"And my father always took me to the library. We were both book addicts." --Cornelia Funke, author
One of the best "nifty, thrifty tips" I can give is to use your local library--often! At the modern library, people can not only take out books, but also put in a pre-order for a newly released book, and borrow books-on-tape, videos, DVD's, foreign language learning programs, magazines from all over the world, software, computer games (usually meant for learning--which is another added benefit!), video games, and much more. The library houses regular worldly newspapers for reading, research books, computer databases for research, and the computers on which to conduct that research. Several libraries offer free classes from how to use your computer, digital camera, software; to how to do geneology research, knit, or scrapbook; to kids' classes on drama, building of models, and writing creative short stories; to book or historical club meetings. All of this is free. Just remember to return or renew items on time. Libraries are not just a thrifty find; they are a necessity-- especially in these trying times.