Simple Living/Downshifting

The Public Library

Many of us can remember countless hours spent at the library in our youth. Whether we had a homework assignment, a bedtime story, or our parents made us go – we went. Of course not all of us engaged in this endeavor, regardless, this entry is for everyone– those that went and those that did not. For all of us, including those want to save some extra money on their quest towards voluntary simplicity you can benefit from the use of this resource.


Perhaps throw in some impulse purchases to this total (such as some buttery movie theater popcorn and large cup of coke to flush down). Now take that number and multiply it by 12. Factor in how much money you spend on gas in the process and add this to the number you previously got.

This is how much money you spend every year on something you could get for free! Before I continue, I am not suggesting that you never buy yourself a book, see a movie at the theaters, or purchase the next Halo 3…this is all entirely up to you. However, if you wish to save some extra money then this may be a good route for you.

At the library you can check out nearly any book, DVD, CD, or cassette. If it is not there you can place a hold on this item; you can place as many holds as you would like. For example, about a month ago I dropped by my neighboring library and requested certain items. Some such items were already there, the rest I put on hold- I have been enjoying the items I requested and have not had to pay a penny. For instance, I got the entire eighth season of the Simpsons for free. I would have had to pay separately for each disc at any video store. Also, as silly as it may sound, the simple act of waiting a little bit to watch that movie you’ve heard so much about or that book you’ve been dying to read makes it all the more worthwhile.

How much do you pay a month for internet? Multiply that by 12. You can use the internet at the library! If you are the type of person who does not want to pay for internet services, why not use the public library? Many libraries have free wi-fi, so all you would need to do is bring your laptop with you. Also, if you do not have a laptop you can use one of their computers for up to an hour a day.

But what about the joys of owning!?!?

You can enjoy a movie or book just as much if you borrow it then own it. Also, if you do decide to get rid of it you won’t have much luck trying to sell it back to a book or video store. Take for example a friend of mine – he had recently purchased the latest version of Harry Potter- collector’s edition, it looked like it had not even been read. He was moving and decided to try to sell it back to make some money for the move. He was offered about two dollars for a book that had cost him near thirty. The outrage! He went to three separate bookstores hoping the first place was just trying to scam him out of his money. No go- same deal. He eventually kept the book hoping he could sell it on However, he eventually got busy with other things and right now the book just sits on his bookshelf taking up room. One could argue that perhaps it was just Harry Potter that was difficult to sell back, but he told me how he had actually come with a box of books and had encountered the same problem. Now try selling some of those movies you have back to video stores. You lose more time trying to sell this stuff that the money made is not worth the effort.

My advice: donate those books, DVDs, and CDs you no longer want to your neighborhood library and let us all enjoy this free resource.


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