Free is Better than Frugal!
Obviously, when you’re trying to save money, everything you get free will save the most. The problem is finding things of value, or things that you need, free of charge. Most frugal moms are aware of some places here and that offer freebies, but few know just how many opportunities there are to get something for nothing.
Before you begin your search for free things, consider some of the types of items you can find. For instance:
• Computer software
• Samples of products
• New products
• Restaurant meals
• Books and magazines
• Even cars!
Now, the fun begins to locate all these fabulous free things. Here are some places to begin your search:
• Friends and Family
The first place to look for free things is the people you know. Make friends and family aware of any needs you may have and ask them to keep you in mind if they plan to get rid of something. You may come across a gold-mine through this freebie avenue alone.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of free things available online. And while many of them are printables, you will also find a ton of free – and almost free – physical items. Examples include books, CDs, coloring books, crafts, full-size samples, posters and more. Google “freebies” or “free stuff” to see what you can find.
• Government Websites
Most everyone will agree that the government wastes a lot of money on a lot of useless things. But they do produce some items of value as well. You can get a variety of books and pamphlets, posters, coloring and activity books, and more from the Government’s printing office absolutely free of charge. Google “free government publications” for a list of what’s available.
• Public Domain Ebooks
If you’re familiar with the copyright law, you know that after a certain number of years, typically 50, copyright on a document – unless it’s renewed – will go into what is known as public domain. This means that the document is then free for the public to use in any way they desire, including printing for personal use or even selling for profit. There are untold thousands of documents currently available in the public domain with more becoming available each year. Google “free public domain documents” to find enough reading material to last a life time.
Hundreds of restaurants, coffee shops, ice cream vendors and more offer free email birthday clubs for their customers. Just sign up online and they’ll send you a coupon for a freebie on your birthday. These can range from a free appetizer to dessert, or even a full entree at some establishments. Google “free birthday club” to find the ones you like.
• The Library
Every frugal mom is aware of the value of her local library, but did you know just how much the library has to offer? Besides books, videos and DVDS, you can find CDs, audio books, maps, free classes, story hours, craft sessions, genealogy assistance, and more. Ask your favorite librarian what you may have been missing.
• Yard Sales
Did you think yard sales were only for buying stuff? Well, think again! You can often find a box of items free for the taking at garage sales and yard sales. Usually, the owner just throws some stuff in a box thinking no one would want or use it. But take the time to rummage through any “free” boxes you find. You might be surprised what lies hidden inside.
Freecycle is modern society’s solution to leaving unwanted items on the curb. If you’re unaware, Freecycle.org is a directory of localized email groups that provide a venue for finding or disposing of unwanted merchandise. The adage “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” is the premise behind Freecycle which allows you to offer items you no longer want to someone who would use them, while also finding things you need that another is getting rid of.
Freecycle can link you up with free books, TVs, furniture, camping equipment, gardening supplies and canning, tools, toys, and much more. You name it and you might be able to find it on Freecycle. Visit their website and join the group nearest you. Be sure to follow the rules for posting and take part. You may never want to go shopping again!
There are organizations that donate cars to people in need, and if you qualify, you could drive away in a decent vehicle. Check your phone book for social service agencies that donate vehicles. Or Google “free donated car” to see if there is one in your area.
Be forewarned that freebie searching can become a frenzy. You may want to limit the time and effort you put into your search, just so you don’t run out of room or places to put things!