A dumpster-diving mum has used her unusual hobby to pay for vacations around the world.

Blogger Julie Rodriguez, 37 from Utah, has managed to offset her annual expenses by NZ$18,000 through simply selling on the discarded items she finds. Upcycling rubbish from bins has also allowed to indulge her other passion - travelling the world with her husband and three children.

This year she used the proceeds from "free-cycling" to pay for a dream holiday to Disneyland in California.

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Money from other people's cast-offs has also paid for family trips to Wyoming and Seattle.


Publishing her finds on social media under the name "Frugal Family", Rodriguez has revealed finds of jewellery, clothing and other valuable items.

"'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," the Utah mother-of-three told the Daily Mail.

Her hobby has also gained Rodriguez heaps of both judgment and praise, revealing she has been called "gross", "criminal", and "embarrassing" as often as "brave", "proactive" or even "revolutionary" by followers online.

Each year she takes one her children on a dream vacation to a destination of their choice, all paid for by dumpster diving.

In 2017 she took her oldest child to New York City for a week and in 2016 her son travelled with her to Mexico.

Most importantly, Rodriguez sees dumpster diving as a lesson in environmental awareness and "anti-consumerism."

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The family – Julie, her husband and their three children aged six, nine and twelve – live comfortably on a single income, but the "free-cycling" lifestyle is less about reducing costs and more about reducing waste.

Rodriguez uses her online presence "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".


She hopes her travels will inspire action for a less wasteful, responsible future.

For more on the Rodriguez's travels and alternative money-saving holiday tips follow Julie posts to Instagram as frugalfamilydumpsterdecor and YouTube as Frugal Family, Dumpster Decor, And More