Using Your Library to Save Money

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A local library is a huge community asset and one which many people tend to overlook. Some may be of the impression that libraries are boring, quiet places full of dusty books and stern librarians. Others think that libraries are where the poor and homeless go to get warm and that they’re bleak, colourless places. These assumptions are far from true – in fact, your local library is probably one of the most vibrant and interesting places you can visit…and what’s more, it’s free.
If you read a lot, you’ll probably know that books are pretty expensive to buy new. Charity shops often sell books very cheaply, but if you want the latest bestsellers, you’ll usually have to shell out a substantial amount of cash in your local bookshop. If you enjoy listening to music, then you’ll know that even downloading a few songs a month can all add up in cost, and if you prefer to listen to CDs, then these can be pretty expensive too. Gaming is one of the most costly hobbies out there at the moment, with new games retailing at around £40-£50. Magazines are pricey, with the average mag retailing at about £4 and subscriptions being significantly more than this as a single transaction. If you add up your yearly spend on these items alone, you’ll probably be faced with a number which shocks you a bit.
Now, what if you were able to still experience all these things that you enjoy doing, but for a tiny percentage of the cost? Libraries can provide all of these things and more. You can hire DVDs, Blu-ray’s, games and CDs for a small charge (usually only a pound or two) and take out books and magazines for free. You can use the library as a place to do some research on anything you like, from business plans to knitting patterns. Most libraries have computers with free internet access, and librarians are trained to help you with almost any query you can think of. Need to research your family tree? Ask a librarian to help. Want to look at newspaper archives? A librarian will be able to tell you where to do that. Many libraries also offer printing and photocopying services for a small fee, as well as free events for adults and children.
The library may feel like a bit of a ‘boring’ place to you, but to your children it will be a treasure trove. Many larger libraries have a completely separate children’s section with soft areas and toys as well as books to play with. Some libraries will hold story telling sessions and even writing groups for older children. Borrowing toys is encouraged in many libraries too, which could save you a fortune over the years.
Not using your library to its fullest potential is almost like throwing money down the drain. Keeping your children occupied for free during the school holidays, reading the latest books and using the internet for free are all things which could save you thousands over a lifetime.

This article was written by Coral Pearce Mariner on behalf of UK Credit Limited. Coral regularly writes articles for a number of top finance related websites, she recently published one titled In Debt? You’re Not Alone? Check it out.

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