The Selfish Hippie 2: Full Throttle

I write for a humor blog with two friends, James Malins and Cherie Michiko, called Misusing Big Words. This post was originally published here:
This is the second installment of the Selfish Hippie. For the previous post, go back.

As you know, I’m a fan of conserving, but I don’t do it for the environment. No, Mother Nature is getting the fringe benefits of my selfishness. I conserve because I’ve found ways to do it that help me and the economy, financially. Here’s some of the more recent ways to save money by being hippie-like.

Take Stuff from Work
This one is a given: slowly siphon pens, paper, paper clips, tape, glue, scissors, etc. from your desk or supply closet at the office. Let's face it, they don't really need one set of each of these for every desk; people are irresponsible and will lose them somehow anyway. This way, you are constantly borrowing each others materials, building a community (which hippies love) and at the same time sticking it to the man in a small way.

Reverse Junk Mail
Speaking of sticking it to the man, here's a miniscule but fun way to punish companies who send unsolicited mail while at the same time supporting your government (that way you don't have to feel bad stealing from the government at other times). Those credit card offers you get every week all come with a pre-paid self-addressed envelope. If you simply throw away the offer, the company has spent about 1 cent sending that to you. However, if you send them back that pre-paid envelope, it now costs them 39 cents at least (more as postage rates go up). Just make sure you don’t include any personal info so they don’t think you’re signing up for their crappy offer. (Some people go even further with this...)

Get Your Sh*t Together
Every month or two, do a complete full scale assault on bedrooms, closets, cabinets, common areas, garages, etc... anywhere you keep a lot of junk. Go through and clean and organize all the junk, and you'll be amazed at the things you find. About 1/4 of it you can sell on eBay, 1/4 you can donate to charity ($$ tax write-off $$), 1/4 you’ll likely want to keep or can reuse somehow, and 1/4 of it you can throw away.

"Trade" with Your Workplace
Speaking of reusing old junk, oftentimes cleaning out a home office will yield all kinds of strange office supplies which you probably never used (for instance, that industrial sized box of paper clips you bought at Costco because, well, you never know when you'll need to clip paper together). You could keep these in your home office if you want, but it’s a much more practical idea to bring them to your work. Offices use this kind of stuff all of the time, so you might as well give back a little, since you won't be using them. Plus, this way there's no guilt for pilfering stuff from your office (see above). This way, you're not even stealing, you're trading!

Do you have any tips on how to become a Selfish Hippie? Look for more installments in the near future.
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