Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Six Ways Parents Can Save on Entertainment


I came across an article today on msn.com that talks about ways to save during these economic times. I’m an avid user of the library, so I decided I should pass them along.

Try books before you buy them: Unless I'm sure a book is one that my kids will read more than once, I check it out of the library first. We visit our neighborhood library once a week or so to refresh our stock. This idea works well for parents too. Even if you get the latest best seller at Wal-mart, you’re still shelling out $20 a pop. That can add up quickly in my house. I probably save $600 a year by going to the library instead.

Check out DVDs, too: Libraries aren't all about books. The library is also stocked with movies. You can check these out for free, and, although you sometimes have to wait for titles, you can also keep them for a week. Think of what you'll save on late fees and club fees. You can request the top titles through the Clark County library website and they’ll email you when they’re ready for pickup. We pick up Signing Time videos for my son weekly. The kids section is full of great videos.

Sample music for free: My husband is especially addicted to the music section. If you’ve got tweens, this could be a gold mine. If I wanted to, I could listen to the Jonas Brothers, read about their 2008 concert tour, and even check out their appearance on the Miley Cyrus "Best of Both Worlds" DVD without spending one dime, simply by reserving copies at my local library.
Attend the free cultural events: The Clark County libraries always have puppet shows, craft nights and other family events that you would have to pay for elsewhere.

Go hog wild with audio books: Hands down, though, audio books are my favorite thing at the library. These are really expensive to buy, and the selection at many of the subscription download sites isn't stellar when it comes to kids' books. Good libraries stock these in abundance, making it easy to keep your kids occupied during road trips long and short. We always make a stop for a new book when we hit the road. I even use them for a treat for myself while I’m cleaning the house.

Don't Forget Bookstores: Amid all this talk of libraries and free stuff, you don't want to forget what's going on at your local bookstore. Many stores have children's story time. Even better, though, are the author appearances. Granted, these aren’t that involved but you don't have to pay a penny to hear an author talk about his or her book. For less than $20, you can buy a signed edition. To find out which authors are touring and where, you can check the Web sites of bookstores near you or visit sites like Booktour.com, which list both national and local tours.

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