Financial Tips for New Parents - #1 Check Out Local Libraries

A few years ago, it seemed like everyone I knew started having babies. I took the opportunity to ask my close friends and family members for their best financial tips for new parents in the hopes that I could learn from their experience and share their collective wisdom with future clients. Since I became a mom myself late last year, I decided to review the list again and see which ones I found the most helpful. The result will be shared here in a series of posts this year that will hopefully be useful to you or someone you know (the tips are not listed in any particular order). 

My sister half-jokingly said that three groups of people use the library these days: students, retired folks, and moms. I found that to be so true. Upon several recommendations from moms to use the library as a resource, I went to my local library for the first time to get a library card right before the baby was born (the last time I used a library card was in 1999). Much has changed since then. I can actually log in online and request books and DVDs from any library in the county system and then pick them up at the local library when they're ready. It is so convenient, and FREE. 

There are a lot of baby and toddler friendly events going on at the library from story time to music time. It's a great way for your child to be in a learning environment at a young age without spending any money. You can also borrow children's books instead of buying them. If you see that he or she is really drawn to a particular book or two, then you can buy it knowing that they'll keep using it. In addition, I discovered that I can use the library to save money for the adults too! My husband and I don't read a lot, but we enjoy watching movies from time to time. Since we got rid of cable a few months ago (which saves over $1,000 a year), we would use Redbox to rent movies. However, after the baby, we quickly realized that we can't always predict which nights we'll have the time or energy to actually get through a movie. That's when I started using the library to rent movies - every movie I've searched for so far has been available and we have two weeks to watch them instead of only one night. They also have video games that we can borrow, which my husband is very happy about. I am completely sold on how awesome the library is.