Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Word of mouth

As a frugal living strategy, word of mouth can sometimes be very effective. It's amazing how often someone has the very thing you want sitting around gathering dust. People replace furniture and don't want to haul the older pieces down to the resell shop or they bought a sewing machine then decided they didn't like to sew. Or an elderly relative died, and they now have an extra car that they'd really love to sell. Simply mentioning to a few friends that you're looking for something can put it in their minds when someone else mentions that they want to be rid of something.

This works well with important items like furniture and even cars, but it can extend even better sometimes to luxuries. One example is my little tabletop loom. I used to have a floor loom, but I got rid of it because it takes up far too much room for an apartment. While I could do some small offloom weaving pieces, I really wanted to try some things that called for a loom. I ran into a friend who lives several hours away, a fellow weaver, and I was laughing about all the people we knew who just stumbled across bargains in small table looms because I had been watching for one for years. As it happened, she knows a lot more weavers than I do, and within a month or two, she e-mailed me to say that someone she knew needed to sell hers. She looked it over and assured me it was in good condition, and I knew it was more than worth the asking price. I mailed her the money (something you should only do with someone you trust, of course), she paid for the loom and kept it for me until we could get together again.

Another friend once brought me a box of crochet cotton from a garage sale, easily over $40 worth of yarn that she'd bought for less than $5 and asked if I wanted it. I was thrilled to get it for that price as I needed quite a bit for some practice projects at the time. She knew about this and knew that I'd been reluctant to spend the money for it.

I got a kitchen table 25 years ago when my oldest was a baby the same way, for free. Someone came across a man about to haul one out for the garbage and knew I didn't have one and asked if she could have it. That one wasn't even word of mouth, she knew we'd only been able to bring a little furniture back from our overseas assignment and noticed we didn't have one. 

I once swapped a pair of mukluk boots, suitable for ice fishing or hunting, for a more practical pair of snowboots because the other person mentioned that SHE needed a pair for ice fishing and couldn't afford them. As it happened, I had a pair of mukluks from my time in the military that I had no particular use for.

No comments: