Have you ever heard of Freecycle? My sister-in-law told me about it some years ago and it has provided quite a few household items for me. Freecycle’s mission is to keep perfectly good items out of the landfills. There are hundreds of Freecycle communities across the US and you can join as many as your want. How it works, is if you have something to get rid of, you post it as an “offer”. Other people do the same thing and if there is something of interest there, you respond back to the offer and tell them that you would be interested in picking up the item. Freecycle is also a great outlet if you are looking to find something used for free. Three years ago, I became interested in pressure canning. I didn’t have a pressure canner and when I looked online for prices, I found out that they were quite expensive and that I would have to do a LOT of canning to even justify purchasing a new canner. I went to Freecycle and posted a “Wanted” ad, and asked if there was anyone out there that might be looking to get rid of their pressure canner. Within a day, I had an older lady willing to give me her canner since she was done with it. She was even so nice as to drop it off at my husbands shop on the way to work. Sure, the canner was 40+ years old, but it still work just fine and I have canned MANY, MANY jars of food these past 3 years and saved lots of money. On a side note, you can take pressure canners to your local cooperative extension office and they usually can test them for free to make sure that the guage is still accurate and that the seal is good. My husband and I also found it a great way to get rid of the items that we just don’t want but didn’t know what to do with. It’s just one more way to bless others with items that they them selves might have not been able to purchase.
When my husband and I were first married 7 years ago, we didn’t have the luxury of DSL or cable internet, we just had dial-up. And along with dial-up came the lack of ability to find sales and deals on just about anything through the internet. But when we finally upgraded to DSL, I discovered a whole new world of sales and bargains and ways to live even better on a small income. Now, you are probably wondering how we managed to get a good sale on DSL. Honestly, we don’t pay for it…it was a Christmas gift from my brother that he renews every year for us. So, I don’t know how much DSL costs. I would presume Verizon and other major carriers probably have sales on purchasing DSL, but that is out of my realm currently. Back to internet sales, the internet opens up a new world of buying things at lower prices but it also can cause your to spend MORE. When there is something that I want to purchase, first I find out what the normal retail price is selling for. Then I search some of the more popular web sites to see if they carrier what I’m looking for. After I have a general idea of who carries what and for how much, I start looking for coupons. I love using Google.com for this service. For example, if I’m looking for a homeschool book from Great Christian Books, I would search Google for, “CBD coupon code”. This time of year you may find money off coupons like “10% off your purchase of $35 or more” plus you might also get free shipping on your entire order. But generally, CBD’s prices are already really low so you can’t get much of a further discount other than maybe free shipping. Two weeks ago, I received an email from JC Penneys saying they would give me free shipping on any size order. The thought of being able to purchase what I needed for gifts without leaving home and wasting gas was very appealing so I decided to check out some of their sales. I went straight for their “Clearance” section and found a nice St John’s Bay sweater for $7.99 which normally retails for $29.99. I really liked the sweater but thought I would check for a money off coupon on Google. I found a further coupon on Google for $10 off $50. Now that sounds like a good deal IF I need to spend $50 but if I spend an extra $40 to save $10, that’s not a good deal. I browsed some more sales and found some curtains that I liked and have been looking for for $16.99, retail $79.99 each. These were the long window scarves which have about 3-5 yards of fabrice to them. When I do the math, that works out to be approx $5.50 a yard for high quality fabric. I can’t beat the price at any fabric store, so I purchased 3 scarves figuring if I didn’t like them, I could always use the fabric to make curtains I like. So when it was all said and done, I ended up getting the sweater to the tune of $6.00 and free shipping. I rarely ever pay full price for something. Almost always, someone will have a sale and you can get what you are looking for cheaper. It pays to do the research.
I went shopping a week after Thanksgiving and was pleasantly surprised at all the very good sales. All summer, I had had my eye on a large square roasting pan, but they were out of my price range for a basic pan ($20-$50). Stores purchase a surplus of these pans for the holidays, primarily for Thanksgiving. Bed, Bath and Beyond had a very large surplus AFTER Thanksgiving and had marked them down to $19.99. They also had a limited time rebate of $10.00 bring the cost down to $9.99. I also had a $5.00 off coupon for Bed, Bath and Beyond which brought down the price to $4.99 + tax. I was very pleased with the deal and LOVE my pan.