In Praise of the Library

Libraries- an amazing and free resource in every town

Do you know everything that is available at your local library?

We all know that you can get books, but do you know what else is available? Actually I’m not sure if everyone knows that you can get books, as I do seem to meet a lot of people who never go to the library, or at least last went when they were a child.

I am a regular at the library. In fact, at one point I was reserving so many books that a staff member said that she knew our answerphone message off by heart having listened to it almost every week when she rang to say that my books were ready to collect.

I have to say that our library service is fabulous. You can reserve books online from any library in the county and they will bring it to your local library for you collect. In addition, they can request books from several neighbouring authorities for you. Each of these services is free.

In my younger days I used to spend a lot of money buying novels, but after reading them once they then usually sat on the shelf for years collecting dust. I still love buying books, but now I reserve my money for non-fiction.

I use the library mainly for novels and love just to pick a book off the shelf if it looks interesting. As it’s completely free of charge it doesn’t matter if I only manage to read a few pages and then decide to take it back. Where else can you borrow something, use it for its intended purpose and then take it back when you’ve finished and pay absolutely nothing?

Occasionally I pick non-fiction books off the shelf, normally ones about food, finances or lifestyle. We have often reserved a newly-released cookery book to see if we would be interested in buying it.  I will try out a few of the recipes and if we enjoy them then I may order it.

Download an audiobook

Apart from paper books I have also downloaded audiobooks to listen to in the car. Most libraries appear to have these available, along with e-books and again they are free.

A little bit of recent research has also shown that the following are available in libraries throughout the country, mostly for free:

  • Online magazines
  • Online newspapers
  • Researching your family tree – you may have to go into the library rather than access it remotely.
  • Reading groups
  • DVDs
  • Book prescriptions
  • Digital drop-ins – help with computers, tablets, etc.
  • Careers advice e.g. help with cvs and job-hunting
  • Researching companies
  • Business support -workshops and seminars e.g. market research resources, how to grow your business
  • Webinars
  • Free one to one business advice
  • Activities for children, e.g. craft events, messy play.

So, if you don’t use your local library, shame on you.

If you do, but it’s only for books, maybe have a look at what else they offer.

If you’ve cancelled that magazine subscription in order to save a bit of money you might be able to read it for free online.

If you miss immersing yourself in the day’s news, check out online newspapers.

Twelve Frugal Actions – a day in the life of a frugal person

Put a dressing gown on when I got out of bed

I had woken up in a house where the heating had only just come on. We don’t run it through the night. I am always colder than Mr Simple so I have a blanket on my side of the bed. If it is really cold I wear socks in bed – very sexy I know!

Made a cup of tea using tea leaves in a tea pot

A pack of loose-leaf tea from Tesco’s at £1.29 for 100g lasts for ages.

Read a library book

If you aren’t a member of your local library, you need to join today. Basically, it is free entertainment. There is also internet access, activities for children and they also run courses – all free of charge. You are paying for it through your taxes anyway, so use it.

Reading in bed is a daily treat – even better when it’s a library book

Washed using all Tesco’s own brand toiletries

Facial wash £1.50, shower gel 28p, toothpaste 50p. For some reason I cannot find some of these products on the Tesco website, but came across them on the shelf in the store.

Wore clothes I wore yesterday (and maybe the day before as well)

This follows the recommendation of Laura Vanderkam, the time management queen, who says that to save time cut down on washing and wear things more often. At nights I usually put my blouse or t-shirt on a hanger and my jeans on the chair next to the bed. I wear things more than once and jeans I might wear for several days.

Save time and money on laundry by wearing clothes more than once

Put a handkerchief in my pocket

Instead of tissues I have cotton handkerchiefs that you can wash and keep using for years.

Served breakfast on ‘heirloom’ crockery

Some of it is from our parents and grandparents, some from a charity shop when I was a student 30 years ago. Breakfast is not so frugal as it includes avocados – if anyone has any tips about buying avocados cheaply I’d be grateful to know. If I could grow them I would.

Prepared food and drink to take with me for the day

Made a flask of coffee, filled my water bottle and put last night’s dinner in a Tupperware box to reheat in the office for lunch.

Drove my nine-year-old car to the office

It has nearly 100,000 miles on the clock, but fingers-crossed I can keep it going for a little while yet.

Bought petrol whilst I was in the vicinity of the cheapest petrol station

As I was passing Tesco’s petrol station on the way home, although the tank wasn’t completely empty I still filled up as otherwise I could end up having to buy petrol somewhere more expensive.

Ate a home-cooked meal

Mr Simple made a meal from scratch for us. We eat mainly vegetarian food which is cheap and good for you.

Watched Freeview TV

We have never had cable, so have not had to ‘cut the cord’. If there’s nothing on we just turn it off and do something else.

So what does your typical day look like? How do you incorporate frugality into your daily habits? I would love to hear.