be able to use their free Wi-Fi.
Some Final Thoughts and Honorable Mentions
Now that we’ve covered seven surprising ways the library can
save you big, which one of these was the most surprising? Which services will
you use now that you know about them? Please let us know!
While the seven services we listed are our favorites, libraries
offer many other valuable services that can save you money, such as meeting
spaces and offices for freelancers, office equipment (think faxes and copiers),
research assistance, and discount tickets to museums.