Last year, my son ran up more than $78 in library fines and fees. That’s some serious money for something that is theoretically free. Fortunately, they agreed to let him pay his library fines online and we were able to negotiate a reduction since it was a first-time occurrence. Keep in mind, this wasn’t an elementary school kid – he was about 25 at the time! So he should’ve known better.
Libraries are wonderful places – I could live in a library! They not only have a lifetime full of great books, but they also have audio books, CD’s, DVD’s, all the stuff you really WANT. And that was the problem with my son. He checked out a whole stack of his favorite CD’s and then being ADD, he totally forgot about it.
I struggled with library fines too. I have a problem with impulse shopping, particularly at discount stores. Well, a library is the ultimate discount store because everything is FREE. So I grab a big ol’ stack of books thinking I’m going to be able to read them and get them back before the library fines kick in. 90% of the time – NOPE!
I’m a super busy girl (Adrian’s CRAZY Life wasn’t chosen by accident), so if I’m not careful, I can rack up a ton of library fines for all these books and CD’s. I used to have regular $10-$15 library fees – yikes! I try to be really smart with my money so I realized that was just being careless and wasteful.
Smart Strategy to Eliminate those Pesky Library Fines
So I’ve come up with a clever way to minimize these fees. I just put my technology skills to use. These days, most libraries will send you a reminder Email about 3 days before your items are due. I’ve set up that Email so it comes in on a priority basis in my overstuffed inbox – check out my post on how to organize your overflowing inbox.
I’ve also got the library app right on my phone, preloaded with my login info. So, the second I get that Email, I pop right over there and renew EVERYTHING for another 3 weeks. It won’t always let you if someone else has requested it, but I can usually renew about 95% of my stuff. That buys me another 3 weeks to get those books sorted out.
I know I’m not going to keep most of the books for another three weeks (except for the ones I’m actually reading!), but what that does is it gives me a little cushion to get over to the library and return them before the library fines and fees start to kick in. But if it takes me 4-5 days to get over to the library, I’ve skipped the fines for those extra days. I figure this little tip saves me about $30-$40 a year in unnecessary library fines.
I’m all about using my technology to keep me out of trouble. Many doctors and dentists and even hair dressers charge huge NO SHOW fees if you miss an appointment. Again, wasted money that I don’t want to pay. But I am garbage of keeping track of those little reminder cards they give me. So I put it right in my phone while I’m standing there at the counter. And when they send those reminder texts or calls the day before – I double-check to make SURE I have it in my calendar with at least a one hour reminder.
Hope this helps you!
Here’s some other posts you might enjoy:
10 Secrets of Women Who Always Have Money
How to Make Money from Your Excessive Clutter
6 Kinds of Toxic Money Behaviors