Cheap Issue

Great deals in Greater Lansing

Having fun on a budget in Greater Lansing

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Retail

 Sift through Flat, Black and Circular’s bargain bin 

Flat, Black and Circular, or FBC, has been a downtown East Lansing fixture since 1977. Vinyl record collecting can be pricey, but if you’re looking to explore music on a budget, FBC’s bargain bin is  stacked with used, affordable slabs of wax.  

“We have a 50-cent bin, a $1 record bin, and a $2.50 CD bin,” manager Jon Howard said. “We haven’t raised the price of those. We’re in our 45th year, and we’ve never raised the price since then.”  

Aside from saving dough, the bargain bin is a great place to expand your music taste and check out artists you’ve never listened to — which is why it’s been an iconic fixture of the shop since its genesis.   

“It’s a huge mix of things,” Howard said. “We either have too many copies of the title that hasn’t sold in the past or things that might have minor imperfections.” 

FBC is at 541 E. Grand River Ave. Suite #204 in East Lansing. While on the hunt, also scope out The Record Lounge in REO Town for more deals on records and top-notch used stereo equipment.  

 

Every day is Black Friday at Daily Dealz 

Daily Dealz, 5412 W. Saginaw Hwy. in the Lansing Mall, is a relatively new addition to the local bargain scene. The store comprises rows of bins filled to the brim with discounted items, such as clothing, electronics, toys, home decor and more. Their cost depends on the week’s day: $1 on Wednesdays, $2 on Tuesdays, $4 on Mondays, 6$ on Saturdays and $8 on Fridays. (No sale binds on Sundays.) The store is closed Thursdays.  

“What makes it very special is the idea of a treasure hunt,” owner Anan Abubaker said. “Some people have gotten iPhones for $8. Some have gotten an Xbox One for $6. Or an air fryer for $1 on Wednesday. It’s you, treasure hunting and figuring your way around those bins. That’s the fun part.”  

 

Browse Lansing’s Free and Cheap Store  

The name says it all. The Free and Cheap store, 1408 Lake Lansing Road, Lansing, is stocked by Lansing Junk Removal. Items in good enough shape to be reused in a new home are taken here to keep unnecessary things out of landfills. In this store, you can find just about anything for (you guessed it) a low price or free.  

Many previously owned furniture lands at this store, which can be great for an upcycling project. You’re helping the environment and saving money — a win-win.  

Go antiquing 

Hyped as Mid-Michigan’s “most unique shopping experience,” The Mega Mall can keep bargain hunters entertained for hours simply browsing the endless rows of vendor booths. There are both newer items and hard-to-find antique gems.  

“We have over 220 vendors, and our store is 40,000 square feet,” manager Heather Smith said. “We do antiques, vintage items, collectibles and home décor. There’s literally something for everybody here.” 

The mall also hosts a “Junk in the Trunk” outdoor flea market every Thursday. The mall is at 15487 Old U.S. 27, Lansing.  

No money? No problem. There are plenty of activities in the Lansing area that don’t cost a dime.  

Recreation

Spend some time outside  

Lansing has an abundance of free nature centers. Here are a few.  

Woldumar Nature Center, 5739 Old Lansing Road, Lansing, encompasses 180 acres. All are welcome to take in the wetland, prairie and woodland terrains and explore the hike-able trails. Trails are open dawn to dusk daily.  

Harris Nature Center, 3998 Van Atta Road, Okemos, boasts 200 acres of forest and meadows on the Red Cedar River. There is a paved half-mile trail open daily dawn to dusk. While you’re there, take in a live animal exhibit.  

Fenner Nature Center offers four miles of trails amid its 134 acres of green space. The center hosts free events, such as group hikes and environmental education storylines for children. Fenner is at 2020 E. Mt. Hope Ave., Lansing.  

Arts & Culture

Immerse yourself in art 

Nestled into Downtown Lansing is Lansing Community College’s Sculpture Walk. Each piece is a product of the imagination or engineering of an LCC graduate, alum or professor. The free outdoor exhibition showcases Lansing’s diverse artistic talent. Organizers say one of the most popular pieces, the stainless steel “Red Ribbon in the Sky,” stands 30 feet tall and is a must-see.  

The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at MSU might be a multi-million-dollar building, but it’s always free to visit. “Flint is Family in Three Acts,” a multi-part exhibition by renowned artist LaToya Ruby Frazier, is on display. Family day, the first Saturday of every month, offers “free hands-on and interactive family fun” throughout the museum. All ages are welcome.  

 Explore African History 

The All Around The African World Museum and Resource Center, 1136 Shepard St., Lansing, displays remarkable artifacts, pictures and printed materials. The mission? “To provide citizens of the United States and the world evidence of the presence of people of African descent in the history and development of the world and their contributions to the world’s continents.”  Guided appointments are available by appointment. At-will donations are accepted … but maybe don’t be cheap about that donation.   

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