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.

Marlene Alexander

Marlene Alexander

Marlene is a freelance writer and blogger. She maintains a free budget decorating site called Dollar Store Style and writes content for client websites.