Sure, sales flyers are useful and can contain deals, but when shopping at the big retailers, our dollars go to who-knows-where, in support of mass-production, and waste. What are the alternatives?
Find it free
Freecycle is a website with local groups that offer things- almost anything- for free. Subscribing to one of these groups or checking their website periodically can help you score everything from clothes to appliances for just the cost of driving to pick it up. The benefits of Freecycle are many:
- Items are sourced locally, so transporting them a shorter distance saves gas. Items at retailers have often been shipped from overseas.
- Items are FREE, obviously saving money.
- Items are saved from landfills by finding a new home for a still-useful object.
- Freecycle encourages sharing and decluttering, simplifying our homes and connecting us to the community
I've had good luck getting stuff off Freecycle- not necessarily stuff I'm looking for Right Now, but instead things I have an ongoing need for. I have a feeling this will be true when we have kids too- kids clothing & toys & supplies are some of the most common Offers on Freecycle.
Find it local
Freecycle is always free and local, but is often the luck of the draw as to whether the thing you need is available when you need it. The next-best option, in my book, is Craigslist. Like Freecycle, people post stuff they're getting rid of, but it's much easier to navigate and the stuff is for sale rather than for free. In my experience, I've been able to find what I need in a reasonable amount of time, and for a very reasonable price. I like that, like Freecycle, Craigslist allows me to give old items new homes and deal locally. Both services connect me to my community, allow me to avoid paying shipping, and don't come with the packaging and overhead that buying retail usually entails.