Student Savings Tips, Part 2 (Poor Scholar Edition): 50 Excellent Freegan Living Resources

Are you a college student short on cash? Do you work full-time or multiple jobs to help pay the bills and cover tuition? Some students go so far as to adopt an entirely new lifestyle, known as Freeganism, in order to avoid or minimize financial pitfalls associated with higher education. This is no easy task, given the rather precarious tenets of this anti-consumerist way of life. However, if your pocketbook is drained and you’re up for a challenge, continue reading to find out if Freeganism jibes with your values and goals.

Freeganism earns considerable attention from a wide variety of communities. Environmentalists, the frugal, anarchists, anti-consumerists and others have thoroughly dissected its components – which, as the nomenclature implies – spending as little money as possible while living off what some people consider waste. But this lifestyle, as with any that dangle on the fringe of society, does not come without its controversies. The following blog posts represent a broad spectrum of opinions from passionate freegans to ardent critics, hoping to present the most balanced glimpse possible of the practice. It is up to individual readers to formulate their own educated guess regarding what they make of the philosophy and what they hope to take away from their lessons.

  1. “Freegan Fashion? You’d be Surprised!” at Freegan fashionista Lauri Apple, founder of FoundClothing, expounds upon the benefits of discovering perfectly viable apparel (sometimes even designer!) in dumpsters and other rubbish bins.
  2. “Veganism vs. Freeganism” at happyCow veggie blog: Both the vegan and freegan lifestyles concern themselves with ethical food, clothing, shelter and other necessities, but how far one wants to take their habits remains up to the individual.
  3. “Secret Freegan is Dumpster Diving’s Robin Hood” at TreeHugger: Grocery stores shockingly throw out thousands of dollars’ worth of food every week, and ardent freegans raid their dumpsters to make sure it does not go to waste.
  4. “Freegans: Anti-Consumerists or Just Tightwads?” at Neatorama: Neatorama presents a Los Angeles Times article for readers’ consideration, which concerns a former Barnes & Noble executive who quit her job in order to live a freegan life.
  5. “Zero Waste, Zero Greed, Zero Currency” at A Funky Freegan Journal: Passionate freegan and unapologetic idealist Grace shares her thoughts behind what the lifestyle means to her and how she hopes to influence the planet as a whole.
  6. “Freeganism” at An Experiment in Freeganism: Another dumpster diver, Mikey, discusses what motivated him to attempt a freegan existence. He uses his blog to chronicle the different treasures he discovers in Greensboro dumpsters.
  7. “Extreme Personal Finance: One Month as a Freegan” at Get Rich Slowly: No lifestyle is more frugal than that of the freegan, as J.D. Roth at the well-respected personal finance blog Get Rich Slowly points out in his series of resources on the subject.
  8. “Freeganism – The New Frontier” at Not Quite Nigella: Lorraine Elliott explains all the core components of freeganism and experiments with the lifestyle herself, showing off a shocking array of wasted products.
  9. “Mongo, Freegan and Dumpster Dive: Continuing the Life Cycle of ‘Junk’” at Sustainablog: Dumpsters provide great opportunities for enterprising and creative types to find household items and components for art pieces.
  10. “Freegan Out” at Fairfield Weekly: Foraging comprises a core component of freeganism, with adherents searching the woods for mushrooms and other edibles. This article features a couple of proud foragers and dumpster divers explaining how they navigate their lifestyle.
  11. “Freeganism: What’s Up With That?” at Tigers & Strawberries: Barbara Fisher supports the ideals behind the freegan philosophy, but she finds some of their practices on the unethical and self-serving side. Anyone considering sticking with the lifestyle should read her critique before making the commitment.
  12. “Dumpster Diving for Dinner – Freeganism Explored” at Crunchy Domestic Goddess: After Oprah jumped on the freegan media bandwagon, Amy Gates wondered about how it paralleled her own quest for eco-friendly living and minimizing waste.
  13. “New ‘Dumpster Diving Tips’ Video for Freegan Kitchen” at Freegan Kitchen: Learn the art of the dumpster dive – a staple of freegan living – with this informative video for insiders and curious outsiders alike.
