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Saving Strategy: Go to the Library!

When I was young, I really didn’t enjoy reading. I’m not sure why that was the case, perhaps it was because I didn’t like school, and reading reminded me of school. :)

As I get older, I am finding that I’m picking up books a lot more often than before. Nowadays, I’d prefer to pick up a book than to turn on the TV. My favorite books are the ones on the topic of personal finance and investing strategies. Where do I get my books? Typically from Amazon or Chapters. This, however, can get expensive where it can run up to $500/year for me. I read somewhere about how you can get some of the newest titles at the local library. This got my wheels turning, perhaps I could find some good books at my library. I had my doubts…

Yesterday, I headed out to the local library. Besides University, I’ve never been to a library to get a book, and I’ve certainly never been to a library to get a book just for the sake of reading. I arrived at the library and as any curious customer would, I approached the front desk to get the low down. Among the series of question, I came to the question “How much does it cost?”. The lady librarian cheerfully replied “It’s free!”. I was in shock, how many valuable services in this world are FREE? I’ve hit a gold mine!

After browsing around the personal finance/investing section of the library, I found a couple of books that interested me “The Millionaire Next Door” and “Canadian Personal Finance for Dummies“. I quickly grabbed them and brought them to the front desk. As I put the books down on the desk, I had to ask again “So this is free, as in no charge?”. The lady just laughed. So I get 3 weeks with two great books at no cost. On top of that, I can extend my time with the books for free also! Life is good.

I also noticed that they have free internet access for those with library cards. This gave me the idea of bringing my future kids to the library on a Saturday afternoon. What a great way to get your kids to do some reading while Daddy surfs the net. ;)

So, if you enjoy reading and you haven’t been out to your local library, go soon! It can be a great resource to get the books that you’ve been wanting for FREE. For those of you who use the library often, you’re one step ahead of me, but i’m catching up. :)

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FT About the author: FT is the founder and editor of Million Dollar Journey (est. 2006). Through various financial strategies outlined on this site, he grew his net worth from $200,000 in 2006 to $1,000,000 by 2014. You can read more about him here.

{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Avatar Canadian Dream January 24, 2007, 9:42 am


    Yes the library is a wonderful place to read things you won’t spend a dime on. I love having access to my account online so I don’t even have to stop in to renew a book.

    Check out the DVD collection as well. You might save some more $ on DVD rentals.


  • Avatar FrugalTrader January 24, 2007, 9:50 am


    You can rent DVD’s at the library too? I’ll have to check that out! Thanks for the tip!


  • Avatar Mike January 24, 2007, 12:18 pm

    Since two of my main pastimes are reading and watching movies, going to the library saves me tons of money. I read a book or two per week and watch at least a couple of DVDs per week. I’m able to get a good portion of them free at the library. I grab the occasional CD at the library too. I easily save over a thousand bucks per year by going to the library.

    Don’t know where you live FT but many libraries have websites where you can search the catalogue and request items. If there are multiple locations, they’ll usually deliver to the location closest to you.

  • Avatar FrugalTrader January 24, 2007, 12:36 pm

    Thanks for the tip Mike, i’m going to check online now.


  • Avatar Ryan January 24, 2007, 3:29 pm

    I too use the library whenever possible and love it for the most part. My only issue I have is it always seems like the books I checkout, I am never able to extend the checkout as someone else has a hold on the item. I know I know I could resolve this by getting the book done in the 3 weeks allotted, but raising two kids does not afford me as much spare time as one would like. The only time I manage to find to read is on my commute to and from work. This is usually enough time to finish an average book but once it starts getting into the tome zone I am usually screwed :)

    One other thing…FT, where you live do you not have to pay for a library card? I know it’s a small expense, but here it’s like $15 a year.


  • Avatar Jason B January 24, 2007, 3:50 pm

    The library is such a great thing. Most things I want to read, get it from the library and read it. If I like it enough to own a copy, watch out for it at garage sales or used book stores. Only if I can’t find it will I then buy a copy.

  • Avatar Vasile January 24, 2007, 4:45 pm

    The Toronto Public Library is free for all. They also have videos, and you can get a hold (kind of online queue) on a book/DVD/video online. When it is available for you (could be even 1 year for new movies, for example), you get a phone call to pick-up the items.


  • Avatar FrugalTrader January 24, 2007, 6:31 pm

    Hey Ryan,

    I live in Newfoundland.
    Nope, no library card fees. Only fees if you are late returning the book, or if you lose the book. However, i’m not so sure that they offer DVD’s here. I didn’t see them in the online catalog that they have available.


  • Avatar Canadian Money Blog Reviewers January 25, 2007, 9:19 am

    my library tips:
    – I always reserve a lot of in demand books in advance so I get a constant stream of good books waiting for me to pickup (they notify me by phone)
    – I get all the audio books I can (on finance and other topics) and listen to them in my car instead of radio
    – don’t be late on DVDs : $$$
    – I also get magazines/newsletters (you can borrow any issue other than the current one)

  • Avatar Ryan January 25, 2007, 10:25 am

    That’s very interesting to hear that there are no fees in Ontario or Newfoundland. I wonder if this is the norm for most provinces. I am in Calgary where they like to user fee us to death and every year the amounts go up. However it does seem to me we have quite low property taxes to halp balance this. I’m not sure which way I prefer. It seems either way we all pay in the end.

  • Avatar FrugalTrader January 25, 2007, 1:59 pm

    Ryan: I’m sure that the low income taxes and no PST make up for the library fees. ;)

  • Avatar Denise January 29, 2007, 2:47 pm

    I never considered the library as “free” as I pay lots of taxes. =P That is why I believe in using it to the max, since I paid for the service with my tax dollars already in the first place! =)

    I enjoy reading your blog. Keep up your good work. =)

    I am also on a a personal journey to the million dollar mark, but am a little apprehensive in sharing. ;-) Kudos to you on your courage to share!

  • Avatar FrugalTrader January 29, 2007, 2:57 pm

    Hey Denise,

    Thanks for stopping by. Around here, the library is a registered charity. So i’m not sure if it’s run by a charity and the government helps fund it, or the other way around. Whatever it is, it’s great. :)

    The biggest reason why I keep this blog is because it keeps me accountable. Another reason is I enjoy sharing financial strategies.

    If you would like, you can email me your story and I can post it on the site. The readers here are generally helpful and perhaps we can help “optimize” your strategy.

    All the best,

  • Avatar Lori January 19, 2010, 9:28 pm

    In Manitoba, most libraries are funded by municipal (i.e., property) taxes. Residents/business owners typically get a free library card at whatever library their municipality helps fund. When you apply for a membership, you have to show proof of residency/business ownership within municipal boundaries to qualify for a free membership. Non-residents pay a non-resident fee. Late fees are common, as well as photocopying fees. Info. on the Winnipeg Public Library: http://wpl.winnipeg.ca/library/libraryservices/jointhelibrary.asp

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