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Dumpster Diving to Survive… Would YOU?!

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Kimberly, a reader, emailed me this very interesting and thought-provoking article. It really got me wondering and thinking.  It may make you scratch your head as well. So the BIG question remains…

Would you dumpster dive to survive?

Read the article here and let me know what you think.

Join The Discussion

Comments 393

  1. Amy

    Not this germaphobe…but if I had exhausted all other avenues (food stamps, asking friends/family, moving into a smaller place, selling all my belongings), I can’t say that I wouldn’t get over my phobia.

    • Cathy BB

      I’m a big wimp about germs! I was so happy to hear about this guy’s cleaning process when I read the article! =)

  2. Rebecca

    While I haven’t dumpster dived before, two of my good friends do it on a regular basis. One is very involved with the homeless community and has found it to be a great way to serve and help people find food. It’s also helped near-homeless folks keep a roof over their heads by saving money on groceries. Another friend of mind dumpster dives for luxury items. She’s had great hauls from Pier 1, things that were slightly damaged or some that weren’t at all!

  3. Amber

    There are too many other resources available, so I would have to say no- I would not. These other resources may take a little more time and effort, but I would much rather ask for help than jump into a big trashcan not knowing what I was getting into. No matter how little you make, when you live within your means, budget your money, coupon and use the good head God gave your on your shoulders, it’s pretty likely that you would not find yourself in “survival mode” to justify doing this. I’m not too proud, or “above” dumpster diving, I just don’t think it’s a necessity like some people are making it out to be. This man is not in “survival mode” he just wants a little extra money because times are “tight”. The question at hand is not appropriate to the article IMHO.

    Grabbing coupons out of the recycle bin, or furniture beside the dumpster may be one thing, but pulling products out of the dumpster is another.

    For those of you who have had absolutely not other choice but to resort to this, I pray better things come in your near future!

  4. Amanda

    Things I rescued from the dumpster this summer:
    A gorgeous red Broyhill armchair with ottoman… steam cleaned and like brand new. I should post a pic. It’s fabulous! Aaaaand the Bissell Little Green Machine I steam cleaned it with was a dumpster rescue too!
    A toddler-size barbie brand vanity with chair… a little bleach and it’s my daughter’s new favorite toy. These retail at $70.
    I dig for Coke Rewards all the time too. Last month we got a free box of Omaha Steaks delivered to our door.
    We just bought a house, but I think the great dumpster finds (and not having to shovel/mow) is all I will miss about apartment living.

    • Resourceful gal

      Amanda, you are my new hero! Good for you!

  5. Tiffany

    I have gone dumpster diving. I used to do it at the end of the school year in college. College students would throw away tons of things at the end of the school year. I would get boxes full of unopened groceries and perfectly good household items. One year I got 23 bottles of unopened arizona iced tea. We would also pick up textbooks and with one simple trip to the campus bookstore I made $350. I also found a stack of coupons for free starbucks drinks. I would also pick up useable things to give to goodwill so that it wouldn’t end up in the trash. Even though there were plenty of donation bins around campus for clothes, I would still find bags of clothing in the trash that I would take to donation bins myself.
    I just can’t stand to see what gets thrown out instead of given away to others in need. Our society has a major problem with waste. As an environmentally conscious individual I feel an obligation to save as much from landfills as possible, even if that means extra work for me (cleaning things and dropping off at a thrift store).

    • Kelli

      It amazes me as well. There are lots of people in my city that use craigslist and freecycle, but there are way more people that don’t. It breaks my heart.

    • Cathy BB

      WOW that is awesome of you to dive and donate! Yay for you! =)

  6. muser

    Anyone who lives near a university knows that privileged people are wasteful and you can find lots of good stuff in those dumpsters!

    • Margaret

      How incredibly insulting of you. First of all, not all college students are privileged…in fact, most are on serious financial aid, especially in this economy. I ALWAYS worked a job while in school on top of being on a VERY tight budget. Secondly, most are not wasteful! I couponed and watched every cent I spent. Please do not make gross generalizations about “privileged people” when clearly you have no idea what you’re talking about.

  7. Dee

    I would love to go dumpster diving! Nordstrom’s anyone?

  8. wacantrell

    I have done this, not for food but for other good items inside. I’ve been doing it for years. Almost all my lawn furniture came from trash. Good cleaning and new paint they look new. I know a lot of people who do this. There is nothing wrong with it and can save money.

  9. cindy

    Where there is a will there is a way. Some may snub their noses at the “way” others choose, but if an individual’s purpose is served by dumpster diving to save money or make money, with no harm inflicted, and no laws broken I say bravo.
    I get “snubbed” all the time for using coupons. I also have people follow me around in the store to learn how to use coupons.
    The only thing I see which needs to be permanently discarded is arrogance and pride.

  10. anonymous

    Only a few of my friends know..but I go dumpster diving one a week to a recycle bin. I never have to pay for coupons this way. And with a bunch of coupons sometimes I can get a lot of items free. Last month a family was struggling in our community so I donated over $300 worth of food items and personal care items that maybe cost me $30. I would not be able to do this if I didn’t get all those coupons for free. I also dig threw the cardboard to get coke rewards and take a quick peak over the plastic bin. We have found big plastic bins with lids that just needed a lil cleanup and look new and no one knows. We have also found brand new cards, brand new word search books and more. My mom, sister(who is 7 months pregnant), and I love doing it. We have so much fun!!

  11. Ketsy

    Omgosh! I really let this stuff get to me. I found it difficult to fall asleep last night to the extent that I nagged my partner to sleep. lol

  12. Misty

    I read a few comments that called this man, in a few words, “greedy” because he dumpster dives partially to feed his family and also to feed his pocketbook.

    I have to disagree with those people who thought of him as unhip for doing this… that would be like saying a rich person shouldn’t use coupons. Who are we to judge?

    More power to everyone who dives! 😀

  13. Kim

    I dumpster dive EVERY week!!!!! I get almost all my coupons there!!! It’s like finding CASH!!!!!

  14. AnnieMouse

    You people are crazy. If you needed to climb into a dumpster to survive, that’s one thing. Climbing into a nasty receptacle to get some Arizona tea? Or lawn furniture? Toys for your children? Are you kidding? Are these necessities or is it just a case of the “wants”?

    Forget living within your means, purchasing what you need and living frugally. Nope, just hop into a dumpster and dig around.

    I don’t disagree that people are wasteful but it is no one’s obligation to expose themselves to disease to rescue “stuff”.

    • whitney

      I have to find your comment rude. I go to my local recycling bin and look threw papers. I get sooooo many coupons that people just toss out. I dont buy news papers any more because I am so frugal. I have drive by dumpsters and see stuff sitting besides them and think what can I do with that. I found a almost new cat tree, it would have been over 200 dollars at petsmart and all I did was steam clean it. I have found pretty flower planters, there are sooo many things I have found. I draw the line at jumping in, that is gross. I live a very frugal lifestyle, I have two kids and a hubby who loves the things I bring home. I have a cousin who goes to the recycling bin and gets out pop bottles (in Michigan we have a 10 cent deposit) He makes at least 80 dollars every time. I dont think I have ever “exposed myself to disease to rescues stuff.” Dont Judge People, You are Not God.

  15. Chandra

    I have seen videos about this before. Although there are people who have outstanding luck and get some pretty good stuff, I personally do not have the time. However, the inclination is there and I would do it once outta curiosity to see what I can find. I am not beyond get something for free, especially if a business is just throwing it out anyway.

    I say, WTG!!!! Woohoo for him!

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