Step 8: Free Mulch
So instead of looking for mulch at your local home improvement store, try taking a walk down the street. Chances are that your neighbors are as anxious to get rid of their dried leaves as you are to have them. Sometimes you can even find them bagged and ready for you to take (the leaves, not the neighbors). I like to get sawdust from behind a warehouse on my way home from work.
Also, remember the landfill? If your landfill makes free compost then chances are that they make free mulch too. Make sure you give them a call!
*Be careful using sawdust. Don't use dust from pressure treated wood and always mix it with something like coffee grounds or grass clippings or it will suck nitrogen out of the soil.
Furthermore, an important note to my northern comrades: While on your quest for mulch you may come across the idea that hay is the answer. JUST SAY NO! Hay contains seeds, and a thick mulching of hay will cause you countless hours of weeding. I read somewhere that if you soak it in water a few days you'll kill the seeds but I wouldn't take the chance.