Finances & Money

Ways to Save Money #2: Scour the Web for Free Stuff

A short time ago, I wrote a review of an eBook called “Save to Quit“. Along with the book, you get another eBook titled “500 Ways to Save Money” that gives general saving ideas as well as ideas across a number of categories. This article is part of a series highlighting the money-saving ideas, one at a time. Note that I don’t get any referral income for these articles. Check out the rest of the Ways to Save Money Series here.

I’m a big fan of Craigslist. As I’m too lazy to go through the hassle of listing items on eBay, and I’d rather just deal with people face-to-face, I like the convenience of using Craigslist to post items for sale or for free. Additionally, I like to search through the listings for free items I can grab for myself! However, as I don’t like clutter, I tend to just window shop rather than claim something for my own.

But another upstart network called Freecycle is fast becoming the go-to for free stuff from your local neighbors. I signed up for the local Rockville group, and I see dozens of free items posted daily. Right now, here are a few of the items up for grabs:

  • Mandalay Bay aftershave and eau de toilette – new
  • Brand new baby changing pad from Target
  • TV stand
  • Singing flower
  • Women’s wool swing coat – size 14

I’ve seen old TVs, working washers/dryers/fridges, and much more, but I haven’t yet participated in the network outside of just receiving the email notices. If you need to furnish your apartment or house, I highly suggest giving Freecycle and Craigslist a shot!

One thing to note is that I recall the signup process for Freecycle to be rather tedious and confusing. I thought it would be more like Craigslist, but it’s more like a forum instead. Pictures don’t automatically display for the items, which means you need to click through your email to get to the photos section of the forum. But if there’s a juicy gem in there that you want, it’s worth the price (free!).

For a couple dozen alternatives to Freecycle, check out this article from Bean Sprouts. Melanie highlights other national and local recycling programs, and even a few international ones.

Another way to get free stuff, or nearly free stuff is to use coupons.  Money Crashers has a really excellent review of this.  Rather than talk about this more here, I’ll just direct you to their article.

See the rest of the Ways to Save Money Series here.

About the author

Clever Dude


  • I dipped my toe into the Freecycle pool and wasn’t impressed. It just seemed a little disorganized and chaotic. But to be fair, maybe I didn’t give it enough of a chance. For now though, I’ll stick with my trusty Craigslist. Besides, why give something away when you can recoup some money from it?

  • We have used Freecycle for years to give stuff away – it’s great to get rid of stuff that otherwise would go in the trash. There are people out there who need everything!

  • Hey..we agree that Freecycle is a great concept. But like Rob said, it is a little chaotic. It is also geographically restricted (you’re only supposed to join your local group) and the moderation can sometimes be a bit over zealous.

    We are currently working on a new solution. Just as free but far better in terms of usability and managing localisation. We agree with David that you should have the ability to sell stuff if you want to but it should still be free and easy. After all, selling stuff still keeps it out of landfill.

    check us out at

  • I agree that there is just so much free stuff out there. But at some point I think you are doing the right thing by not buying something new. Everybody has something that doesn’t mean much to them, but would mean a lot to someone else.

  • If you like free things and saving money as much as I do, you should check out this site I just visited that’s saving me $720.00 a year on my cellular bill:

    You stay with the same carrier & contract, and they even contact the carrier for you! Honestly, the only thing I noticed that differed was the amount of my bill…it went from $180.00/mthly ( what it’s been for the past year) down to $120.00. There is no “cost” for the service except that they share in the savings seen on your bill! But, would I have ever known about this money in the first place?..
    The whole process took seconds. Best of luck with using this service! I think you’ll be as impressed as I was!

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