By Liana Jacob
MEET THE frugal mum who has taken her family on a dream holiday to DISNEYLAND and saved OVER 9K during the past year by re-using and RE-SELLING BINNED ITEMS despite being labelled a “GROSS CRIMINAL”.
Youtuber, social media influencer and mum-of-three, Julie Rodriguez (37), who is living in Utah, USA, and her family have always had a desire to preserve everyday items and to discourage binning things that could hurt the environment.
Over the last 10 years, the Rodriguez family have used everyday objects from bins and skips either for their own personal use or to re-sell valuable objects that have helped them save money instead of spending their hard-earned cash.
In 2018, they have been on various holidays to Disneyland California, a volcanic hotspot in Wyoming and Seattle, while also recycling binned items like clothes, shoes, bed sheets, blankets, food, cleaning products, bin bags, furniture, decorations etc. They have spent only £160 ($200) for her Christmas holidays in 2018, which means that they have managed to save money for their holidays.
Overall, she has saved roughly over £9.5K ($12K) in 2018 through the method of dumpster-diving.
“We live on a single income, which pays our regular bills and our mortgage. My spouse works a regular, full-time job,” Julie said.
“The money I save us through dumpster-diving, (by finding items that we need and then don’t have to pay for), stretches our family budget and provides a surplus that we’ve been able to use for vacations.
“Along with that, I re-sell many of the items we’ve recovered, which provides a small supplemental fund to put towards our vacations.
“Between those efforts, and living incredibly frugally in our daily lives, avoiding credit card debt and any frivolous spending, we are able to pay cash for the things that we care most about, such as memory-making vacations and holidays.
“I have been called ‘gross’, a ‘criminal’, ‘morally irresponsible’, ‘selfish’, ‘embarrassing’. But I’ve also been called ‘brave’, ‘proactive’, ‘determined’, ‘revolutionary’, ‘inspiring’, ‘motivating’, ‘selfless’, and even a ‘super woman’. Attitudes and responses run the gamut.
“My spouse is a hard worker, a provider, a family man. He is passionate about the outdoors, cycling, and mountain biking.
“He has only recently come to accept and respect my forays into the dumpsters, having acknowledged the great benefit it has brought to our family.
“We have been able to use many of the things we have found in our everyday home life. These are things we would otherwise have had to pay for out of our family budget.
“The money we would have had to spend on those items and many others, plus the little bit that we’ve earned through reselling some of the treasures has gone towards several vacations and adventures.
“In 2018 we visited Disneyland, Yellowstone National Park, and Yuma, Arizona as a family. I was also able to take a one-on-one vacation to Seattle with my youngest child.
“I take one child each year on a dream vacation; in 2017, my oldest and I spent a week in New York City, all financed with dumpster diving savings.
“The year before that my son and I spent a week in Mexico. None of this would have been possible without dumpster-diving, hard work, and seriously frugal living.
“I have a desire to preserve something for my posterity and generations to come. I do not believe in an afterlife, therefore what we do here, the legacy we leave behind and the impact we create, is the true extent of our importance and the meaning of life.
“I began utilising social media to spread the message of environmental awareness, anti-consumerism, and mindfulness in consumerism and individual waste behaviours.
“I dumpster-dive to make a difference and to finance our dreams while still being able to embrace full-time motherhood.
“We are a single income family, with three children and a mortgage. We avoid consumer debt as much as possible and one has to get creative to maintain such a goal while still living a full and memorable life.”
Julie, who has children aged six, nine and 12, has used her creative approach to have the luxuries she wouldn’t have otherwise been able to afford and decided to share her lifestyle on social media.
“I hope to bring attention to the matters of hyper-consumption and how truly detrimental it is for the environment as well as the human psyche and living situation,” Julie said.
“I also want to raise awareness of the suffering we will bring on future generations with lack of positive action and a continuation of this snowball of consumption, production, and waste.
“All of the gifts we give, for any and every occasion, are wrapped in 100 percent dumpster-salvaged gift paper, gift bags and tissue papers or shreds, with all bows and ribbons from the bins.
“When we find brand new, sealed items in the bins, we keep large quantities of them to use in gifts. Social media has presented as the most effective avenue for raising awareness and bringing light to a global issue.
“Ultimately, I hope to inspire action, behavioural changes, new and better habits, and regard for the future.”
For more information visit: https://www.instagram.com/dumpsterdivingmama/