Taking full advantage of our Public Library has been such a money saver for our family. I think it’s fairly common to associate only books with the Public Library, (which as a book worm is already an awesome thing!), but the library can offer so so much more than beautiful books. Everything to borrow is completely free. They offer so many different services, it makes me sad when others don’t take realize the huge benefits of the library.
1. Books, Books, Books!
We will start the list off with the most obvious thing to borrow from the library; and that is books. Reading is one of my very favorite forms of entertainment, and if you borrow books from the library it is completely FREE! (which also happens to be another one of my favorites!) There really is no need to spend lots of money on books. The library has just about any book you could imagine. I often check out books about finance, parenting, biographies, self-help, they have fiction or non-fiction, you name it they have it. My kids absolutely love going to the children’s selection and getting to choose their very own books to borrow for a couple of weeks.
2. Movies and TV Shows
A few years ago our finances became unexpectedly very tight. We cut out every unnecessary expense. This included cancelling all cable, Netflix, Hulu, etc. This is when I really started taking advantage of the fantastic movie selection at our local library. We began going once a week and the kids picked out a couple of TV shows or movies they wanted and I picked out a few for my husband and I. I was pleasantly surprised at just how great of a selection they had. If you’re wanting to cut out extras from our budget but are worried about the TV options, try checking a few movies out at your library, I bet you’ll find something you like.
3. Classes and Clubs
I am always impressed with the variety of FREE classes my local library offers. I recently completed an excellent Parenting class through the library. I have also seen classes available about Healthy Eating and Finances. Their are also fun clubs that are available to participate in. My library has a knitting club, chess club, and book club. All for adults…all for FREE! I love the fantastic choices of classes and clubs for my kids to participate in as well. They host family activities about once a month, activities on holidays, science club, coding club, and more. It feels like every few weeks the librarian is introducing my kids to a new fun activity that they are welcome to be a part of. I take advantage of these during the summer months when the kids might be feeling a little bored while out of school and need to stretch their minds a bit.
4. Story Time
Story Time is our most used of all the kids activities offered. This is the perfect FREE activity to take your little ones to during the long cold winter months. We love getting out of the house and not having to spend any money. We attend regularly and each of my kids have a favorite librarian they look forward to. My local library puts out a list months in advance of what each weeks story times will be about. We make sure to note the topics I know my kids would NOT want to miss and put it on the calendar. My kids love being introduced to new books and songs and occasionally they will have a fun little craft to do together. We LOVE story time!
5. Audio Books
I know Audio Books are one of those either you love em or hate em type thing. But, I happen to fall under the love em category! I listen to them when I am doing housework or if we are on a road trip. Not ALL audio books are created equal. I’ve put in a few before and had to take them right back out a few minutes later. It all depends on the reader. The Public Library also has a giant selection of Audio Books for KIDS! I always borrow one or two and we listen to them on the car. I spend quite a bit of time in the car with my kids taking them to and from school and other activities. If I put in an audio book they are MUCH less likely to complain and fight with each other. Which is pretty important in our car. 🙂
This is another library service that we discovered during a time of need. A year ago we were transition between homes and found ourselves at a place that had no internet access. We knew we were only going to be there for a few months and didn’t want to spend the money on set up fees for such a short amount of time. Since SO many things are done online now a days I was so happy when I learned of the library’s free Wi-Fi. I then became a regular at the library. I tried to stop in once or twice a week with my laptop and a long list of things I needed to do on the internet. I spent 30-45 minutes there getting stuff done and then continued on with my day. I no longer have a need to use their Wi-Fi. But, this is a great option for others who may not have internet access in their budget or perhaps might be in a similar situation we were in.
7. Music CD’s
When I had my first baby many years ago I learned that she liked to listen to fun toddler/kids music while we were driving in the car. I bought a couple of kids CD’s for us to listen to and to keep her entertained while driving. When my youngest was a toddler I couldn’t find those CD’s anymore. After searching I decided to check the library. In the childrens section I found a giant selection of fun kids and Disney CD’s. I’ve started letting my preschooler pick one to check out every time we go to the library. He has found his few favorites and always looks forward to choosing one. My oldest daughter threw a karaoke party for some friends a few weeks ago and I thought, instead of buying a bunch of karaoke songs let’s check the library first. Sure enough! I was able to borrow a few karaoke CD’s and her friends had a blast singing and dancing all night……and I didn’t spend any money. WIN!
8. Games and Puzzles
I couldn’t believe it when I learned that our Public Library offers a few puzzles, games and learning activities for children to check out. This is such a great service! There is no need to spend tons of money on this. Kids get bored of these type of activities fairly quickly, so being able to borrow and return different ones helps to keep the kids entertained and the games fresh and new. Look into seeing if your local library offers this, and if they do, take advantage!
9. Reading Programs and Incentives
We always take part of the reading programs and incentives. We just finished the winter program and will sign up for the summer one in just a few months. I love these incentive programs for a couple of different reasons. It keeps my kids motivated and reading, even when they might not want to. AND, I love the free coupons they hand out. We just got a free family pass to a local swimming pool for finishing the winter reading program. Over the summer we get weekly coupons for kids meals and fun activities and kid places around town. Using the coupons is a fun way to keep busy over the summer, and to stay within our budget. I otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford to take the kids to as many as these activities.
10. Magazines and Newspapers
If you love getting magazines or newspapers but just don’t want to spend money on the subscriptions anymore, check your library! I have checked out some of my favorite magazines from the library. I read them, return them, and then check out the next issue. They have lots of topics to choose from; from automotive to wedding to home to parenting. It’s all there. Cancel your subscriptions and just start using the library!
If you don’t have a library card, go get one! The library offers so much more than just books. I believe we save hundreds every year by checking with our library first instead of going out and buying. What is your favorite thing to borrow from your library? Comment below and let me know if I missed anything!