Posted by Annie Korzen
MYSTERIOUS CLIPSHere’s a puzzling fact: for some reason, there are always perfectly good paper clips lying on the sidewalk. Unless you’re germ-phobic - which is one of the few fears I do not have – you can pick up all manner of paper clips in varying sizes and colors any day of the week. And Mother Earth will smile upon you when those babies end up on your desk rather than in the ocean – which is where all street litter ends up.
WATCH AND LEARN
WWW.YOUTUBE.COM offers a huge variety of no/cost mini-classes on any subject imaginable.
• How to Wax your Pottery before Glazing.
• Playing E Minor 7 in 3rd Inversion Arpeggios on Guitar
• Ending Off a Spiral Knot Hemp Bracelet.
I don’t know what a spiral knot hemp bracelet is, but if I were making one I would certainly want to know how to end it off. This site is a godsend for people like me, who never leave the house. I just practiced the basic salsa step, and I’m about to learn how to introduce myself in Japanese.
A more cerebral free learning center is www.TED.com, which stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. This site offers 15-minute talks on weighty subjects by the world’s great thinkers, plus entertaining pieces by off-beat performance artists. You can watch Steve Jobs, you can watch Jane Goodall, you can watch Gordon Brown - unless you’re a lowbrow like me: I watched some very funny jugglers.
Many restaurants will give you a complimentary dessert if you mention it’s someone’s birthday. I suspect some folks pretend it’s their birthday just to get the free slice of cake but, cheapskate that I am, I haven’t yet sunk that low. I couldn’t take the guilt of having the waiters serenade me while I was stealing from them.
10.24.11 at 1:40 pm | Bargain Junkie Annie Korzen finds a website with. . .
10.19.11 at 2:58 pm | Bargain Junkie Annie Korzen spends her life at. . .
10.17.11 at 2:29 pm | Bargain Junkie Annie Korzen offers money-saving. . .
10.12.11 at 1:46 pm |
10.10.11 at 1:55 pm | Bargainista Annie Korzen offers cheap. . .
10.5.11 at 1:10 pm | Thriftaholic Annie Korzen enjoys a bargain, but. . .
8.24.11 at 3:01 pm | When are our parental responsibilities over? The. . . (5)
3.28.11 at 10:43 am | The market goes up, the market goes down. We’re. . . (3)
10.19.11 at 2:58 pm | Bargain Junkie Annie Korzen spends her life at. . . (3)
August 3, 2011 | 1:40 pm
Posted by Annie Korzen
I do love a low price, and you can’t get lower than Zero. The good news is that there are a gazillion useful items out there that are just yours for the taking: everything from moving boxes to mature trees. And we all know how irritating immature trees can be.
The enlightened folks who donate these freebies realize that it makes more sense to give something away rather than dump it in the landfill. So when you take someone’s electric juicer, you are not just being thrifty: you are protecting the environment. Frugaholics tend to think green.
WWW.CRAIGSLIST.COM IS A GREAT SOURCE OF FREEBIES OF ALL KINDS.
I check this listing every day. Here are some sample offerings.
• “Barbie doll house, made of wood, hundreds of small toys inside, with Barbies. Adding a little bike also.”
• “‘60’S VINTAGE BRIDAL GOWN”
• “One green round plastic patio table w/4 chairs”
• “Free Paint Cans: Black, Light yellow, Aztek orange, Light green, Deep maroon/red”
Water is scarce and costly here in Los Angeles My plants were looking thirsty, and I was advised to put down a three-inch layer of bark mulch to help retain moisture. I have a very large front yard and a smallish back yard, so we’re talking mucho mulch. One bag at the nursery is about six bucks and I needed about 30 bags.
I went on Craig’s List and looked for freebies. Several tree services would deliver, but you had to take an entire truckload. This seemed risky. I had a nightmarish vision of getting a huge mountain of pine chips dumped on my front yard which I would never be able to use.
