From the Beacon: Library full of tips during tight times

A lot of Beaufort County residents have been walking through the doors of our five library branches for years, long before the current economic downturn. But now some are coming in more often, and some are coming for the first time.

The library offers computer and Internet access making it a convenient place to search for job openings and print resumes. There are popular novels and movies that go for steep purchase or rental prices elsewhere. But customers should remember the library also is home to materials that will teach them how to make the most of their hard-earned cash. The next time you walk into a public library, there are a few hot spots you might want to keep in mind.

"Living Well in a Down Economy for Dummies," by Tracy L. Barr: Call number 332.024, the personal finance and budgeting section, is a favorite. Just about everyone can find some great advice in this section, regardless of their bank balance or employment status.

"Living Well" gives advice on everything from learning how breathe properly in stressful situations, to giving yourself a massage (obviously free), to avoiding bankruptcy. It also gives tips on how to cope with changing your profession in a rocky time. Author Tracy L. Barr reminds readers they don't necessarily need to go without all their usual comforts during a recession. She directs them to change the way they do things, ensuring that there's still some icing left on the cake.

"Free Money, Free Stuff," edited by Reader's Digest: The personal finance and budgeting area also boasts "Free Money, Free Stuff," a Reader's Digest guide that has "more than 1,000 ways to save thousands of dollars."

Did you know you can save 10 cents a piece on disinfectant wipes by making your own? (Soak paper towels in some Lysol cleaner, the book directs.) Latte lovers, did you know if you make that daily cup of fancy joe at home, you could save somewhere around $1,000 a year? And there are some coupons, including those from Bed Bath & Beyond, that never truly expire, despite the dates printed on them, the book instructs.

"Thrift Score," by Al Hoff: Another good section to check out before checking out is around 381, the merchandising section. If you're looking to sell old stuff for the sake of bringing in some extra dough, this area will help you learn how to master buying, selling and saving on the Internet.

This also is where you can pick up Hoff's "Thrift Score," (381.19) a guide to shopping in secondhand stores. Hoff writes that if you're willing to let go of some conventions, a thrift store might be the place to pick up your next set of dishes. The only thing standing between you and a matching set, he says, is your imagination. A set of uniform dishes, he says, are boring. He suggests picking one color dish to collect, or making a set of dishes around the theme of various sports teams. Items that "have a similar look, motif or theme are cool, clever and a great excuse to go thrifting," Hoff says.