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How Much Is Your Library Card Worth? 10 Easy Tips for Saving Money at the Library

Updated on July 19, 2013

I am going to start by stating the obvious, you can save money by using your local library. I am hoping this is not a surprise to anyone. If it is you’ve already missed out on thousands of dollars worth of savings. You might be surprised however by just how much you can save by using the library. Sure you can go check out hat new best-seller instead of heading to Barnes & Noble and paying ten dollars for your own copy, but that is just the beginning. My estimated library use in the last year is worth approximately $2,000. Two thousand dollars. This is as a single individual, not currently in school, or otherwise using the library for extensive research projects.

10 Easy Tips for Saving Money at the Library

So how exactly did I use more than $2,000 worth of library services? Well, first there's the more than 150 books I checked our both for my own personal reading, and for work, but books are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to using the library to save money. Here are a few other ways, the library can save you some cash --

(1) Use the library's computers
(2) Access free wifi on your laptop or mobile device
(3) Take your children to story hour or another free event
(4) Read newspapers and magazines from the library instead of buying your own
(5) Borrow CDs
(6) Borrow DVDs
(7) Borrow a book on tape for your next roadtrip
(8) Learn a new money-saving skill with the help of a frugal cookbook or a DIY book
(9) Participate in a coupon exchange

And my personal favorite....(10) MUSEUM PASSES!!

Just how much can these museum passes save you? My library has passes available for free or reduced admission at 10 different museums, as well as a free parking pass for the Massachusetts state parks. A family of four who used all ten of these passes would save a total of $318! Over $300 is far from pennies for any family, and means choosing between saving vs. having fun is no longer an issue, with the library's help you can do both! I saved my parents' and I a collective $45 with a free pass to the Norman Rockwell museum - normally $15 per person. And this is a library in small-town USA which fights for funding, imagine how many savings options might be found in a larger urban library?

And a little bonus tip - if your local library is part of a larger regional or county library system, don't forget to check out the museum pass offerings at other llbraries within the system- especially libraries which are in larger or wealthier communities.

Have you ever used museum passes from your local library?

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So how much is YOUR library card worth?

What I have listed above are only the direct, easy to calculate savings results of my library use.  I calculated these savings using a great calculator from the Massachusetts Library Association.  Check out the link yourself to see just how much you've saved through library use in the last year.

And remember these are just part of your savings opportunities. You could also check out DIY books to help you with that new home project.  You could help slash your grocery bill with books on frugal cooking, or home gardening, or by using one of the coupon boxes popular at many libraries.  Educational programs and seminars are also offered at many libraries for little or no cost.

How do you use your library card to save?

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    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      I always support using the local library. Thank you for sharing this hub. ;-)

    • profile image

      ElleBee 5 years ago

      @Millionaire Tips - Sorry to hear no coupon exchanges or museum passes at your library! I've only seen teh coupon exchanges at a couple libraries, and they're mostly just a small box people can leave or take coupons from - if you were interested it would be a very easy thing to start up at your library.

      @Kosmo - Sounds like hte parking situation is no fun! I am lucky in that most of the libraries around me have dedicated parking lots.

      @The Dirt Farmer - I agree, so much love for libraries! I would certainly love to pay for my gas with my library card as well :)

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 5 years ago from United States

      Awesome advice. What's not to love about the public library? Once while traveling, I was so tired that I tried to use my library card at the gas pump. If only I'd gotten it to work--imagine the savings! Enjoyed the hub. (: --Jill

    • Kosmo profile image

      Kelley 5 years ago from California

      The only problem with my local library is that it's located downtown, where parking is generally an issue; otherwise, I'd go there more and perhaps save some money as well. Thanks for the tips. Later!

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 5 years ago from USA

      Our library doesn't have a coupon exchange or museum passes, but they are so wonderful with the programs, books, DVDs, etc. In fact, they won some award for best in the nation several times in a row. You can save money by doing the exercise videos instead of going to a gym and reading books on personal finance. Children's books and videos are great too, since they go through so many, and grow out of them so quickly. I have been going to the library once a week on average since I was a teenager.

    • profile image

      ElleBee 5 years ago

      I agree Dolores, I would be lost without the library!! When other people visit a new city they have to try a fun new restaurant, but I immediately want to check out the library! You'll have to see if your library does have museum passes, if so they can be a great money saver! At my lib some are for discounted entry and some get you in completely free. It's great!

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 5 years ago from East Coast, United States

      I don't know what I'd do without my local library - I've been going at least every 3 weeks for 57 years! Not sure if ours has the opportunity to save money on those museum passes though!

    • profile image

      ElleBee 5 years ago

      @RTalloni - Thanks for the comment, I definitely get my tax money's worth with my library use!

      @Lindacee - I can't promise every offering is available at every library, but there are definitely lots of different opportunities. If there is any type of regionalized inter-library use in your area it can be worth it to check out multiple libraries. My card lets me check items out from all the libraries in Western or Central MA and I've started to learn which libraries are good for different things. Definitely increases my savings opportunities.

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 5 years ago from Arizona

      I had no idea my local library had so much to offer! There's one right down the street -- so I have no excuse not to visit. Thanks for the frugal tips. They certainly come in handy these days!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      This puts things in perspective! Thanks for sharing your assessment of your how valuable your library card can be--good stuff here!

    • profile image

      ElleBee 5 years ago

      Glad I could be of help TycoonSam! I have always been a huge library fan - and there are so many ways to save money there! Its way more than just good books :)

    • TycoonSam profile image

      TycoonSam 5 years ago from Washington, MI

      You just opened up a whole new world for me. Thanks!

    • profile image

      ElleBee 5 years ago

      Thanks redberry sky! I agree that libraries are fantastic. People keep telling me libraries are going to start going the direction of bookstores... but I don't believe them! So many great resources.

    • Redberry Sky profile image

      Redberry Sky 5 years ago

      Hi ElleBee :) public libraries and museums are something I'm passionate about too. Publicity for them like this is great :)

    • profile image

      ElleBee 5 years ago

      Thanks for the feedback rebeccamealey. There are definitely lots of great things to find at the library!

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Great ideas!I gotta start going to the library again!

    • profile image

      ElleBee 5 years ago

      Thanks Lynn. There are definitely many interesting things to be found at your local library :)

    • Lynn Luther profile image

      Pattie Springle 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Very interesting read!