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How Much You Can Save By Using a Free Library

This article was written by in Frugality. 12 comments.


I am a typical American consumer. I buy books, music, and movies for my own entertainment, and the objects spend more time on my shelves than they do in their respective playback devices. I make an exception for music as everything I buy is almost immediately transcoded digitally and transfered to a portable media device. The entertainment industry is thankful for people like me. I don’t even maximize my Netflix subscription, which I seem to have kept despite considering quitting the program over two years ago.

The library should be a money-saving option for people who like reading, watching movies, and otherwise consuming media. I found a calculator that will put into numbers how much money you could save by utilizing a library’s services rather than opting to buy everything you consume. The calculator is designed for library patrons who already use the free services and would like to see how much they are currently saving, but a slight modification in the terminology would focus the calculator on how much you could save by getting to know your friendly neighborhood librarian.

A quick run of the calculation shows that I could save $100 per month in books, movies, and CDs alone. How much could you save by visiting the library rather than the store?

Updated September 8, 2011 and originally published June 30, 2009. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Susan

Nice – I “save” $187 a month. :) Of course I wouldn’t buy 4 audio books a month, so it’s not a true “savings” for me, but it does show that I enjoy a value of $187 worth of entertainment per month from the library. That’s a neat calculator – thanks for sharing.

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avatar RSR

many libraries offer digital/electronic downloads of some materials making the borrowing free and easy (and legal!)

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avatar Barbara Bennett

I use my library all the time and it only takes me 5 minutes in person at the library! I do all my book searching in the online catalog and place requests for the books I want. They send me an email when the books are ready to pickup. They also have RSS feeds for new books. And, if my local library doesn’ t have what I want, I can request books online through the Maryland Interlibrary loan system. I love it.

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avatar Melissa Jeffrey

I am a librarian, so may be a bit biased, but I save over $5000 a year using the library. And yes I used to spend between $50 and $100 a month on books alone, not counting dvd rentals and buying music. And magazine subscriptions…

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avatar MLR

I’ll never get why people don’t actually use their libraries more.

But who cares. As long as you all keep paying your taxes so I can get the service I’m happy. :)

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avatar Leila

Most libraries have free events for kids and adults including classes. Today our local library is hosting an Xbox competition on the big screen. It’s a great way to get the kids out of the house during the summer.

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