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Sometimes, it takes hard work and creative thinking to find ways to trim your family’s budget. Sure, you can grow a garden to save on food, but what if you don’t have a green thumb or you live in an apartment with limited space? Yes, you can make your own clothes, but maybe you don’t know how to sew or just don’t have the time. Even if you don’t want to put in the extra work to DIY, there are a number of ways you can find the things your family both need and want without spending a lot of money (and sometimes even none). Here are a few of the best places to find everything you need on a budget:
Do you have your eye on a designer dress that costs over $1,000? Do you wish you could afford those designer booties for your baby, but just can’t justify shelling out $100 for them? Etsy offers gorgeous, handmade items for a fraction of the price of what you would find in a designer boutique. You can find clothing, accessories, home décor, and much more on this extensive site. You can even purchase custom-made items! Not only will you save money on Etsy, but you will also have the satisfaction of knowing that you are supporting independent artists and small businesses.
It’s not just for selling your old junk. eBay features thousands of products from sellers around the world. You can find just about anything you are looking for on eBay – both current and vintage – and you can usually find it for a fraction of the price that you would pay in stores (or on the secondary market, if it’s collectible). Many items are less expensive on eBay because they are sold through wholesalers. For example, I recently purchased 20 cloth diapers (new!) for $30. The same diapers would have cost at least $10 each from a retailer.
Craigslist is like the yard sale version of eBay. The site is stripped down, so it’s low overhead allows users to post for free. You’ll mostly find second-hand items, but some wholesalers list their wares here, as well. Second-hand doesn’t necessarily equal poor quality. Electronics, furniture, cars, and other big-ticket items can all be purchased here, usually in great condition. You get to inspect the items before you purchase to make sure that they are in good condition, which puts your mind at ease with the “try before you buy” ability. Many people either decide that they don’t have a use for an impulse purchase or a gift, or they want to make cash fast – so their loss is your gain. For example, my husband recently bought a high-end graphics tablet that retails for over $1,000 for only $300 on Craigslist. We have sold our television, washing machine, and computer on the site when we upgraded to a newer model and made great money for each of these items. Professional services can also be found on Craigslist for a fraction of the price. We found a home daycare provider advertising her services on the site for about half the price of a commercial day care. We also found movers to help us for $50 an hour, rather than several hundred for a professional moving company.
There’s nothing cheaper than free. This site connects you with users in your area who are giving away their unwanted items – the purpose of which is to keep them from ending up in the landfills. But that doesn’t mean that what you’ll find here is trash! I have picked up books, clothes, a crib, a stroller, a television, and a treadmill from Freecycle – all of which were in great condition. Every type of item can be given away on Freecycle, and users decide who they give the items to (preference usually goes to the person who can pick it up the soonest).
Google Alerts is another great tool for anyone on a budget. You can use it to set up alerts for deals and discounts online so you never miss out on savings. You can also set up alerts for searches such as “free after rebate,” “buy one get one free,” “BOGO,” “free shipping,” “giveaway,” and more.
Go to http://www.google.com/alerts to set up your alerts and customize your preferences for frequency of delivery.
What other sites do you use to find good bargains? Tell us about your finds in the comments!
About the Author: Sarah Rexman is the main researcher and writer for bedbugs.org. Her most recent accomplishment includes graduating from Florida State, with a degree in environmental science. Her current focus for the site involves researching bed bug symptoms and the advances in bed bug heat treatment.