  14. “Going Gratis” at Wasted Food: This relatively quick blog post discusses the very basics of dumpster diving and forging in the United Kingdom.
  15. “One man’s trash is another man’s dinner” at The Daily Princetonian: Even Ivy Leage students find something appealing about freeganism, and Princeton students expound upon how they apply its sensibilities to their specific surroundings.
  16. “Freegans Invade CosmoGIRL! Magazine” at College OTR: The mainstream media has picked up a multitude of stories both positive and negative about the freegan movement, and one proponent opens up about her experiences with the fluffy CosmoGIRL.
  17. “Freegans” at MoneySmarts: This personal finance blog takes a balanced look at freegan culture, analyzing both its positives and its negatives.
  18. “Dumpster Diving: The Easiest Way To Find Free Food” at Brave New Traveler: No matter what city in which one dumpster dives, it can prove a viable option for those wishing to dine for free and minimize the amount of waste in the world.
  19. “The Extremely Frugal Freegans” at Go Frugal Blog: People can say what they will about the freegans, but at least they do provide some valuable lessons in recycling, resourcefulness and reducing waste.
  20. “Oprah, Lisa Ling and Freegans, Oh My!” at MoonSeeds: Oprah, pinnacle of capitalism and consumerism, capitalizes on anti-capitalism and anti-consumerism by offering classes and peddling books to her legions. Chandra Sherin found this inspiring, and shares what she learned on her blog.
  21. “Freegan Travel: A Bad Idea” at BlogHer: Some people find the core concepts of freeganism on the extremist side, but those who wish to use it as a springboard for other frugal and socially-conscience pursuits can still find some inspiration in them.
  22. “What the Freak is A Freegan?” at Be sure to stop by the comments section of this post for a detailed discussion about the ins and outs and pros and cons of the freegan manifesto.
  23. “I Dream of Freegan Chic (Or Who’s Afraid of Freeganism?)” at SuperVegan: Patrick Kwan makes a case for rejecting the term “dumpster diving” as interchangeable with freeganism.
  24. “Freegans!” at The Small Axe: This blog post compares Freegans with other organizations who want to promote responsible, ethical and environmentally-friendly consumerism as well.
  25. “Freegan tips for the frugal” at Saving Advice: Going full freegan does not work for everyone, nor should it, but it still has some neat tips to offer those who must live on a budget.
  26. “A Trash Tour with the Freegans” at Making a Museum: Materializing Regimes of Value with the NYC Department of Sanitation: Join up with some New York-based freegans on a night out foraging for finds, usually discarded food items.
  27. “The Krispy Kreme ‘Freeganism’ Moment” at The Cincinnati Beacon: Although this post’s author does not subscribe to the freegan mindset, he does understand their perspective upon noticing a Krispy Kreme delivery guy dumping out perfectly fine donuts into a garbage bag.
  28. “Free To Be a Freegan” at Gothamist: Gothamist weighs in on the freegan fad with a cheeky, slightly critical eye and makes suggestions regarding charities with which grocery stores can work to feed the impoverished and reduce their waste.
  29. “Dumpster Diving for Charity – Listen In!” at Nature Moms Blog: One of the biggest critiques of the freegan movement is how the wasted food they “rescue” could go towards those who could not otherwise afford it themselves, as many of its adherents have jobs of their own. But Ginger Freebird shows the skeptics that some use its practices in the service of social justice.
  30. “Freegan life beyond capitalism” at Shambhala SunSpace: With one brief paragraph, a very popular Buddhist blog inquires whether or not the freegan mindset shares any parallels with the search for spiritual enlightenment.
  31. “Gardenless ? Compostless” at frugan living: Not content to waste any of their own leftovers, some freegans have found creative ways to compost in their own homes and donate the results to community gardens in their respective cities.
  32. “Ride along on a freegan Dumpster dive and save some cash” at Julia Scott’s Bargain Babe: Some components of freeganism line up with those attempting to eke out a frugal, financially mindful life. Even if taking it to the nth degree seems unappealing, there are some valuable lessons in waste to be learned here.
  33. “Freegans: The Ultimate Anti-Consumers” at It’s Your Money: Time’s Brad Tuttle explains the fundamentals of the freegan manifesto, but also critiques its not-exactly-sanitary elements.