Then I noticed an ad from a private person which said “A tree service dumped a huge mountain of pine chips on my front yard. I will never be able to use it all. Come and take as much as you want.” Perfecto! We filled our station wagon twice – which barely made a dent in the poor girl’s mountain – and our formerly parched garden is now thriving, as you can see in the photo. What a deal!
FREECYCLE: ANOTHER GREAT SOURCE FOR FREE STUFF
I just became a member of the Freecyle network. www.Freecycle.org It’s a really cool site where you can search for free goods, or recycle your own excess. It costs nothing to join, and the offerings are varied. A glance at one day’s posts included a vacuum cleaner, a wooden desk, 50 sheets of poster paper, and cherry-flavored Nyquil.
Last week, I scored a shopping bag full of hair products, toiletries, and unused make-up. Then my husband needed to get rid of his old computer monitor. I posted a listing, and it was gone within 24 hours, which is a lot better than having to schlep it over to the electronic waste dump.
Freecycle has thousands of local groups representing millions of members. As a result, they are currently keeping over 500 tons a day out of landfills. This amounts to five times the height of Mt. Everest in the past year alone, when stacked in garbage trucks. In spite of the old inspirational song, “Climb Every Mountain,” I say that’s one mountain no one should have to climb.
August 1, 2011 | 12:26 pm
Posted by Annie Korzen
Jews are often characterized as being cheap – as in the joke about the new Jewish game show, The Price is Too Much! I refuse to take this as an insult: I am proud to be a thriftaholic. I rarely buy anything that hasn’t been pre-worn, pre-used, pre-loved. Among my frugalista friends, bargain-shopping is a competitive sport. So you can imagine my palpitations when I heard about the Sunday bargain fests at Jet Rags on La Brea. They put out mountains of vintage clothing in the parking lot, and you can take as much as you want for a dollar a piece.
This was particularly exciting for me, because – although I’m a writer and performer - I have a hobby business as a vintage fashion dealer. I buy ‘50s and ‘60s stuff at yard sales and thrift shops, and then resell them. You may have seen some of my finds on Mad Men.
I was looking for clothing from 1969 for the movie Men in Black 3 and I figured Jet Rags might be a treasure trove. It was indeed. I got there when it opened at 9, and there were already 40 hipsters combing through the piles. The crowd was a mix of students, tourists, unemployed actors, and serious fashionistas. I was definitely the den mother of the group.
In addition to a huge variety of clothing, you could also find fabric and linens. I saw someone taking a king-sized sheet set and asked if he wasn’t concerned about bedbugs (one of my biggest phobias.) He said that as long as you throw the item into the dryer at high heat, you’re safe.
One striking young woman was wearing a long black lace dress, oversized rhinestone jewelry, and 6-inch-high heels. Among her huge pile of purchases was ornate wedding gown, which she was planning to wear to a party that night. A wedding gown to a party? Oh well, different strokes…
A chic Dutch tourist stood aside while her friends rummaged. She didn’t much care for this form of battlefield shopping, and was looking forward to visiting the tidy, organized stores at The Grove.
One young fashion designer was buying up all the denim. He told me that denim is hot again, and he planned to use the fabric to create his own styles.
I didn’t find much in the way of 1969 summer dresses, but I did pick up a cool Hawaiian shirt for my son, a rain jacket for my husband, and a vintage hand-embroidered dish towel for my shabby chic kitchen. Not a bad haul for three bucks!
What I couldn’t figure out was how the store could afford to sell stuff so cheaply. The manager explained that they buy hundred-pound bales for very little, and put out 12 bales every week. They are actually making money on the dollar items, so everybody wins.
From Jet Rags, I moved on to my usual Sunday haunt: Out of the Closet. This chain of thrift stores has dollar sales every Sunday, and I managed to find a dress and shirt for Men in Black, plus a Donna Karan silk knit turtleneck for myself. All in a day’s work!