Sunday, January 9, 2011

Savers Tip: Freecycle

I have lots of expensive habits. However I have found ways to indulge in them for little to no money. Possibly the most striking example of this is my cookbook collection. I read cookbooks like novels. I pore over the pages, look at the photos and even make some of the items. But high quality cookbooks, with photos, are very expensive. Unless of course you get them for free.

Some time ago I heard about a group called freecycle. The group was composed of people trying to bring down consumer spending and keeping good usable items out of the landfill. The concept is simple. Local groups have message boards where people post unwanted items and others claim those items and arrange a pick up. It appealed to me because I hate throwing out something I know someone else can use. However, once I logged on I found that there were lots of things on there I could use. Such as cookbooks.

What have I gotten from freecycle? Quite a few novels and nonfiction books and a treasure trove of cookbooks: Great American Cookbook, The Complete Cookie, The First American Cookbook: A Facsimile of "American Cookery," 1796 and several others. I have also gotten some crafting supplies.

What have I given? I painted my apartment some time ago and had leftover supplies and paint. I had zero use for them but was loathe to throw them out. A lovely woman from Brooklyn wanted to paint her house but couldn't afford the paint right now. She gladly picked up the supplies and told me how she used them to paint her living room and child's room.

There are some basic common sense rules to follow. Always arrange pick ups at a public place. In my neighborhood that means pick up from the doorman or at a Starbucks. If something seems off, do not meet that person, even in a public space. Never give out your home phone number or address. Always ask about the condition of an item and if you want something move quickly, stuff goes fast!

For more information check out the freecycle website.


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