Friday, January 6, 2012

I Love Free Stuff!

When we first moved into our condo I found that I was using a lot of hot water when I showered.  In our house we always used low-flow shower heads, mostly because of my penchant for long, hot shower and also because we didn't want to receive huge water bills.  Now that we are renting a condo, the water is actually free--it's included in the monthly condo fee--but the electricity to heat the water isn't free and I am kind of afraid to see what our first official electric bill will be.  So...after checking Walmart for low-flow shower heads and finding that they were around $12, I decided to see if I could find one for free, and, surprise, I did!  That's them in the picture above.  Here's a bunch of cool free things you may be able to find in your community:
  • Low-flow shower heads and sink faucet aerators.  Many utility/water companies will provide these for free to help their customers conserve water and save money.
  • Energy audit and insulation.  Some electric companies will provide free energy audits and insulation products in order to help their customers conserve electricity and save money.
  • Fire/smoke detectors.  Local fire departments often give these away for free in order to reduce the risk of house fires and keep their constituents safe.
  • Vaccinations.  The health district where I used to live would hold bi-annual vaccination clinics where they would provide basic vaccinations (hepatitis, tetanus, influenza, etc) for free to anyone in the community who wanted them. 
  • Bicycle helmets.  The fire districts where I used to live provided bicycle helmets for free to anyone in the community who wanted one.  There was a big push to prevent bicycling injuries, especially for children, and there were a lot of grant funds expended to make sure anyone who wanted a helmet could have one.
  • Child safety seats and booster seats.  There were a couple of organizations in our former community that also provided free child safety seats and booster seats for those who needed them.  Usually there was a requirement that the people who received the seats were low income but no one was turned away if they really needed one.
  • Life jackets.  Again, there were a couple of organizations that would also provide life jackets to those in need (we lived in a community surrounded by water).
  • Health services.  A random assortment of health services--everything from blood pressure checks to diabetes checks to mammograms and pap tests--may be provided free of charge at various locations around your community.  Health fairs may offer some of these services, and pharmacies often provide simple blood pressure screenings, while health districts and free clinics may offer more clinical-type services (there are a couple of nation-wide grant programs that provide free mammograms and paps through various community health organizations, while pregnancy tests and HIV tests are usually provided free through health departments).
  • CPR classes.  Fire departments and the Red Cross often offer free CPR/basic first aid classes to the public.
  • Free classes.  I am a big fan of learning new things so I check a variety of websites (library, local university, online newspaper, etc) to find out if there are any free classes being held in the community that I can attend (I got my HAM radio operator license once this way because the class was being offered free of charge).
So while you are thinking about low cost ways to get the things you need (food, department store items) also consider that the items you want and need may be free.  Try Googling free plus the name of the item you want plus the name of your city or town and see what pops up!

1 comment:

  1. What a great list. I know our fire department gives out free smoke detectors but I never thought of trying other things.

    thanks for the idea