East Texas Recession Survival Guide: Finding the free stuff!

By Morgan Chesky - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Karmyn Raney knows how to stretch a dollar.

"From infants to elderly, it has everything from pets to whatever you need," said Raney.

What's her secret? Freecycle.org, a web site network of people who are giving and getting stuff for free in their own towns. Using freecycle is easy, you log on, find a group near you, then scan posts based on your needs.

"The way the economy is going now a lot of people can't buy the stuff brand new at the prices so you're able to find stuff online off this freecycle site that is great quality," said Raney.

Some of her best freecycle finds include a children's movie set, educational books, a video game system, and her latest discovery, a nearly new stereo system, giving her savings that add up.

"All in general, I've saved way over $2,000 on all the stuff I've received," said Raney.

Freecycle has been around a little more than six years but the concept of people putting away their wallets during tough times to save on items like pots and pans or even a digital camera is hardly a new idea.

"People have always, when times get tough, looked at ways to reduce outlay of cash," said Dr. Barbara Ross Wooldridge, a marketing professor.

At the UT Tyler College of Business, Dr. Wooldridge tracks consumer trends. She said the act of bartering for goods is on the rise.

"Bartering has really gained in popularity since we've started seeing the spike up in gas prices and people being worried of what's going on in the economy," explained Wooldridge.

Which makes some think freecycle's success is dependent on economic failure.

"When you talk about a lot of the barter services that are happening for a lot of them, I think people are saying, 'If I couldn't barter I just wouldn't do it,'" said the professor.

But for Raney, freecycle is no fad.

"I definitely Recommend everyone at least trying it seeing what you think about it," said Raney.

There are many web sites that can help save you money. For more information, just click on the Big Red Box on the home page, then click on the story "Get 'cha free stuff!."