If You Don’t Ask, You Don’t Get: Why You Should Never Feel Too Cheeky To Ask For A Freebie

Over these last few months I have become King of the freebie, a pretty bold statement you might think, but the amount of goodies I’ve been able to source this year is pretty phenomenal.

It started with joining in with the ‘5 Frugal / Thrifty Things I’ve Done This Week’ linky, it focused me to try and skim even more money from my outgoings.

I’m a cheeky git by nature and certainly never too shy to ask for anything.    

Maybe a lot of it comes from being a salesman for years, any sales person worth their salt will tell you, if you don’t ask you don’t get, always assume the sale!

Well, this year I’ve assumed that everyone wants to get rid of everything and I’ve marked my territory accordingly.

Once someone knows you’d quite like something of theirs, should they ever choose to get rid they sort of come to you with everything when it comes to spring cleaning time etc.

I live in quite an affluent area, I’m not rich, like seriously NOT RICH, not even well off or comfortable to be perfectly honest, but many around me are.

I have some spendthrift friends with money to burn, or so it seems, and they will just throw perfectly good items out rather than spend a few moments of effort reselling them, or even giving them away as a freebie.

It started when I found out my friend had binned a perfectly good coffee table, I say good, it was bloody lovely.

Now, as it happens, it wouldn’t have fit in my living room, but I couldn’t help think someone starting off in their first home, or a single mum low on funds could have benefited from it massively.

Hey, after all if it’s just going to slung in the trash, at least give it to someone who could really make some good use out of it right?

That was the last time this particular friend threw anything out without consulting me first, and it’s paid dividends!

My freebie haul so far this year

Spendthrift Sally

OK, so a large chunk of this comes from my friend, for the purpose of this let’s refer to her as Spendthrift Sally!

Our Sally was having a right old clearout this year, and, after discovering the coffee table mentioned above had found its way onto the tip I wasn’t taking any risks with any future unwanted items.

So far from simply telling our Sally not to throw anything out without speaking to me first I’ve managed to acquire:

  • A lovely, modern glass top side table which was being used to hold her iMac – It is currently being used in my spare room as a TV unit.
  • A laptop – Yeah seriously, Sally’s mum was having a clear-out at her place of work so I bagged a perfectly good laptop for naff all.
  • A steam cleaner – Again in perfect working order and looked like it had hardly been used. Great for someone with asthma who suffers from the fumes given off by cleaning products!
  • Document storage boxes – You know the ‘shit drawer’ we all have in our kitchens? Yeah, well mine has gone never to return!

I’ve done really well from our Sally as you can see.

However, my freebies haven’t been limited to Sally, oh no!

My former employer

The company I used to work for recently relocated to a different office block (before I had left) and had a huge surplus of equipment they no longer needed and I managed to pick up:

  • A computer desk – Kind of handy when you work from home and need your own work space.
  • Two screens – This might seem excessive to some, but as lot of my freelance work is research based, plus, with images etc needed for blogs, two screens comes in handy when you’re working from a laptop.
  • A computer chair – I thought I may as well bag this to go with my desk!

Again, not just taking stuff for the sake of it, all things I needed desperately and would have had to fork out from my own pocket otherwise.

Cafe freebie haul

I sort of fell into investing into a cafe on the way out of my previous job, you know how it is!

We didn’t have much budget to do the refurbishments we needed so had to think smart about how we were going to go about it.

As mentioned above, my former employer relocated offices, this was due to the building they were in being sold to be transformed into swanky new apartments.

Well, that building contained plenty of things that would have found their way into a skip I could make use of, plus, it’s just across the road from the cafe!

I managed to salvage:

  • A water heater – Ours was on the way out, literally, and grabbing this saved us a fair few quid.
  • A hand dryer – We didn’t even have one for the toilet so it was very much appreciated.
  • A breakfast bar – If you have ever seen the cost of these you could be forgiven for passing out, thankfully mine was completely free.
  • Artwork – The art pieces I picked up on a freebie most certainly cost someone in excess of £200!

Getting all that free for a fledgling business venture was priceless to me. Another added bonus was we paid a friend in food to fit it all!

Other places I stalk for bargains and the odd freebie

If you live in an affluent area, or close to one, I highly suggest keeping an eye out on Facebook buy, sell and swap groups in those areas.

What I have found is the more money people have, the less monetary value they place on things they are getting rid of – probably because they don’t need the money to put towards the shiny, new replacement!  

I have been on the lookout for a new bedroom suite, I say that like it’s been a few weeks, in reality it’s been 8 months!

Being a thrifty, money saving, tightwad I’ve been holding my nerve, that was until my bedroom took me to the brink of despair.

I’m sick of the makeshift bullshizzle way I’ve been living and set myself the challenge of having it sorted by the end of this month.

The furniture Gods must have been looking down on me this weekend as a full, matching bedroom set (2 double wardrobes, a single wardrobe and two bedside cabinets) popped up in the Hale & Altrincham Facebook group.

The lady who was selling them had to purchase them with her new house to push through the completion date and effectively been left with a house full of possessions she didn’t want or need.

This particular set was advertised for £50, at least £150 too cheap for the quality of what she was flogging, I swooped with an offer of £30 and a promise to pick them up within the hour.

She ripped my hand off, what’s more, I super blagged the guy decorating her house to dismantle them for me ready for collection – WINNER!

Final word

The cafe has really got me into upcycling, so I now stalk Facebook and eBay for anything that I can upcycle and use myself, or sell on for a profit.

There are always bargains to be had, don’t feel too cheeky to ask for freebies and certainly don’t be too shy to haggle, most importantly NEVER forget the golden rule…

If you don’t ask, you don’t get!

Thinking Thrifty
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Thinking Thrifty

David Naylor is the editor of the Thinking Thrifty blog. An award winning personal finance and lifestyle blogger, he shows how it is possible to live extremely well for less.
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13 thoughts on “If You Don’t Ask, You Don’t Get: Why You Should Never Feel Too Cheeky To Ask For A Freebie

  1. Fantastic! Love that you snagged some furniture and that you’re up cycling as much as you can. There is already enough “stuff” out there ending up in landfills – let it be known you’re looking for it and so shall it appear!

  2. Wow, a laptop?! I can’t believe it!! I really think people need to always consider giving away what they no longer want because someone else might really enjoy it and not have the means to get something like that otherwise.

  3. Wow you’ve managed to get so many great things! I feel like I’ve done the opposite this year and its just spend spend spend all the time! I’m always scouring eBay and Etsy but always get sidetracked with more expensive things. We’re having a good clear out at the weekend and loading lots of stuff on eBay!

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