On the first day of welcome week in college, you get bombarded with tons of information about the hundreds of “free” resources (“free” because you pay to go to college) your college or university has for students. However, once you graduate it can seem like the glory days of having access to free resources are over. Think again! Here are five commonly overlooked, completely free resources.
> The Library Life isn’t hard, when you’ve got a library card! Anyone else remember that tune from ‘Arthur?’ Library cards are completely free and give you access to thousands of book titles, CDs and DVDs. My library allows books to be loaned out for up to 3 weeks and CDs/DVDs for 1 week. Not only can you bring these resources home with you, but most libraries offer Internet/Wifi, renowned guest speakers, and film screenings all for free with your library card. All of these resources are too good to pass up and completely free, as long as you bring back loaned materials on time.
> Recycling Center Never spend money on packing boxes ever again! If you’ve never heard of a recycling center before, it’s a place you can bring recyclable materials to (cardboard, glass, aluminum cans, etc.) and after about 2 weeks they bring those materials to a larger recycling facility. I grew up with one of these centers less than a mile from my house and loved never having to buy a box for my school or storage needs. Another thing this recycling center has that I always enjoyed was this trailer filled with old magazines and newspapers. The rule was you could bring three magazines and take three “new” ones home, which came in handy whenever I had a collaging project for school. Every one of these facilities is a little bit different, but do your research to see where the closest one near you is and go check it out!
(More on the blog: 5 Things Worth Making at Home)
> Free on Craigslist There is a free section on Craigslist that contains listings from people who either (a) don’t have time to haggle prices or (b) really want this item to go. Either way, you’d be surprised by some of the things people are willing to just give away. I’ve seen everything from old electronics to lawn furniture. I recommend browsing it every now and then just to gauge what is being offered – you never know what you may find.
> Facebook Groups Most towns and cities have at least one Facebook group dedicated to selling or giving away items. Similarly to free on Craigslist, see if your town has a free/for sale group. Go ahead, search it on Facebook – you may be surprised by what you find. Many people I know prefer these types of groups better than the Free on Craigslist section because the person selling/giving away the item is in your community and you can check out someone’s Facebook profile to see who is selling you this item.
(More on the blog: 3 Simple Ways to Earn Extra Spending Money)
> Your Own NetworkPerhaps you saw this one coming, but the biggest free resource we have access to is our very own network. Each of our networks is rich with resources, knowledge, technical know-how and much more, all we have to do is ask! As I’ve gotten older and the “I can’t do everything on my own” mentality has almost completely sunken in, I’ve realized that, just like how I am there to help those in my network, the people in my network are there to help me. The key is not being afraid to ask because even if someone can’t help you directly, they many know someone who can.
What free resource do you use most often?