free baby stuff http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/2033/all en-US Old Stuff: How to Kindly Receive and Reuse http://www.wisebread.com/old-stuff-how-to-kindly-receive-and-reuse <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/old-stuff-how-to-kindly-receive-and-reuse" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/stuffed animals.jpg" alt="stuffed animals" title="stuffed animals" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="240" height="180" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Taking in free items can be a savvy, frugal move. But be on guard so that you won't be the not-so-proud owner of useless stuff.</p> <p>Those who have recently moved out on their own or had a first baby can be easy targets for others who are looking to unload their things. You may not be able to anticipate what you'll need in the future but will know that there's a great need to save money. When someone offers to give you something free, you're more likely to take things that you <em>might</em> use. At the same time, your friends, family, and even acquaintances will feel like they are helping you by giving you their castoffs. They may even try to pull the frugal card by telling you that you would be wise to accept their old stuff rather than buying new items.</p> <p>Stay on the offensive to kindly receive the things you need, save money, and stay clutter-free.</p> <h3>Know what you need</h3> <p>You probably have a running list of items that you're planning on buying soon, would like to have if you had extra money, or could always use. Think about these things when you learn that someone else's old stuff is now available so that you can quickly accept or firmly decline.</p> <h3>Know what you don't want old or used</h3> <p>I'm not being a snob here but there are certain items &mdash; especially for babies and children &mdash; that might require investigation before you can confidently accept and use. Large items subject to recall, such as cribs, strollers, and swings, come to mind. You may be perfectly fine with a used crib but not with one that has been disassembled and is missing some hardware, or a car seat that looks fine but has been in a wreck.</p> <p>Getting these big ticket items for free might seem like a good idea, but if you aren't able to put them to good use, then they'll just add clutter.</p> <h3>Understand expectations</h3> <p>Most people have some expectations that you will use and appreciate the items that you've received. They never dream that their stuff can cause a burden.</p> <p>Ideally, you'll get things with no strings attached (emotional or otherwise). In this case, you won't be under any obligation to keep it forever, showcase in your home, or pass along to your children.</p> <p>But at some point, you will probably encounter some of these stipulations, either expressed or implied:</p> <ul> <li>When you're done using the items (when your kids outgrow clothes, for example), give them to someone else who can use them at no charge, just the way you received them. Don't sell them on eBay, Craigslist, or the local consignment shop.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Return these items after you've finished using them. A close friend or relative might allow you to use baby things for now but wants them back in about nine months. This arrangement is more of a loan. If you are getting loads of freebies in a short span of time, it's helpful to clarify what's yours to keep and what you need to give back.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Hold the items (indefinitely) until the giver is ready to take them back. Watch out for large items that may be extremely useful to have for a while but burdensome to store.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Give back stuff that you find you won't use.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Donate items to charity, yard sale, etc. after you've finished using them.</li> </ul> <h3>Sort immediately</h3> <p>You might be able to sort through items and choose what you need, rather than accepting mixed-up lots of useful and not-so-useful things. Or, you might take bags of old stuff with the understanding that you'll take what you want and pass the rest along to someone else. Either way, sort and organize as soon as you get old stuff so that it doesn't clog up your household.</p> <p>Take these actions:</p> <ul> <li>Put items that you can use right now in their proper places.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Assign a storage place for things that you plan to use in the future but don't need at the moment; commit this place to memory so you'll be able to pull from this inventory later. Clothing that is a couple of sizes too big now but should fit your children at some point falls into this category. Similarly, classic but age-inappropriate books and toys might be stored temporarily.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Decide whether you can fix items that need to be repaired or altered. If yes, set these things aside momentarily and pick a date for painting, restoring, or whatever needs to be done. If no, get rid of these items as quickly as you can.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Reject items that aren't functional or repairable. If you happen to take home some unusable or damaged items, get rid of them immediately.</li> </ul> <p>Though I've been the happy recipient of great used items, I've also had too many things clogging up my basement. However, I have found myself in the position of wanting to get rid of items that range from perfectly wonderful to possibly useful for parts only. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-rid-of-all-your-crap">Making an announcement to your social network</a> is a simple way to find a nice home for the best items without putting anyone on the spot. Generally, I opt to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-rid-of-your-junk">donate items to a yard sale</a> benefiting organizations that I support; my friends (and other folks) can snag a great deal if they'd like, but not be burdened with my old stuff.