Classy Frugality

Making the most of life while living on a budget

Category: Free Things

Ode to the Library

Some people have been using one of the best free resources out there.

I wasn’t one of them.

I knew that the library was awesome, and that there were a lot of great things that you could check out, but I didn’t quite believe it or utilize it.

Don’t get me wrong – I didn’t go out and buy a bunch of books or movies, but I was missing out on the cornucopia that was available to me.

When we moved to Abbotsford, we realized we were a 5 minute walk from the library, and my dear husband encouraged me to go with him one night to check it out.

I fell in love that night.

I walked into the library and realized that there were a ton of free resources available! I could rent a movie, check out a book, learn about whatever I wanted to, and not spend a single dollar. It was mind-blowing.

Let me tell you some of the perks of and the resources that the library offers:Photo 2014-09-06, 5 57 01 PM

1. It’s FREE.

I know that sounds funny, because it’s common knowledge, but seriously people – FREE. When you are getting out of debt, this should be music to your ears.

2. Expansive book collection

This is what a library is known for – but for me, this has always been something I have loved. I could spend hours in a bookstore – I love that I can find books on any topic that I can read and learn from.

3. DVD collection

Okay – seriously – you can check out movies and seasons of shows from the library. We’re not talking just old movies – I rented some great movies and shows that have been released in the past 2 years that I either wanted to see or had seen and didn’t own.

I know that a lot of people have Netflix these days – but we don’t. So when we want to watch a movie, we go to a mom-and-pop video rental place and pay $1 or $2 – which is still a good deal compared to going to the theatre. But it can’t compare with free.

(P.S. We rented Downton Abbey – what could be better? They had all three seasons – that’s hours of fun right there!)

4. Exercise DVDs

I’m working on being more healthy and exercising more, and I’ll admit that sometimes I would rather not leave my house. But, I can rent DVDs that I can work out to in the safety of my own home. I can rent new ones all the time and not get sick of a workout. (Bonus: I can turn it off if I’m done – not worrying about walking/running home or driving home from the gym!)

5. Free internet

If you don’t have internet in your house, usually, you’d go to Starbucks, right? (I would/do when I need to.) Instead, you can get an hour of free internet access at the library. Total score. (No coffee buying required!)

6. Books on tape/CD

If you commute a lot and wish you had time to read books, consider books on tape! You can listen while you drive or transit, and “read” all those books that you’ve always wanted to get around to.

7. Bonus: Fraser Valley Regional Library

If you live in the Lower Mainland, all the FVRL branches are connected, so you can check out books/movies/resources from any branch in the LM.

So if you live near a small branch (like, cough, Walnut Grove), you can reserve books from other branches and not miss out on all the great things that are out there!

The Verdict

I’m in love with the library. I want to go every week.

I know that I’m usually really frugal, but I am working on saving money wherever I can. I believe that the library can help me fill the void inside of me that wants to rent movies and get new books without spending a penny.

Now that’s a good deal.

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These are a few of my Favourite Freebies

As someone who is living on a budget, I will admit that I love free things.

Yep, from free samples to free food to free entertainment, I’m a sucker for them all. However, I’ve learned that not all free things are good. Let me give you some examples:

Free puppy: So cute at first, but in the end, not free. You’ll end up spending a ton of money even though the initial cost was “free.”

Free samples at the store: Good – unless you get hooked on the product (which are always name-brand and usually convenience products, which are more expensive).

Free cookie on the side of the road: Probably a bad idea if you don’t know the person giving them away.

Free book: Usually a good idea – it’s always nice to have books, and you can give it away when you’re done if it’s not a keeper.

In this day and age we have a ton of free things, but also a ton of things that require a purchase. You can find some awesome free resources if you do some digging (but remember, not all free things are worth it).

Here are some free things I personally use and would recommend to those living a frugal life:

1. Google call

I’m not actually sure what it’s called, but if you have a Gmail account you can make free calls to any landline in North America from your computer. This is great for calling businesses or family members who still have landlines (like my parents who like phone calls better than Skype). This can help you save some minutes (and money!) on your cell phone plan. If you don’t have a Gmail account, the good news is it’s also free to sign up for one!

2. Grooveshark

For those of you who enjoy listening to music but can’t afford to buy it, Grooveshark is great. As long as you have internet, you can listen to most music that’s out there. I’ve really been enjoying listening to the “Frozen” soundtrack lately!

3. Pinterest

Now, I know that some of you have probably used this for a while, but I just discovered this gem last year. It’s chock-full collection of recipes, ideas, blogs, and helpful tips. You can then “pin” (save) posts you like to different “boards” (digital filing cabinets) for later when you need a recipe or a craft idea.

It’s a great way to find a fun new recipe or craft idea, and they are usually pretty frugal. For those of you who aren’t on it, I would recommend you give it a try.

4. YouTube

Again, I know this has been out for a while, but my favourite thing about YouTube is that you can watch full seasons of shows for free! Some of my faves from my childhood are Sister Sister and Boy Meets World. A new fave that I would recommend is Freaks and Geeks. (It’s also completely legal since YouTube is public and monitored for copyright infringement.)

Sometimes you have to dig for a little bit, but you can find hours of free entertainment. Such a great alternative to buying boxed sets!

5. McDonald’s Coffee

Photo 2-21-2014, 5 17 16 PM

2-3 glorious times a year, McDonald’s offers free (small) coffee for a whole week. It’s true – and it starts on Monday! 

Unlike many “free” promotions, this is actually free. Of course, I know that this is a marketing technique where you change your morning routine to come in and get coffee at McDonald’s or pick up a muffin or other food with your free coffee. Does this technique work on me? NO WAY.

Fred and I go 1-2 times a day during this week, savouring the free goodness that is McDonald’s coffee, then when the promotion is over, we stop going.

A note for all of you coffee snobs, MD serves Seattle’s Best coffee, which is owned by Starbucks, so the quality is decent. Hope you get a chance to pick up a few freebies this week!

*NOTE: These promotion dates are only good in Canada – the U.S. has these free coffee promotions, but they are different weeks of the year.* 

So now it’s your turn – what are some of your favourite free things? Leave me a comment below!

Disclaimer: None of these companies or products paid or compensated me at all. I’m just sharing my favourite free things and added links for your convenience. 

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