The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Library Edition

A library with an efficient website completely changes how you use the library.

Here’s what I mean. Let’s say I’m visiting one of my favorite book blogs and I read about a book that seems intriguing. Rather than buying it immediately, I can follow a nice two-step process to allow me to read it first. First, I hit PaperBackSwap just to see if a copy is floating around there. If not, I hit the website of my local library and put the book on reserve (often, I’m #4 or so in a queue for anything new or popular). When it becomes available, I get an email saying “Stop by the reserve desk and pick up the book!” and boom – I have the book in my hands.

So, yes, on occasion, I do still buy books, mostly ones I know I’ll read and re-read and won’t be available on PaperBackSwap for a long time. But such services allow me to read to my heart’s content without dumping big cash into books any more.

The Benefits of Working from Home This makes a great case for the benefits of working from home for both employers and employees. The only catch is that it requires a very self-directed employee to really work well. (@ workawesome)

The 50-Percent Solution One sentence here really intrigued me: “I picked up the habit of buying multiples of something I like when I was younger.” I picked up a similar habit, actually. I think it was mostly observing that running out of something important can really cause problems, but there are better solutions than “just buy two.” (@ get rich slowly)

America’s Top Stores “Four chains earned outstanding scores for merchandise quality: Costco (watches and jewelry, personal-care items, hardware, home décor, kitchenware, electronic entertainment such as music and DVDs, and sporting goods and toys), Dillard’s (men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing; personal-care items; home décor; and kitchenware), Macy’s (home décor and personal-care items), and Sears (hardware).” That’s an interesting mix. I had some disastrous experiences at Sears about five years ago. (@ consumer reports via consumerist)

Finding Self Employed Health Insurance This is something I’ve looked into over the last several months as my wife and I make decisions about what’s best for our three kids, particularly during their pre-school years. (@ frugal dad)

Eating Yourself Into Debt It’s easy to vastly overspend on food and food-related expenses. It’s not just overconsumption that’s the culprit, either. (@ man vs. debt)