My youngest graduated from her infant seat months ago, at least, she should have. She is as tired of sitting backward as I am of my bank account balance zeroing out. Some casual window-shopping at Wally World (Wal-Mart) put the price on such a seat at $40 and up. Reasonable, I suppose but that's a lot of cash when you don't have it.
Long story short nobody had a car seat they weren't using. The thrift shops didn't have any and the cheapest I found on Craigslist was $20. Better but still $20 more than I had.
So I posted on Freecycle that I wanted a toddler car seat. I'd been a member for a while but all I'd done with it was get rid of a box of books and a roll of carpet someone had given me. I didn't hold out much hope but it was a shot.
This morning, just a few days after my posting, I received an email from someone in my area who asked if I had a seat yet. They were clearing out some things and I could have it if I came and picked it up.
Here's the great thing about Freecycle, everything posted on it is FREE. It is a worldwide nonprofit, grassroots movement that is broken into local chapters. When I posted the carpet that I had I didn't have to pay anyone to remove it, I didn't have to drive it to a junkyard and waste it, instead three people contacted me and the first one who had contacted me came over that day and hauled it away.
The lady who took the books that I gave away stopped and talked a few moments and that's where I found out about cyberschool. I hadn't heard of it before. Two years later I have my daughter in cyberschool and I'm so grateful that I have that option.
I'm fortunate, I have enough family living close to me that we swap all kinds of things. If I'm done with something I offer it to them first and vice versa. But so many people have moved away from their roots that they don't have family to swap with. Freecycle connects neighbors and saves perfectly good items from being thrown away as junk.
I felt victorious to day as I drove off with my new-to-me free seat! I had bypassed the system. I'd kept my cash in my...okay, I don't have cash in my pocket but metaphorically I kept it there!
Now I'm looking at this infant car seat and, tempted as I am to sell it, I know that it's the Right Thing to Do to post it on Freecycle. I'm far from the only person suffering from lack of funds to help someone else with their personal economy.
Sometimes the answer isn't to struggle with a broken system but to bypass it completely. At least until it is fixed.