I found a place called Book Mooch! (www.bookmooch.com) You list the books you want to give away, and you mooch the books you want from other book moochers! Each book you donate goves you points, each book you mooch takes away points. You can donate points to public libraries for charity, you can find out of print books, you can get tons of books for free! (Well, for the price of shipping and handling when you send your Own books.)
Since I live in France, and postage is SO expensive, I can't offer to ship to anywhere outside Europe, so I've limited myself to mooching from people in Europe. So far I've mooched:
10 lb Penalty by Dick Francis
Turbulent Priests by Colin Bateman
The Chimney Sweeper's Boy by Barbara Vine
and a children's book for my daughter.
I've sent off five books to France so far, and that cost 5 euros, so I'll get 4 books for 5 euros, which is a nice bargain for someone with a tight budget!
I also joined the local Freecycling club here in Paris, and that's cool too.
In this club, people recycle objects rather than throw them away by offering them for free.
It's a club for all who want to "recycle" that special something rather than throw it away. Whether it's a chair, piano or an old door, (or ice cube trays or plant holders - I'm looking at the website, lol.) you just post your offer and whovever is interested contacts you and comes to get your 'trash'.
To help balance my budget, I've been doing a lot of trading. I've traded paintings for veterinary fees, English lessons for part of the cost of braces, English tutoring in exchange for ironing, and I've babysat in exchange for jeans even. Trade is a good way to work things into a small budget. For example, I've been helping a neighbor by taking her kids to the sport club every Wednesday, and in exchange she gives me fresh eggs and garden veggies. I know that the chiropractor here in the village often gets part of his payment in vegetables and eggs - his wife told me that when I spied a huge crate of apples in her trunk! Clothes get passed back and forth in the village as well. My daughter wears hand-me-downs from my friends, and when she grows out of them, I pass them on. A lot of the kids in the village have worn the same clothes, especially winter coats and pants - it seems kids grow out of those before they can get worn out.
And let's not forget Ye Olde Thifte Shoppe! Today I'm wearing a blouse and a sweater I got at the thrift. The sweater is an old, wrap-around style in pure cashmere. Someone gave it away, and I bought it for a dollar.
So, for all you budget-minded folk out there, you can get free books at Book Mooch, find free stuff at FreeCycle (both are world wide), trade, and get cheap clothes at the thrift!