Saving money

What you can get for free in Bonn in the region

In Fair-Teilern, öffentlichen Kühlschränken oder Regalen, kann Essen abgegeben werden. Bedienen darf sich jeder. Gabi Kaffka-Hummel betreut die Nürnberger Foodsharing-Initiative.

“Foodsharing” collects food which otherwise might be thrown away and distributes it free of charge.

BONN.  . Whether we are talking about things like furniture and housewares, services or food, there is much that you can get or do for free in Bonn.  Here’s a look at how you can save money by taking advantage of these offers. 

In Bonn, there are lots of ways to save a little money.  Free admission is offered for some places and events, there is free clothing to be had and there are leisure time activities that don’t cost you a thing.  There is simply a large variety of possibilities.  Here is a look at where to go and what to do if you want to go easy on the pocketbook.

Free furniture, books, clothes or other items

"Does anyone have a coffee machine for me?", "Moving boxes to give away", "I'm looking for a sofa for my new apartment" - all these requests are typical in the Bonn Facebook group "Free Your Stuff". What one person no longer needs may have great value for another. The members of the Facebook group simply talk to each other. It means that sometimes you can avoid an expensive new purchase. Questions don’t cost anything and usually one of the "Free Your Stuff" users has exactly what you are looking for and they give it away for free. It gives especially students the chance to furnish their apartments at little cost.

It’s similar with clothing exchange parties put on by Greenpeace Bonn, Femnet and the Ermekeil initiative. These take place in the Ermekeilkaserne (Ermekeil barracks) in Bonn's Südstadt. Everyone can bring clothing they don’t wear anymore. The items are distributed in a room on clothing racks. Visitors can browse around and if they like something, they can just take it along. New pieces for the wardrobe without spending a penny. It’s also friendly for the environment. 

Throughout the city, there are also bookcases where residents drop off books they don’t need anymore.  One can have a look through and take a book home without any cost, and it’s always a surprise as to what one will find in those book shelves.

Leisure activities that won’t cost you a penny

Even a day trip does not have to be expensive. Numerous museums open their exhibitions free of charge. The best known example in Bonn is the Haus der Geschichte (House of History). Some other examples are the Akademische Kunstmuseum (Academic Art Museum), the Gedenkstätte für die Bonner Opfer des Nationalsozialismus, (Memorial to the Bonn Victims of National Socialism), the Schumann House or the Rhineland Museum of Painters (Rheinische Malermuseum) Bonn. A list of all museums with free admission is available here: http://www.rheinischemuseen.de/museen?region=&place=p-reg-o013&type=&name=&keyword=&free=on&sort=place&page=1

Wild boar, fallow deer, sheep, donkeys and even kangaroos can be found in the wildlife and animal parks in Bonn and the region. Admission to many of these parks is free, for example the Waldau Bonn, the Lindenthaler animal park or the wildlife reserve Brück. For an overview of wildlife parks in the region, please see our story: http://www.general-anzeiger-bonn.de/ga-english/Animal-parks-in-Bonn-and-the-region-article3878862.html

For some, free time is best used to do something to keep in shape.  And the City Sports Association of Bonn offers courses in everything from Zumba to yoga or pilates to aqua jogging or interval training.  The courses are held outdoors in summer, running until the end of September when the weather turns.  Here’s a look at the program in our story: http://www.general-anzeiger-bonn.de/ga-english/25-clubs-are-taking-part-in-sports-week-article3948925.html  University students also have the opportunity to take advantage of some sports programs which don’t require a fee. 

Of course it requires less physical exertion to just attend a sports game.  Bonn has it own baseball team, the Bonn Capitals who play home games at the baseball diamond in the Rheinaue.  Regular season games offer free admission.  At the  moment, the Capitals are in the semi-final of the championships and play the deciding fifth game on September 29 in Bonn. 

Sharing food instead of throwing it away

The organization "Foodsharing" is active in many cities, working to prevent food waste in private households and in businesses small and large.  It cooperates with around 40 supermarkets, restaurants and bakeries, regularly picking up food that can no longer be sold.  More than 500 volunteers work at “Foodsharing.”  The food that is collected is distributed to private persons and the homeless.  Events are posted on a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/foodsharingbonn/

Free help with everyday challenges

Attaching a ceiling light, repairing a bicycle or moving from one place to another - not everyone can afford to hire specialists for these tasks. And Bonners have shown they are willing to help out here as well. The Facebook group "Free Your Craft" is a platform where people can ask for help or offer help. And the forms of help vary greatly.  It can be about help with a broken computer, a home repair or even practical tips on how to fix something yourself.

Speaking of repair: Volunteers all over Bonn and the region have made it their mission to repair broken items instead of throwing them away. The so-called Repair Cafés can be visited free of charge. Volunteers take a good look at the broken objects and usually get them up and running again in the blink of an eye. Like the clothing exchange parties and foodsharing, they are aimed at reducing waste and shaping consumption behavior.  Here is a list of all repair cafés in Bonn: http://www.repaircafebonn.de/

University students can take advantage of free assistance with Asta Bonn: http://www.asta-bonn.de/Hauptseite  There are bicycle and computer workshops and students can also receive free legal advice.  In such cases, an initial assessment is made of the legal position of the student, and the next possible steps are spelled out.  Asta also offers assistance when it comes to mental health issues.  Students receive a first and second visit and are then referred to a counseling center or a doctor.  

Orig. text: Sofia Grillo

Translation: ck