Gift of savings from digital library services

Do you keep a household budget? I do and I see my actuals creeping up. My family has been frugal but the current economic environment tests the definition of frugality for us. Probably many are in a similar boat so hang in there as this can't continue forever!

Although this is not a financial advice column, the digital world has been helping me save money, both literally and figuratively. Latter because "time is money" where efficiency or convenience brought forth by the services in the cloud, aka internet, gives me more time for the important things in life.

My readers know how much I appreciate the digital library services that our Westlake Porter Public Library and Bay Village branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library provide. For this article, I thought why not tabulate how much I'm saving each year by using those services.

First, I inventoried the apps and browser shortcuts I use regularly on my smartphone. I then googled the first year (discounted) subscription rates I'd pay if I wasn't using what libraries offered. Keep in mind too that in the second and subsequent years, rates may go up. Finally, your savings will vary as not everyone has the same favorites as me. The goal is to put a dollar figure, however subjective, to show the value libraries offer in the digital world.

I'm what many may call "old school" as I prefer reading the digital editions of New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and The Plain Dealer rather than the Yahoo News or other popular news aggregation websites. My googling shows that without the digital library services, I'd be paying at least $421 for the annual digital edition subscriptions to these four publications.

Quantifying money saved by streaming movies and TV shows through Hoopla and Kanopy services offered through the libraries is a little challenging. Why? Although there may be some overlap, the library of movies and TV shows that Hoopla and Kanopy carry are likely different from what paid services such as Netflix and Prime Video offer. So for simplicity, I'll just take the current "basic" tier of Netflix subscription which will be about $120 when annualized as my savings in this category. My piggy bank is getting fat fast as I'm up to $541.

Although I can't turn a wrench, I'm a gearhead and I love cars! I enjoy reading car magazines from across the pond, down under, and those published stateside. I also love reading magazines and newspapers in Japanese. The PressReader service through the libraries gives me access to many magazines and newspapers from around the world including the USA. This is also where I raise the white flag as tabulating the savings from using the PressReader service is bottomless.

In the current challenging economic environment or during good times, digital library services do save money for their patrons so check them out if you haven't already!

Tak Sato

Strategist and technologist with over 30 years of experience in the private sector. Holds Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Science and Executive MBA from Cleveland State University.

As Founder of the Center for Aging in the Digital World, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit empowering seniors with digital literacy, Tak connects the dots to help people utilize appropriate technology in their personal and professional lives while using digital literacy as a tool for seniors to avoid loneliness and social isolation. Please visit EmpowerSeniors.Org for more information!

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Volume 14, Issue 22, Posted 10:07 AM, 11.15.2022