One of the staples of the ecofrugal lifestyle is secondhand shopping. As I've observed many times, thrift stores and flea markets are an ecofrugal three-fer, because you get to save money, save resources, and prevent waste all at the same time. However, in my latest Money Crashers post, I discuss something that's even better than thrift shops: free stores. These are like thrift shops taken to the ultimate extreme: everything is not merely cheap but free. Yes, free! You can bring in your unwanted stuff, and you can take home someone else's unwanted stuff, and you never have to get out your wallet at all!
I've never had a chance to experience a free store (or its more temporary cousin, a Really Really Free Market, or RRFM) firsthand. The closest I've ever come is occasionally dropping off or picking up items at the "Freecycle table" at the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, where the Minstrel concert series is held on Fridays. And sadly, in the course of working on the article, I discovered that I haven't simply been overlooking the obvious: there actually are no free stores or RRFMs in New Jersey at all. The nearest one to me is in Manhattan, and since a trip into the city costs around $30 (either $24.50 for the train plus $7 for the subway, or $19.50 in tolls plus an indeterminate amount for gas and parking), I can hardly imagine that making the expedition would be a money-saving venture.
Some of you, however, might be more fortunately situated. To find out, take a look at the article: How to Get Free Stuff at Free Stores and Swap Shops (or Start Your Own)