Monday, April 23, 2007

Small budget stuff: Book Mooch & Freecycling

I found a place called Book Mooch! ( 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!


Daisy Dexter Dobbs said...

We have Freecycle here in Portland, too, Sam. It's a very popular and extremely active group. I love the idea.

I'm a thrift store fanatic and love digging through other people's discards to find something that's unique--like that cashmere sweater you found.

When garage sale season starts, my daughter and I hit the road and pick up tons of books, vintage jewelry, art supplies and lots of other interesting finds. Great fun and cheap! :-D

Oopsy Daisy said...

I've never heard of freecycle or book mooch but they sound great! I am a big yard sale fan and they are just starting their season here in the Midwest. I'll be hitting some this Thursday and Friday. Hopefully WITHOUT my weird neighbor in tow.

Anonymous said...

Daisy and Daisy!
I'd love to go to the yard sales with you guys, it would be fun!
We have village yard sales here in France. Our village has its yard sale in September - it's a blast - and very busy!


Rosie said...

I'd gladly give rides or babysit for homegrown veggies. That sounds heavenly. Since my Mom died in 2004 I haven't had the heart for my vegetable garden and I miss it and the fresh herbs. I thought this year would be the year I'd get my hands dirty. Alas, a few flowers is all I've mustered so far.

Bonita said...

Both programs sound great. My daughter dresses her baby by buying (gently used)clothing from ebay and supplementing with new clothes.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Sam, I'm a moocher. If you want anything from me, holler and I'd be glad to send it over to you (I have my shelf set to "ask for international shipping" mostly so every mooch isn't from abroad). It probably wouldn't hurt to remind me that you wrote that great knight/princess story 'cause my brain's swiss cheese on a GOOD day anymore. (btw, I'm West of Mars at Mooch, of course)

Sam said...

Rosie - I LOVE homegrown veggies, so I'm thrilled when I get some too!

Bonita - I don't feel bad when my kids get hand-me down clothes dirty or torn playing, so they can really play. Much better for the kids, too!

Hi Susan, thank you!! I will try to find your shelf at the freecycle (right?) I just joined so I have to suss it out, lol. Thank you for your kind words about my story!!!

Oopsy Daisy said...

Thanks for the Bookmooch info Sam. I have already sent out 3 books. One on my wishlist came available this afternoon but someone snapped it up before I got to it. DRAT! (The Time Travelers Wife)

Ephilei said... is a improvement over Freecycle where free items are listed. It has a lot of advantages over Freecycle like pictures and search and it's easier for beginners to pick up.There are lots of advanced features too, like RSS, a Google Earth layer, and gmail-style conversation views. I hope you check it out.