Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Free is Green - Get Your Free On

In our fragile 2011/2012 economy, free is quickly becoming king. Despite all the holiday hoopla and Black Friday hype, Americans aren’t spending as freely as we used to. Major retailers that we were used to seeing have gone poof, with more following suit every month. Prices are rising for groceries, services and gas, people are losing their jobs and their homes, and financial and economic experts are predicting doomsday. What’s an average, hard-working American supposed to do?

Get your free on, of course! When I was growing up, the free stuff consisted of hand-me-downs from neighbors and relatives with kids a little older than me and my brothers and sister, and maybe the occasional garbage-day, side-of-the-road treasure.  Where once searching for free stuff was the domain of the down-on-their-luck, now the free economy is vast and varied. It’s almost chic. Find free stuff on Craig’s List, sign up for Free Cycle and get free stuff in your neighborhood, and find free stores at ReallyReallyFree.org.  If you’re brave and bold, join the freeganism movement and forage for food discarded by grocery and restaurant retailers.  Dumpster diving is a frequent activity of the moneyless, including students, homeless and newly graduated newlyweds, and yields furniture, appliances, and varied home goods such as cooking utensils, lamps and artwork. Clothing exchange parties are great opportunities to score “new” clothes while cleaning out your closets, a win-win for everyone.

Participating in the free economy allows you to get things you and your family need while saving your hard-earned money, and encourages everyone to waste less, reuse and share. Free is good. Free is fun. Free is green.

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