How to Save Thousands Each Year Using the Public Library

Save Thousands at the Public Library

We didn’t have a lot of money growing up and we were on a pretty tight budget. Since my Mom is smart she probably already knew how she could save thousands by using the public library!

The public library is where you would typically find me after school to work on projects or study with my friends.  I typically checked out a stack of books that were too heavy to carry home or browse the CD collection to see if there was anything new. Most evenings my mom would come home with a stack of VHS movies that she checked out from the library for us to watch.  Most of what was available were movies that were already 10 years old.  It wasn’t super exciting, but it did introduce me to a lot of movies I probably would have never watched.

The Public Library’s Value

The value that the library brings is not something you really think about as a kid.  My Mom probably saved hundreds each month by using the library instead of going to Blockbuster.  Although I loved buying a new book, there would be no way for my mom to afford to buy me the tons of books that I used to bring home.  However, I would like to say that I saved money from not having to buy CDs, but it was a little pointless borrowing them unless I wanted to try to copy the music to a cassette tape.

The library has come a long way since the 1980s and 90s.  As you already know, almost everything you need can be found online.  So this leaves a lot fewer books on the shelves, but what many don’t realize is that there is so much more to the library than just books.

Electronic Books and Magazines

Did you know that there are tens of thousands of digital books in a library’s digital collection? There are eBooks and eMagazines from just about every author and publisher you can think of. 

On average people pay anywhere from $13 to $17 for a new book and the average person reads about 12 books a year.  If you pay $15 for each new book, you are looking at an annual cost of about $180 per year.  If we take a look at all of our magazine subscriptions and although the cost is relatively low, it would still cost about $100 a year to subscribe to just five magazines.

DVD and Streaming Movies Savings

The days of VHS are long gone and so are the days of my Mom bringing home obscure movies.  Now I can browse the selection of thousands of movies and most are ones that I have heard of!  The library even offers new releases to borrow, as well as free to use streaming services like Acorn TV. 

On average, people rent 20-30 movies a year.  If you are renting them from Redbox, which can really add up!  Especially if you don’t return them on time.  The average time that a person keeps a Redbox movie is about 5 days, which comes to $10 for that one movie rental that they probably watched only once.  If you rent just 20 movies a year, you’re looking at an annual cost of $200! Although Redbox is convenient, it isn’t necessary when you can find it at the library.

Video Games Savings

Can you believe that your local library now carries video games?  If this was offered when I was a kid, I probably would have managed my money a whole lot better.  You can now borrow some of the latest video games for PS4 and Xbox.  Some libraries may offer other game systems as well.  No longer will you or your kids need to go to Redbox to rent a video game at $3.99 per day, when you can borrow it from the library for free!  They even allow 14-day checkouts on games!  This savings is huge considering you might borrow a video game from Redbox for 10 days, which comes out to be $40.  Multiply that by the 5 games you might play on average and that’s a savings of $200!

Printing and Wireless Savings

Libraries offer the use of public computers as well as printing services for a nominal cost of about 15 cents per copy.  It isn’t often that we need to print something and oftentimes I find that the ink in my printer has dried up when I really need it the most.  On average you could save anywhere from $70 to $200 per year by doing your printing at the library!  Many libraries even offer mobile printing, so that you can print your documents from your home computer or mobile device and pick them up at the library! 

The library also lends other technology like mobile WiFi hotspots for you to use at home.  You could easily save $600 a year on internet service just by borrowing it from the library!

Save on Music Downloads

The days of looking for popular music and never finding it are long gone.  The library not only has music CDs in their collection that you would recognize, but they also offer a service to download MP3 music directly to your device for free!  You are limited to three songs per day, but if you download 60 songs per year from iTunes, you are looking at a savings of almost $80!

Save on Research and Training

Many of us don’t think that we need computer classes, but there is still a lot that we don’t know.  What is stopping us from taking a class or an online course?  Maybe the cost?  It can cost anywhere from $50-$200 for a one-day basic computer class session, that can be taken for free at the library.

The library also offers online services like LinkedIn Learning (, Rocket Languages, and  An individual subscription for all of these services would cost over $600 a year!  Again, all of these are offered for free from the library.

Save Thousands Annually

Let’s recap on how much you can save by using your Public Library:

  • Books and Magazines – Average Annual Savings:  $256
  • DVDs and Streaming – Average Annual Savings:  $200
  • Video Games – Average Annual Savings:  $200
  • Printing and Wireless – Average Annual Savings:  $800
  • Music – Average Annual Savings:  $80
  • Research and Training – Average Annual Savings:  $800

This is a grand total of $2,336 a year! 

In Conclusion

Now that you know that the public library offers so much for free, doesn’t it make sense to start using the library?  Your savings may be more or less depending on how much you utilize these offerings, but the thing to remember is that the services are free for you to use.  The library is constantly breaking down barriers and allowing for truly free and exceptional services. Please take advantage of them and start saving thousands today! 

Leave a Reply