  34. “Freeganism: You’re Doing it Wrong” at Fresh Greens: Reacting to a Dear Prudence column about a freegan sister who pays no heed to recalls or spoilage, U.S. News & World Report‘s Maura Judkis explains how to retrieve food from dumpsters without compromising safety and health.
  35. “The Roots Of Freeganism Part I: Food Waste” at The freegans pride themselves on clearing up food waste, but organizations such as City Harvest – which collects food about to be discarded for homeless shelters and soup kitchens – do their part as well.
  36. “Freegan behavior: living off throwaways” at Queercents: One writer defends freeganism as scavenging necessary for a society to function, giving life to the discarded that would otherwise take up landfill space.
  37. “Freegans are frugal people” at Simple Frugality: Not everyone can go full freegan, but those hoping to simplify and streamline their finances can still take something away from their philosophies.
  38. “Extreme Dumpster Diving – The Freegan Movement” at Design Public: Just because the freegan movement has some great anti-consumer points does not mean that everyone is terribly eager to participate.
  39. “NYC: Freegans, dumpster-diving & trash tours?” at Daily Travel & Deal Blog: Los Angeles Times blogger Jen Leo discusses the core components of freeganism, shares some popular online resources on the subject and posits a few questions to readers regarding their dumpster-diving habits, if any.
  40. “I am a FREEGAN – Is This Piece of Art In or Out? VOTE NOW!” at Linda Seccaspina’s Blog: Most articles tend to focus on freegans who dumpster dive for foodstuffs, but few realize how useful the practice can be for finding home décor as well.
  41. “Freegans: They Live Off What We Toss in the Trash” at Fire Starter: This eloquent blog posts peeks into how freeganism acts as a great supplement to a low-income family who has to do whatever it can to make it through day-to-day life as frugally as they can.
  42. “Word of the Day – Freegan” at Well Above Average: Writer Stella Louise dissects elements of the freegan manifesto and pokes gentle fun at them in the name of comedy and commentary.
  43. “Not (Quite) Buying It” at ox the punx: This incredibly insightful blog post delivers commentary on a popular news article about freeganism, taking a balanced look at how the philosophy and practices function.
  44. “What is Freeganism?” at Curbside Recycling: One blogger contemplates whether or not freeganism would make for a valid lifestyle choice, inquiring about other ways to participate in anti-consumer movements.
  45. “Enjoy ‘Freegan Fringe Benefits’ Without Diving Directly into a Dumpster” at Greenwala: Although freegan lifestyles cannot appeal to everyone, there are ways for individuals to stick with their anti-consumer, pro-environment sensibilities without having to go dumpster diving.
  46. “Freegan experiment preview” at The Cedar Valley Community Blog: For 7 days – each of them with their own corresponding blog post – Amy Steffen tested the freegan lifestyle to see what lessons she could glean from her experiences.
  47. “Freegan” at Blogosaurus StampedeThis blog post makes a passionate plea for the freegan cause, explaining their motivations in eloquent detail.
  48. “The Dalai Lama Might Just Be The Ultimate ‘Freegan’” at Debates rage over whether or not freegans should remain vegans or if it is permissible for them to eat meat if it means it does not go to waste. They use the Dalai Lama as an example, and the comments swarm with both defenses and chidings.
  49. “Could you be a freegan?” at Green Living: Shelagh McNally illustrates how those who find the idea of dumpster diving unappealing can still apply some of the freegan principles to their everyday existence.
  50. “What is a Freegan?” at Green Living Tips: The Green Living Tips blog looks upon the components of freeganism fondly, relating how it does benefit those who hope to live a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle.Beyond dumpster diving, freeganism espouses a number of different ecological and economic manifestos. Some may find them way too extreme to take seriously, some may relate to specific elements of the lifestyle and others may find themselves compelled to emulate their teachings to the core. Even then, though, they cannot escape the myriad fractions – such as the debate between staying vegan or making sure that animal products do not go to waste, the one regarding sharing with the homeless, or the ethics of shoplifting – that crop up from within the community itself. It is a very good idea to weigh the pros and cons of devoting oneself to the freegan philosophy before making the choice to practice some of its teachings.
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