The Power of “Ask”
One of the best frugal ways to find things I want or need is simply to ask around. This may seem obvious, but it wasn’t always for me. I felt like asking for things people were throwing away made me seem needy or desperate. The opposite is actually true. People seem happy to have you take it off their hands. For example, when we got a new table at work to hold mints and toothpicks, I asked my manager what their plans were for the old one. They planned on throwing it away of course, and offered it to me.
Much of my home is furnished in this way, via Spencer’s mom. Julie has wonderful taste and is always updating and rearranging. Once when I visited I noticed a plant stand on the back porch with other Goodwill-donation-ish items. I asked if she was giving it away, and she offered it to me. Since then she’s given me a footstool, an end table, and our whole bedroom set. If she’s prepared to donate to Goodwill, she’s happy to have us take it away for her. And we certainly don’t mind!
It is also important to reciprocate. When cleaning your closet, consider friends first, then consignment, donation, and rag bag. If you are thrift shopping and find a great pair of shoes, but not your size, buy them for a friend. This also reiterates to them that you are open to receiving second-hand items.
And of course, Freecycle is a great way to expand your circle of friends. Go to Freecycle.org to find a group near you. This is a great resource to find what you need, with no cash exchange. It is often less hassle to give something away than to get rid of it yourself. For example, when Mom’s flock of chickens had one too many roosters, she simply put an offer up on Freecycle and someone came by that night to pick him up. This was much less work than… um… chicken soup?
I am obviously happy to be frugal, I mean, I blog about it, right? But I have to try to be very excited about frugality in person. I’m sometimes embarassed to wait on my classmates when they dine where I work. Often the only “real-live-people” that I flaunt my Thrifty Threads or Goodwill Goldmines to are Mom and Kelli. I like to let people assume that I pay full price for my name-brand clothes, or that I pack my lunch because I’m a health-nut, or that I use public transportation because I’m a granola girl. Which is a contributing factor, I suppose…
Point is, I’m getting over it. Thrift is hereby and forever foward cool! And I am happy to accept, or even ask for thrifted gifts from others.
That said, I would really like a bicycle….
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I was listening to some White Stripes on the way to school today and this song made me giggle. It makes me think of Freecycle.