By Donna Freedman
On my way home from the store recently, I found 9 cents, a My Coke Rewards cap, and two ice cream bars.
About that last find…
While waiting for the light to change, I saw a discarded plastic grocery bag on the ground. As a rule, I pick these up for my sister to use when she walks her dog. This bag held one of those Klondike Bar six-packs, with four missing.
The supermarket register receipt indicated they’d been purchased only about 15 minutes earlier, and it was a chilly day. You bet I took them home.
If you feel you must say “eeewww,” go ahead. I’ll wait.
Feel better? Me too. I got two ice cream bars.
Scavenging is frugal, whether you do it in an organized way (Freecycle, dumpster diving) or merely by keeping your eyes open. You’re probably not going to get rich, but you may find something you need.
You’ll also be keeping things out of the landfill. If I hadn’t picked up those ice cream bars, they would have eventually melted, and in time, the bag would (I hope!) have been picked up by a city sanitation worker. Or a dog owner.
This way I got two free desserts and my sister got a poop sack. Win-win!
A treasure hunt
I’m more of a dumpster wader than a diver – that is, I paddle around the edges. I’ve also found my share of useful things next to trash containers: kitchen chairs, a bookcase, the shopping cart I use to haul home heavier groceries.
While walking, I’ve found things like pens, screwdrivers, a partial roll of electrical tape, and books and magazines from piles left on street corners. Seattle residents like to recycle their belongings by putting them outside with “free” signs. Or possibly they don’t want to pay dump fees and hope someone will take the stuff off their hands.
Best place I ever found change: under the cushions of a couch sitting on the sidewalk. Since the sign said “free,” I figured that prospecting for pennies was permissible.