Letter Re: Cheap is Good, But Free is Better

Mr. Rawles,

I’ve noticed there have been several letters lately about getting prepped on a budget, and several people have suggested watching Craig’s List for good bargains. I’m surprised that no one has recommended Freecycle as a place to find good deals, because everything listed is free. I’m sure it’s been mentioned a few times in Survivalblog over the years, but I think it deserves as much emphasis as Craig’s List, if not more.
I think there may be some misconceptions about what is found on Freecycle. There can be a lot more than just old baby clothes and blenders. It will depend on your area of course.
In the past 6 months, I have gotten through Freecycle:
* Enough wood framed windows to build a good-sized greenhouse
* Several car loads of firewood (I don’t have a truck)
* About 150 – 200 canning jars in various sizes
* Spare blankets and linens
* A small plate steel wood stove
* Window screening
* Chicken wire, several rolls
* Rolls of woven wire fence, with T-posts
* Loads of scrap wood, good for burning or building tables or shelving
* Lengths of garden hose
* Sleeping bags
* Air mattresses
* Many rolls of carpet (for garden and indoor use)
And my treasure from yesterday (which prompted me to write this), a used 30-quart canner. An All-American model #930. It’s filthy but appears to be in good shape. To buy this new would be over $200, plus some serious shipping costs due to its weight.
I have seen every possible kind of furniture and appliance being given away, as well as garbage bags full of clothing.

My point here is to illustrated that many very useful things can be found on Freecycle, if you take the time to watch your local sites. It may not be a frequent find, but worth a minute or two each day to check. I rarely post any “wanted” items, I just sit and wait to see what is offered.
The main site is Freecycle.org, and you can find local groups from there. Each site is run by volunteers, and certain areas may have more groups than others. I am member to several, even though they do overlap a bit.
Rather than take up more space here, I would refer you to a short article I wrote about using Freecycle. It’s not written from a prepping perspective, but does explain the posting process.
I’m a single mom thankfully just moved to a 5-acre mini farm. I can’t afford anywhere near all the “stuff” that I need around here, and Freecycle has really given me the chance to pick up some great things I would otherwise not have been able to get my hands on… like my beautiful new canner. 🙂
I hope these ideas are helpful to someone. Keep up the good work with the blog site. Thanks, – Terri, in Canada