Avoid Library Fines

Simple Trick to Eliminate Library Fines

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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.

Trick to Avoid Library Fines

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


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  1. I totally rely on the library reminder emails. With 4 bookworms in the house, we go through a lot of books. Stopping by from SITS Blogging and hope you join us at Pretty Pintastic Party open now and Small Victories Sunday Linkup open tonight at 8pm EST.

    1. I hear you. When I go into a library, it’s like free shopping and I tend to go a little crazy. Those reminder Emails are my lifesaver.

  2. I’ve been doing this! I love that I can renew my materials online now. It’s the bessst! However, sometimes I still forget to renew. That’s how scatterbrained I am! But I feel okay about it because I know my fines are going to help out the local libraries. 😀

    1. That’s a good way to look at it. I do love the online renewal option now. In my day, you’d have to actually bring the books into the library to renew them.

  3. I needed this! Didn’t know about the library app, need to do that ASAP.
    I thought I was the queen of late fees! But you just might have me beat!
    Found you on Inspire Me Mondays.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, I’m glad this helped you. I’m also glad I know it myself because I just ordered FOUR Celtic Woman CD’s from the library and I know I’ll never get them back on time!

  4. Adrian, have you tried downloading ebooks/audio books from your library’s website? I’m betting they use Overdrive and you can put the app right on your phone, tablet, or PC. If you don’t want to listen on your phone you can transfer from your PC to an MP3 player. They return themselves! And if they are on your MP3 player, you can continue to listen to finish up after the due date.

    1. Yes, I have tried that once or twice, although it was years ago when that was still fairly new technology and I just got frustrated with it. I would select the wrong format, or I would run out of space, or whatever. I should probably give that another try. I do a lot of driving and a lot of data entry and other boring stuff at work, so I like to have something like an audio book to keep my attention from wandering. Thanks for the tip.

  5. I owe library fines for the very reason you stated. I’m just so BUSY that I forget! I did set up an account with the library after the fines got charged, so it won’t be happening again. I can even renew from my computer now! #sitsblogging

    1. I tried to leave you a comment, but your comment form wouldn’t come up. Congratulations on the progress you are making with your son. Very encouraging signs.

  6. I just started getting those e-mails and it’s such a huge help. I also do the app on my phone & it’s been a life saver too! Having little kids check out books that sometimes go missing it’s a huge help to hop on my phone and renew until they are found! 🙂

    1. Boy do I remember those days! I’ve found library books under beds, behind dressers, and smushed down into the couch. My son’s Scout handbook was lost under his hamper for about 3 weeks! Thanks for stopping by.

  7. This is helpful Adrian! My library sends out the “item due” notice at 7pm on the day that the books are due….the library closes at 7 so they are usually turned in late.

    One thing I try to do it go to the library on the same day of the week and then write on the wall calendar (I know, totally old school) which date books are due.

    1. That’s awesome! Old school is better than no school. I think I would talk to the library about the timing – that’s kind of useless. But in the meantime, if you have an app like I do or if you can renew on the computer, I’d go ahead and renew them at 7:00 and then take ’em back the next day. See, ya just gotta be smarter than the dog!

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