So, it’s finally happened. After months of waiting and unknown, the Cleveland office where I have been working has closed its doors and I lost my job. Bummer. Over the past year I’ve watched as our office went from about 45 employees to the 5 remaining people, myself included, who were shown the door last week. Just weeks before my 25th birthday, this isn’t exactly what I had planned for at this time in my life, but it’s the best time to happen and it’s provided new inspiration for the blog.
Now what? How do I keep my mind from turning to mush while I search for new employment? Finding new ways to bring you the best of Cleveland at bargain prices should do the trick!
Free Services – The Library
Since I really am living off my last dollars these days it’s important to know what free or discounted services are available in Greater Cleveland. Each post I’ll bring you a new service or program that will benefit you without dipping into your wallet. This week, the library. My hang out is the Lakewood Public Library, but the Cleveland Public Library also offers a variety of amenities.
Not only is the library home to the latest best sellers, how-to’s, autobiographies, novels and loads of other books, but the library also hosts hundreds of DVDs and CDs giving you FREE access to new releases, TV series and all sorts of music. This free entertainment is great for penny-pinchers like myself who want the latest and greatest but without the cost.
Another perk about the library, FREE Internet! For those of us looking to save a little extra and don’t have home Internet access, the library’s computer lab is a great alternative. You can check your email, tweet, post Facebook updates and chat on-line just like any other computer but again, without the cost. Some library’s even provide Wi-Fi and limited, free printing.
Along with these FREE services the library hosts guest authors, books sales and other special events that makes this establishment an integral part of our community and our everyday lives.
- West Side Market
The West Side Market
Another awesome money saver is the West Side Market. Located on W.25th and Lorain in Ohio City, the market is the best way to add value to your dollars when it comes to grocery shopping. With over 100 vendors selling a delicious medley of fruits, veggies, meats, cheeses, bakery, pasta, spices and ready-made meals the market provides fresh, friendly, one-stop shopping with low cost pricing. As a market regular I know just how far I can stretch twenty bucks and yet it amazes me every weekend.
The market offers more than just fresh food though, it shows the true community that lives in Cleveland. On Saturday mornings, by far the busiest time at the market, you run into hundreds of new and familiar faces as everyone loads up on their week’s worth of groceries. It’s always a great feeling when you visit your favorite vendor, hand over your eco-friendly canvas bag, fill up on the best selection of vegetables and fruits and know that your dollars are going to support the local community. It’s another added value to shopping at the market.
A few tips for shopping at the West Side Market:
1. The market has limited hours so plan accordingly- Monday & Wednesday: 7am – 4pm Friday & Saturday: 7am – 6pm 2. Remember Saturday is the busiest market day so come early for the best selection and be patient with the crowds.
3. Use canvas bags, they are sturdy and easier to carry when walking through the aisles.
4. Bring cash, including coins, and set a limit. It’s easy to get carried away when you see all this great food, so purchase what you came for and remember the goodies for next week’s list.
5. Many vendors do accept credit cards which is convenient for larger purchases such as meat. Check the Vendor list to find out what forms of payment are accepted.
Time to Give Back
Now that you’ve taken advantage of the valuable services Cleveland has to offer, it’s time to give a little of your free time and volunteer. It’s important to support your city and the programs it provides for individuals in need. Cleveland has plenty of organizations that are constantly looking for volunteers and appreciate any time that you are able to offer.
Here are just a few examples of volunteer opportunities in CLE:
Cleveland Foodbank - The Cleveland Foodbank offers a variety of ways to volunteer including packing and sorting food donations, special events, administrative tasks and preparing hot food in the Cleveland Community Kitchen. Fill out this Volunteer Registration Form to get started.
Business Volunteers Unlimited - Funded by the United Way of Greater Cleveland the Business Volunteers Unlimited connects hundreds of non-profits organization and thousands of volunteer opportunities with citizens in Greater Cleveland who are willing to help. Check out upcoming opportunities and sign up, here.
USO of Northern Ohio - Despite your thoughts and feelings on our current situation, I believe it is important to show our support to the individuals who serve in the military and their families. Read the list of ways to help, here. I personally think the USO Lounge at Cleveland Hopkins Airport sounds interesting.
Add your personal value to Cleveland and take some time to volunteer.
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