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/old-stuff-how-to-kindly-receive-and-reuse">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/37-brilliant-ways-to-reuse-an-empty-milk-jug">37 Brilliant Ways to Reuse an Empty Milk Jug</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-clever-ways-to-reuse-your-plastic-shopping-bags">18 Clever Ways to Reuse Your Plastic Shopping Bags</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hand-me-down-cell-phones">Hand-me-down Cell Phones</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-teeny-tiny-ways-to-save">21 Teeny-Tiny Ways to Save</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-cheap-easy-ways-to-survive-a-terrible-workday">11 Simple Ways to Survive a Terrible Workday</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living free baby stuff old stuff reuse Fri, 27 Aug 2010 13:00:09 +0000 Julie Rains 218497 at http://www.wisebread.com Free Diapers: How Persistence Got Me Into a Diaper Study http://www.wisebread.com/free-diapers-how-persistence-got-me-into-a-diaper-study <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/free-diapers-how-persistence-got-me-into-a-diaper-study" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/Flickr AForestFrolic.jpg" alt="diaper rolls" title="diaper rolls" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="168" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Some things sound too good to be true. Try, &quot;Diaper Study: Free Diapers, and Get Paid to Use Them.&quot; My overly-analytical (okay, suspicious) mind would question, &quot;What's the catch?&quot; Another mom who had taught me how to do couponing explained to me that she had done this to get free diapers when times were tight in her budget. She walked me through the process.</p> <p>Even with her help, my initial concerns about following through with this money-saving tip were as follows: Would the diapers leak? Would they really pay me? What was the catch? Would I complete this whole survey, and find out that my answers were not what they were looking for, and have wasted a lot of time? Would I be charged for shipping? Would the diapers cause a rash? However, with two little bottoms in diapers, it was worth a try.</p> <p>First, I had to call the company to see if they had an opening for a survey in my children's sizes. I had to call more than one time. The first time I called, the answering machine kicked on, told me to leave a message, and they would call me back. I left a message, and did not hear back. I called back several times, and finally, a live person answered the phone.</p> <p>They requested my name, address, telephone number, age and weight of the child that would be wearing the diapers. An appointment was set up at this time, for a survey-completion phone interview. (An emphasis was made that I would not get paid unless I completed the phone interview.) Four days later my twenty diapers showed up at my front door. My initial concerns were alleviated: the diapers did not leak, and they did not cause a rash.</p> <p>Second, I had to fill out the survey. The survey is 3-4 pages in length and all of questions are easy to answer if you use the diapers as specified. Common questions the survey asked were:</p> <ul> <li>Did the diapers gap at the legs?</li> <li>Did the diapers leak?</li> <li>Did you like the appearance of the diaper?</li> <li>Did the side panels stay attached?</li> </ul> <p>The interviewer, a female with a southern drawl, was very professional and prompt, and the interview lasted just under ten minutes. My opinions about the diapers were valued and written down. I was told a $10 check would be mailed four to six weeks later. It actually arrived within two weeks of the phone interview. Since most packs of diapers sell anywhere from $8.99-$11.49, in the end, I received the equivalent of two packs of diapers for free.</p> <p>There are different companies offering diaper surveys, so you need to find out the completion requirements before agreeing to take the survey. How can you find legitimate companies that are doing product testing? A good place to start is to ask your mom friends. That is how I happened to hear about the one I tried. Another way is to do a search online under DIAPER STUDY or PRODUCT TESTING, or check out sites like <a href="http://www.afullcup.com/">A Full Cup</a> to see what other companies people have used, and to get specific questions and concerns answered.</p> <p>Surveys can be done more than once with the same child, or with multiple children. If you have twins, they would count as two participants, and you would be able to do two surveys, one for each child.</p> <p>So the next time you hear about an offer that may sound too good to be true, look into it a bit more and you may just see it is worthwhile. It literally paid for me to be persistent, and call back repeatedly. Also, it was important for me to keep my end of the bargain. This meant keeping my appointment time and completing the survey. In the end, it was definitely worth it.</p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This is a guest post by Maggie Walters, a freelance writer, educator, and enthusiastic extreme couponer.</p> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/maggie-walters">Maggie Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-diapers-how-persistence-got-me-into-a-diaper-study">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debit-or-credit-which-one-should-you-choose-at-the-checkout">Debit Or Credit? Which One Should You Choose At The Checkout?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lower-your-credit-card-interest-rate-and-reduce-your-phone-bill-immediately-and-easily">Lower Your Credit Card Interest Rate and Reduce Your Phone Bill, Immediately and Easily</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/double-coupons-they-could-cost-you">Double Coupons – They Could Cost You!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-the-nasty-secret-of-the-craigslist-free-section">Beware, The Nasty Secret Of The Craigslist Free Section</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-stuff-i-try-never-to-buy-new">The stuff I try never to buy new</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Consumer Affairs Shopping diapers free baby stuff Paid surveys Thu, 18 Feb 2010 14:00:03 +0000 Maggie Walters 5281 at http://www.wisebread.com