What you need to know about the Buy Nothing project | Savings and budgeting


It sounds like the ultimate spending plan: buy nothing. If you haven’t heard of the concept, it’s spreading with the emergence of Buy Nothing groups around the world. Thank the Buy Nothing Project, a nonprofit organization with chapters now in 44 countries with over 6,500 communities.


So what is the Buy Nothing movement, and should you join a local Buy Nothing group?

Don’t worry: it’s not a cult, and the concept shouldn’t be taken to extremes. Yes, you can still buy stuff. We will explain.

What is the Buy Nothing project?

In 2013, two friends, Rebecca Rockefeller and Liesl Clark, started a gift group in Bainbridge Island, Washington. The idea was that instead of bartering or giving gifts with conditions, you would just give things you don’t want to people in your community who might be able to use them. And what do you get in return? I hope a nice thank you.

In Buy Nothing groups, members donate everything from baby gear to furniture, but it’s not always “stuff”. Sometimes people give or receive expertise, says Katie Emery, a Los Angeles resident who belongs to a Buy Nothing group. For example, she says that a member of her group offered to donate an hour of her time to advise someone on gardening.

“I’m a newbie gardener, so I accepted her offer. She spent over an hour with me and showed me which plants would work best in different sections of my garden, and even showed me how to organize. my potted plants better, “Emery says.” This hour has meant a lot to me, and I hope to give back my own knowledge to my community soon. It was so inspiring. “

Another member offered a starter to the centennial sourdough, says Emery.

“Suddenly everyone in the neighborhood was learning how to bake sourdough bread. And even the finished bread was offered to other neighbors,” Emery says. “It was such a great experience, I cannot recommend it highly enough.”

Where can I find Buy Nothing groups near me?

The Buy Nothing Project provides links to Facebook groups in states, cities, and sometimes neighborhoods. Most of the Buy Nothing groups are on Facebook, and the Buy Nothing Project is also working on an app.

How does buying nothing work

After joining a local group, you can ask for things you want or need or donate things you would like to give – or a little of both. You can also lend items to people in your community.

Saying “thank you” is the primary payment method for getting free items, so be sure to make it clear to the donor that you appreciate what you receive.

Here are some of the top reasons for joining a group, according to members:

Save money and live better. Daniela Sawyer, in San Mateo, Calif., Has been with a Buy Nothing group for about six years – in part, she says, because money was tight.

“Buy Nothing allowed me to buy second-hand clothes, shoes, novels and toys for my kids,” says Sawyer.

Do something good for the planet. Sawyer says she loves her band Buy Nothing for that reason as well, and that giving something “gives the item another chance to be used and keeps it from going to a landfill.”

Feel good about giving. Rebecca Churchill, in Oakton, Va., Says she joined a Buy Nothing group after helping her mother pack up her house to move to a smaller location.

She likes the idea of ​​giving things to help others. “I don’t need a new purse, but there are Afghan refugees moving to this country who need everything, and there are children in my own town who go to bed on empty stomach, ”says Churchill.

Get rid of the clutter. Another selling point is downsizing property to make your home more manageable and organized. “There is peace in living more simply, and I feel more mentally organized and calmer when my home is not cluttered with visual clutter,” says Churchill.

Get to know your neighbors. You can feel good about helping people in your community and, on top of that, you can feel a little closer to your neighbors. You will give things to people you know or will know better.

What are the rules of the Buy Nothing group?

The rules require members to “give freely” without any expectation of reward or compensation. “Trading, bartering, buying or selling defeats the mission of the Buy Nothing project,” according to its website. He also suggests that members “give creatively”, for example, by sharing skills or through community lending libraries, clothing-sharing events and biking programs.

What is the day without a purchase?

If you’ve heard of Buy Nothing Day, it actually has nothing to do with the Buy Nothing movement. It started as a protest against consumerism by a Canadian artist, and officially or unofficially, in the United States, it takes place the day after Thanksgiving (against one of the biggest shopping days of the year, Black Friday ).

Don’t buy anything: the result

The main thing to remember is that “buy nothing” is not all or nothing. Buy by joining, you are not making a commitment to never buy anything more, to never have a yard sale, or to ever list anything on eBay, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace.

Of course you will go shopping and live your life. But if you join a Buy Nothing group, you might be able to integrate it seamlessly into your life and enjoy some of the perks while getting to know more people in your neighborhood.

Either way, when you happen to have things that you don’t want anymore but don’t want to sell and hate to throw away, a Buy Nothing group can do a lot of good.

That’s why Christine Alemany loves her band Buy Nothing in New York. She says a lot of people leave things behind when they leave the building where she lives.

“We found rugs, art, furniture when people moved. Some are lightly used. Others are antiques. I hate that they are thrown out. So why not donate to the local community? “

She and other tenants have done just that.

“These items can mean so much to people and would otherwise go to landfill. Instead, students and people who are starting over can furnish their apartments. They can then use the money that would otherwise be spent on drugs, health care, etc. ”, says Alemany.

Besides, says Alemany, “it feels good”.


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