Five Ways to Get What You Need For Very Little or No Money

We’re a society of consumers. Often we buy on impulse and we eventually end up with a houseful of stuff we no longer need or want. That means we’ve wasted our money. If you decide you really do need something, what if you could get it for very little or no money? Here are five ways to get what you need or want without shelling out the bucks.

Get it Free

Check out Freecycle to see if someone is giving away something you want. You can sign up to a group in your area and offer the things you no longer want as well as pick up things you do need for free. If you don’t see what you need, you can make a request. You never know unless you ask. Someone may have just the item you need.

I know someone who refinished her kitchen through Freecycle and I’ve given away everything from a metal filing cabinet I was no longer using to a surplus of candles and craft paints. Once I was able to get brand new ink cartridges for my printer absolutely free.

The only thing about Freecycle is that you’re probably not the only one looking for a particular item and its first come, first served so check out the daily list as early as you can.

Kijiji and Craig’s List also have sections where people list things they are giving away for free.

Rent It

If you need a special tool for a home renovation project and it’s unlikely that you’ll ever use that particular tool again, it makes more sense to rent instead of buying it.

Borrow It

If you don’t already know your neighbors, make a point of getting to know them. A neighbor or friend may have just the thing you need for a certain job that you could ask to borrow. Just be sure to return whatever it is within a reasonable length of time or they may not be so willing to lend to you the next time you ask.

Of course, this is a two-way street. You also need to be willing to lend something you have to a friend or neighbor in need of a particular tool on a temporary basis.

Trade for It

Bartering is back in style. Virtually any item or service can be bartered. For example, on Kijiji a voice coach was looking to trade singing or public speaking lessons for housekeeping services. Someone else was offering a portable air conditioner or carpet cleaning services in exchange for a flat screen TV. Ideally, bartering involves each party getting something that they consider more valuable than what they’re giving up.

You too, can swap a service or some item you have that you no longer need for something you do need. Check out the bartering sections on Craig’s List, too.

Buy It Used

Check newspaper and online ads on sites like Kijiji to see if you can get what you want and need for maybe half the price or less of buying new. Then, when you no longer need or want it, resell it.

There’s no law that says everything we own has to be brand spanking new. Everybody enjoys buying new stuff but it makes sense to think twice before you do.  If you find you really do need something, you might just be able to get it used for free or  half the price or less of buying new and that’s money in your pocket. You’ll be able to pat yourself on the back for helping to keep stuff out of a landfill, too.

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Comments

  1. Simon says

    Thanks for these tips! We’re currently in need of some new appliances and this got me thinking “why don’t we look for something used??”.

    A service similar to Freecycle is “Listia”; I found it as an app in iTunes. It offers freebie trading using a credit system (ie. one chair is worth 500 credits, etc.)…not sure exactly how it works as I haven’t used it yet but I’m sure it fits with these other suggestions! It’s available on iOS and probably Android as well.

    • Eileen says

      Simon,
      Listia is great!
      I’ve been a member for over a year now.
      Thus far, I’ve traded for an iPad, Coach Packpack, Coach Handbag and am
      now working on an Asus Transformer.
      You list things you no longer need.
      You get credits from a buyer.
      You spend your credits on things you want.
      It’s a lot of fun and you can get almost anything!
      Try it :)

  2. says

    Very good list! Southern California also has the Recycler, and they also have a website. And of course, there’s the old standby: wait for a killer sale.

    And for really big items (like a house) there is another strategy: wait for the next recession. They come every 7-10 years, so you don’t have to wait that long and, man, does it make a huge difference!

  3. says

    I had forgotten about Kijiji. I do use Craigslist and share whenever I can. My business is built on sharing and giving back.

  4. says

    Great tips. I have a friend that does absolutely everything through barter. She got her floors, her couch, everything by swapping for her services (that she has a business for).

  5. says

    Great tips!

    Thanks to design trends like shabby chic, vintage, and eclectic, tips # 1, 4, and 5 are no longer anathema. I’ve managed to set my apartment up with second-hand stuff that’s good and cheap; the only things I bought new were my laptop and fridge. Granted, the setup is kind of spartan, but the pieces I do have at home are bursting with character because they’ve been used, lived with, and loved. What makes them especially lovely for me are that – being the bargain-hunter that I am- they give me extra satisfaction knowing that I’ve gotten some great furniture, tools, and artwork at a steal.

    Seriously, going second-hand when it comes to some stuff is really fantastic. You might have to do a bit of repair, restoration, customization, or whatever you need to get that sofa back in shape, but whatever. It’s a huge money-saver.

    Here are a few more things that could help you save more on the things you buy:

    http://www.solvingdebt.ca/article/financial-literacy-series

    Cheers!
    Rob

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Five Ways To Get What You Need For Very Little Or No Money [Financial Highway] Marlene helps us eliminate buyer’s remorse by eliminating the need to pay for the items on our must-have list. “We buy on impulse and we eventually end up with a houseful of stuff we no longer need or want,” she says. She’s got five out-of-the-box ideas to help us cut down on our costs, while still indulging in our need for “stuff.” [...]

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