Buy Nothing Project

Frugal Communities

Have you heard of The Buy Nothing Project? A neighbor of ours introduced us about a month ago. The Buy Nothing Project (BNP) encourages communities, mainly created through local Facebook groups, to create free exchanges of stuff among neighbors. What better way to hone your skills of frugality on your path to financial independence? A key aspect of building wealth is to understand and practice the power of frugality. I think this is brilliant. We all have too much stuff. We recently did our own “Konmari” decluttering of home and finances! What better way to keep these good habits in place than participate in a buy nothing community? For more information on the origin check out the founders site: Buy Nothing Project Website

The Buy Nothing Project Mission:

We offer people a way to give and receive, share, lend, and express gratitude through a worldwide network of hyper-local gift economies in which the true wealth is the web of connections formed between people who are real-life neighbors.

Guiding principles of the Buy Nothing Community:

  • We believe our hyper-local groups strengthen the social fabric of their communities, and ensure the health and vitality of each member.
  • We come from a place of abundance ~ not scarcity.
  • We believe in abundance, we give, we ask, we share, we lend and we express gratitude.
  • We are a gift economy, not a charity. We see no difference between want and need, waste and treasure.
  • We measure wealth by the personal connections made and trust between people.
  • We value people and their stories and narratives above the ‘stuff.’
  • We are inclusive and civil at our core.
  • We value honesty and integrity in all our interactions.
  • We view all gifts as equal; the human connection is the value.
  • We believe every community has the same wealth of generosity and abundance.

Join Them:

Buy Nothing: Give Freely. Share Creatively. Post anything you’d like to give away, lend, or share among neighbors. Ask for anything you’d like to receive for free or borrow. Keep it legal. Keep it civil. No buying or selling, no trades or bartering, no soliciting for cash. We’re an adult-only, hyper-local gift economy. We are not a charity or community bulletin board.

Excerpt from a recent NPR story about The Buy Nothing Project:

“I really primarily do it for the environmental reasons. If there’s a way that I can stop some of my stuff from ending up in a trash heap somewhere, I feel like I’ve done my job,” says Humphrey. Humphrey’s group has grown to nearly 2,000 members. That many people can get unwieldy so soon it will split into two groups. That’s one way the Buy Nothing Project has grown over the last five years — from one group outside Seattle to more than 2,000 groups. All that growth and the project still has no paid staff. “We don’t want to monetize this in any way possible even as a non-profit,” says Liesl Clark, a filmmaker who co-founded the Buy Nothing Project with her friend Rebecca Rockefeller. “I wanted to try a social experiment, which was to get people to literally ask themselves whether they can buy nothing — and I don’t care if it’s just for an hour, or for a day or for a week,” Clark says.

Building Wealth

For those of us in the middle class, communities and practices like this are critical to building wealth. The reason is that we are building wealth one small brick at a time. We are not handed a million bucks to go invest somewhere. We have to free up cash from our regular paychecks and that means have a strong practice of frugality in place. The BNP and community is another tool we can use to achieve our long term financial independence goals.

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