$ A few years ago, I started using a computer filing system for my genealogical materials. I no longer purchase filing supplies, and I mail large quantities of research on DVD, which is a lot cheaper than paper copies. When another researcher has something to share with me, I ask for it as an e-mail attachment to save paper and postage. I also print online research results to a PDF rather than making a paper copy.
On eBay, you can usually find out-of print books such as [Ancestry’s] The Source for cheap (I think I paid $7 with the dust jacket). Library book sales are also a good place to find used books.
$ Instead of traveling to a distant repository, you often can submit a research request for a fee (usually nonrefundable) that covers a set amount of time (such as $25 for an hour of research). Follow the repository’s request instructions and be as thorough as you can so you’ll get the most possible for the fee. First, use the online catalog to confirm the library has the record you need, and note the call number or film number in your request.
Get the most value for your money when requesting records. Some libraries or organizations will look up and copy records with an upper limit on the number of pages or lookups. So if a library copies up to five obituaries for $10, don’t request only one—try to cover all possible bases so you don’t end up paying again later for something you could’ve included in your initial request.
$ I’ve been concentrating on reorganizing and weeding out my papers from decades of research. When this is completed, I’ll have better idea of what research is needed, what facts need to be checked and where to go from here, and I’ll be able to spend my genealogy budget as wisely as I can.
$ My genealogy friends and I share the books, magazines and CDs in our own collections. I check county Web sites [via USGenWeb] for the areas where my research is focused, in case folks will do free lookups in their own books or in a nearby library.