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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

More For Less: Freecycle

I am excited to begin this new series. Saving money and living simply is not just a goal, it's a way of life that is surprisingly easy to achieve.

And before you think you have to sacrifice the nicer things in life, think again. I am married to a man who lives for the newest toy or gadget. And I myself have certain standards too. I don't buy cheap. I buy smart.

It will cost me more in the long run to buy a cheap sofa and replace it every five years than it would be to buy a high end sofa that may never need replacing--barring chewing puppies or barfing babies.

I don't like to suffer, and God knows Greg doesn't. LOL! So take any advice I give with that in mind. I won't suggest anything that is sacrificial in any way.

For today's premiere post, I want you to check out Freecycle. Freecycle Network is a series of Yahoo groups all across the WORLD that cater to their individual communities.

Freecycle began in 2003 in Tucson, Arizona and has grown to 85 countries around the world. Their mission statement reads: "Our mission is to build a worldwide gifting movement that reduces waste, saves precious resources & eases the burden on our landfills while enabling our members to benefit from the strength of a larger community."

I discovered them fairly recently. Since I live within driving distance of several communities, I signed up for all of them.

Basically, it works like this. You can list an OFFER, a WANT, or post that your item has been TAKEN. You can not buy or sell on this list. Everything must be given for FREE.

Some groups will not allow you to offer pets, some do. Most will not let you join unless you live within the serving community.

I have not used the service yet. I'm still watching on the sidelines. But I have made some interesting observations.

The "poorest" community in my network seems to have more OFFERS on a daily basis, while the area that is on the hoity-toity side (in terms of higher income) has more people posting a WANT. I'm not sure what that means in the larger context, but I thought it was an interesting twist.

What I like about the concept of Freecycle is that you can give away what you no longer need and know that it is going to someone who could really use it. On the flip side, you could find something you really needed, but was too costly to buy new. Granted, you might not know what quality the item is in until you see it, but you could also run across a gem too. Much like garage saling or thrift shopping, it's the thrill of the hunt.

This week I've seen everything offered from pianos to baby items. Every community is different and you'll never know what you'll see next.

Get a feel for your community first. Sit on the sidelines and check out the listings for a few weeks. It costs nothing to look.

And if you are active on a Freecycle community, shoot me an email (or post a comment) and let me know what your experience was.

Until next time...see you in the Clearance Aisle.


If you'd like to read about more cost saving tips, be sure to check out Marianne Arkins blog. She also hosts a weekly series called Tightwad Tips. Tell her I said, hi!


Angela James said...

I love Freecycle. I've belonged for several years and both given and received many thing. I love being able to go through my house and offer things, rather than hauling them to Goodwill.

Our Freecycle is kind of...strict about how posts work. We call them the Freecycle Nazis. Some of the rules defeat the purpose. But the spirit of it works out so well. It's an amazing resource!

Maria Zannini said...

That's great to hear! I'm so glad it's been a good experience.

I'm looking forward to using it.

J.K. Coi said...

We have something similar here in Ontario, and I've belonged for a year or so. It's great.

I also like to "purge" the closets twice a year (once before spring and once before fall) and I give a lot of clothes to the salvation army instead of throwing things away.

Maria Zannini said...

I wish I could be that good to purge twice a year. It took a major move to force me to clean out closets. But it's a liberating feeling when you get it behind you.

Heather B. Moore said...

Wow. That sounds awesome. I'll have to check it out.

Marianne Arkins said...

I like the idea of Freecycle, but have to admit to never having used it!

Thanks for the call out.

And, I'm finally starting to get back bloghopping... I've missed everyone. Stupid Google Reader.

Carol Burge said...

Hey, Maria! Long time, no see (totally my fault). :)

I've belonged to Freecycle for years, and I LOVE it! Spring cleaning around my house puts this to good use. The list moms for my group are sort of nit picky, but I guess they have to be.

I think you'll really like Freecycle, Maria.

Maria Zannini said...

Hi Carol!

From what I hear, the moderators really rule the roost on most sites. I'm looking forward to trying Freecycle out though. We should be thawing out in this part of the country very soon, the perfect time to spring clean.

Thanks for stopping by!