Are you a bin bagger or a dumpster diver? Alison Brace finds out how your house could become home of the free
Now imagine if you could live for free. No hefty supermarket bills and no shelling out on consumer durables. Impossible? Not if you subscribe to freeganism.
No, it's not a monthly magazine, but a group of people who live off the fat of our consumer excesses - all the stuff that is chucked away.
Freegans rummage through the bins of supermarkets and restaurants and rescue perfectly good food just past its sell-by date. If you are a freegan, dinner is always a surprise - and it costs nothing.
If you're a true freegan who has rejected the capitalist economy, your dining table will probably have come out of a skip as well. In America, this practice is known as "dumpster diving". Here it's called, well, raiding people's skips...
So live for free. Easy. Work, go home, plan lessons, mark Year 8 English essays and then hang around the back of your supermarket until closing time. And don't fear your foraging habit might give rise to gossip in the staffroom; it could result in the occasional free treat.
Consumer champion Which? recently had a look at this new way of life. Aside from the Government benefits you might be missing - see www.hmrc.gov.uk - and perks from your bank, there are lots of freebies to be had online.
Websites such as www.yougov.com will pay you up to pound;2.50 a time to complete a questionnaire. When you have earned pound;50 you receive a cheque. Which? suggests that if you really have to part with cash, then why not get some back by buying through websites such as www.ecashback.co.uk, www.greasypalm.co.uk, www.mrscashback.com and www.quidco.com.
With ecashback, for instance, you earn pound;2.50 for just signing up and then you can take advantage of offers such as pound;60 back on a Lloyds TSB home insurance deal or 3 per cent cashback on purchases at www.amazon.co.uk.
Or how about writing a poem? ecashback will give you 25p for each poem you submit to www.poetry.com, sponsored by International Library of Poetry. Or why not make a video review for www.ciao.co.uk and earn pound;10?
The Wealthy Teacher has found some freebies of its own - websites such as www.voucherheaven.com pull together all the current free offers available online. And there are lots of them, ranging from two free flights for every pound;55 spent on flowers with www.flowersdirect.co.uk to a free box of office paper from www.cartridgemonkey.com.
Similar offers are available from the sites www.madabout bargains.co.uk and www.freestuffjunction.co.uk.
But if you're really done with this money thing, why not try shopping at http:www.uk.freecycle.org? The first UK Freecycle group was set up in London in 2003 and now there are 397 nationwide. Through the scheme you can acquire tables, chairs, washing machines - you name it - for free.
Likewise, you can advertise all the stuff you no longer need on its website. The idea is to recycle rather than dump.
At www.gumtree.com, you can swap your car and even your house or flat, as well as picking up the furnishings for free if you click on "freebies".
If you still can't find just what you are looking for, try www.swapshop.co.uk or www.swapz.co.uk.
When it comes to the classroom, there's no end of free resources available.
How about Resource Bank on The TES website (www.tes.co.ukResources) where teachers have placed more than 4,500 free resources since last year? Or Busy Bee certificates and pupil self-registration flowers from www.sparklebox.co.uk?
So, all you need now is a bit of free time to take advantage of all these offers. Now where can you get some of that from?
Free teaching resources: