Can you get everything you need for free?

January 24th, 2013 - Posted by in Blog, Saving Money

Here at Happier, we’re about being savvy and saving, right? Well, what if you could get everything you need for free?

You can.

Cat Fletcher of Newhaven, East Sussex does. She furnished her entire home strictly from free items found all over the place, getting what she needs and keeping still-usable items out of landfills.

While Cat digs through skips and everywhere else, you don’t have to go to that extreme…unless you want to. She’s found perfectly good construction supplies, double pane glass windows and more filing through others’ rubbish.

But in case skip diving isn’t for you, there are many alternatives out there.

Let’s take a look at some of them and how you can score first rate items and lowest rate prices – free!

Where to look

There are four very popular sites that will connect those that want to give their stuff away with those that need it:

The sites all have the same basic setup:

  1. You join.
  2. You post what you want to give away (or what you’re looking for).
  3. The one making the offer decides who to award the item.
  4. An agreement is made for the receiver to pick up the item.
  5. Some sites do request that a post is made to let others know the item has been taken.

That’s it.

What you’ll get

We found bikes, lampshades, desks, mattress bases, and even printer ink on the various websites. You can find everything from lamps to stoves on these sites. And you can potentially furnish your house like Cat did, also saving you an estimated £20,000.

You don’t have to wait for offers to be made. On all sites, you can post a request, too.

Need a new couch? Search all four sites. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, post a “Wanted” message and wait to see if anyone offers what you’re looking for.

Tips for Making “Free” Chic

Hobo Chic is an elegant mis-match style. Adopt a flair that says chic, but not cheap and you’ll make the most of your “new” finds without looking off.

And just because it’s free doesn’t mean you have to keep it. If someone posts that desk you need, then make sure it isn’t burned through with cigarettes or covered in kids’ graffiti art. If it is, graciously accept it, then either mend it or repost it for someone else and continue your search.

Make sure you get a clear description of the piece ahead of time to avoid any possible surprises. The poster will usually send you pics of the item you’re interested in if you request them. And if they won’t – receiver beware.

Tips for Freecycle Sites’ Usability

You don’t want your inbox inundated with messages of new postings. Set up an email address specifically for your freecycle shopping before you sign up for your accounts.

You don’t have to scour the sites everyday nor do you have to fish through your emails with every posting – set up for the daily digest emails and scan them when you can.

But don’t get carried away. Know what you want and need before reading your daily digest or perusing the websites.

It’s easy to get excited when you’re getting stuff for free, but be careful that you don’t go overboard and start collecting items simply because it’s offered and it looks like a good deal.

Clutter will ruin your Hobo Chic look.

Safety First

The major (and trustworthy) freecycle sites keep your information private and allow users to contact you through their site and not via your personal details. So if you begin to get personal emails, it’s because they got your address from you.

So be sure that you maintain that healthy perspective that the sites encourage.

Be Yourself When Posting

Be sure to observe good social skills when you contact a person regarding their offer.

  • Don’t be rude.
  • Don’t request the user’s personal information.
  • Politely ask for images if you’re unsure if the piece is right for your needs.

You wouldn’t be rude in person – don’t be rude online. The more real you are, the more likely you are to be awarded the offer.

Getting everything you need for your home is easy in this day of grassroots movements that are making an effort to save space in the landfills. And with a little savvy, you can get everything you need for free with a little patience and kindness.

What other places do you know of that you can get everything you need for free?

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