Saturday, July 11, 2009

When the living is free and easy;-)

My last post about Freegans had me looking around the house with new ideas. I realize MANY of our items were gotten this way, helping both our goal of FI and the environment.

One idea that Amy Dacyczyn proposes in the Tightwad Gazzette (one of the greatest books on frugal living ever written)is to "put the word out" for things you could use. Often a relative, friend or neighbor will have just such a thing sitting around and be more than happy to re home the item.

A good friend of mine has a son just one year older than my older son and just this last year, gave us the Land's End boots and Land's End coat her son had outgrown. New, these two items would have been about $100. The coat, still available in their catalogue is $69.50. The boots, also still available, are $29.50. These items were used by Kirk this year, and will be stored to be used by younger brother Kai in two years time. Land's End makes excellent quality clothing that will hold up and not go out of style.

A neighbor across the street was digging up a flagstone path to put in a sidewalk and offered it to me as I'd often given them perennials for their garden. I was thrilled and was able to use my wheelbarrow to bring home enough flagstone to border a forty foot garden.

Our two family room recliners and a lovely large wicker chest come from my mom as she decided to get new furniture. And a wonderful, large cedar arbor was free from Craigslist. Actually it was posted at $20, but since several of the earlier responders never showed up, the owner told me he was just glad I'd come and gave it to me.

I also posted a sign at my local grocery store that I was interested in buying perennials. Many times, people called to say I could have something they had too much of, whether it was ferns, hosta, or orange daylilies, if I'd just come and dig them up. In two cases, the owner was digging up an area to put it to new use and just glad someone was willing to get out there and dig out everything. Many a hot, sweaty hour was spent at this, but I now have over thirty large perennial gardens spread out over an acre all around our house, each with a special story.

Needless to say, there needs to be reciprocity or you're just free loading. I've given away many things from books to videos to clothing to purses to furniture to friends and family. And just in the past year, I used Freecycle to re home a big purple martin birdhouse, a crib mattress, a crib, a fish tank and about 100 kids books along with numerous boxes of items to various charities. I also regularly put out things we no longer need at the end of the drive with a huge FREE sign.

I rarely throw anything away now if I think someone could use it. If you post both on Freecycle and the free section of Craigslist, there are few things that at least one person out there doesn't want.

So next time you need an item, just remember to "put the word out". Lastly, it always pays to be gracious and mail or email a thank you to someone who offers you something.

May free and easy living be yours all your days;-).

The Frugal Millionairess

Knowledge + Action = Financial Independence

Now You!!

Think of three things you were considering buying and post for them on Freecycle or Craigslist. You have nothing to lose and could save money and help the environment. Then look around your house, basement, garage, yard or storage shed for some things you no longer need. Post these as offers on Freecycle or just put them out in your drive with a free sign. This giving and receiving helps keep the universal yin and yang balanced. And, you may also finally meet your neighbors;-).

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