No-Spend Zone: Freebies on Craigslist

I’ve gone and done it.  I’ve hit ‘free’.   Yes, in one week – a free haircut, a lawnmower (not involved in said haircut) and plants for the front yard.

Why is ‘free’ good if you’re at a store, but from used or other sources is frowned upon?  In order to stay within my budget this week I went to a new extreme – Free on Craigslist.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m trying to landscape on a budget.   This week I wanted to get more plants in the ground and was trying to figure out how to get the lawn mowed.  

You have to love Craigslist for these tight financial times.  I searched for lawnmower every morning and today I hit the jackpot – FREE.  I called immediately and arranged the pickup.  It’s old and crusty and has seen better years… but since I’m not making it a centerpiece in my living room, who cares?  Best of all, it cut the grass just fine.

I’ve been searching for perennials, specific ground cover plants, herbs and shrubs.  I was having some success but finally created a Wanted listing with all of the different plants I was hoping to find. 

I am in need of perennials, shrubs and trees for my landscape on little budget. I’ll look at almost anything!

Ideally I would like to get:

Perennials – especially salvias, coral bells, lily of the valley
Carolina Laurels
Emerald Carpet Manzanita (or other varieties)
Trailing rosemary
Trumpet Vine or Honeysuckle Vine

Italian Cypress

If you are in need of having your landscape thinned, I’m willing to dig these out and lend a hand in your landscape effort in exchange for the plants. If you have these to sell, I don’t have a lot but still want to hear from you on availability amd price.

Within a few hours I had four offers to come and take plants and shrubs.   Later that day I arrived home with roughly $60 worth of agapanthus and salvias – all for free.  They look great in the yard.  Slowly but surely I can get a front yard for very little.

This weekend I’m borrowing a weed whacker from a neighbor to clear our hillside.  The labor on this alone would have been a few hundred dollars.  The neighbor also has a chipper, so no fees to have debris hauled to the garden recycling center.   More money not going out the door.

Finally, I faced the reality that $70 haircuts (yes, that’s right) are way outside of the budget.  I love my stylist and she has cut my hair for over 13 years.  I feel a sense of betrayal but tough times call for tough measures.  I searched Craigslist for haircuts and there were a few in-training stylists in the area.  I called, went and came back with an OK cut.   On a scale of 1-10, I’d give it a 6.75.  I can live with that.

So the lawn is cut, my hair is cut, a few flowers are blooming… why do I still feel so glum?

Landscaping on a Budget – Home Depot Garden Club

I last posted about Landscaping on a Budget.  Here’s a new offer I came across that has some easy ways to save money.

When you join the Home Depot Garden Club you receive bi-weekly coupons and specials.  Noteworthy savings – buy one shrub, get one free.  This was a $16.99 savings which was great!  There were more expensive shrubs but none that I had on my list.

Whether or not you’re a regular shopper at Home Depot, the gardening tips in the newsletter and coupons are worth the disruption of electrons in your inbox.

Budget Landscaping – Save Money by Calling First

Time again I watch people spend time and money shuttling from place to place in search of a better price.  Why not call first?  It’s so obvious and simple yet seems to be a forgotten part of shopping.  Budget shoppers know better.  With gas prices north of $4 and wireless all-you-can-eat minutes, it’s like getting gas in your tank for free.

We are in the process of adding plants and shrubs to our yard.  Our budget is very limited and to the point of I’m adding plants bit by bit, funded by the sale of items I have on Craigslist.  Within a 15-mile radius there are approximately eight nurseries or garden centers including the big box stores such as Home Depot.  Before hopping in the car, I sat down with a notepad, pen, Google and a phone to call around to find out inventory and pricing.  In doing so, here’s what I found and eventually saved:

Star Jasmine – 1 gallon
Orchard Supply Hardware $4.99
Sloat Garden Center $7.99
Sunnyside Nursery $9.99
Home Depot N/A
Green Jeans Nursery $14.99

You can see prices ranged from $4.99 to $14.99 for the same plant.  In addition to getting prices, I also asked about inventory and condition.   The person at Orchard Supply was honest in saying that while they had 12 in stock, the plants were picked over and only 4-6 were good candidates. 

I ended up purchasing the viable plants from Orchard Supply while out on a loop of errands so not to make a special trip.