What Wednesday! It’s whatever I want it to be and today, What Wednesday is going to be about WHAT I have found helpful myself! I’m going to post resources periodically that have helped me on my journey to FI and debt free and frankly more importantly: My journey to not being completely impoverished while disabled and living on SSDI.
The number one, best resource out there for improving your quality of life is something called Buy Nothing Project. Buy nothing is a hyper local gifting economy that started right here in my home state of Washington. As they say on their website: “Buy Nothing is like random acts of kindness all day long.”
That featured photo on the top of the screen? That twin bed frame was a gift. That trundle bed underneath it? Was a broken frame that was gifted and I made it into a trundle. Those throw pillows? Gifted and recovered by me!
The platform is run as a group through Facebook and will have anywhere from just a few of your neighbors to a 1,000 members. As a gifting economy, no mention of money is allowed and no need must be displayed. Need or desire, wealthy or poor, it is not considered. All things are of equal value. People give gifts of items, as well as gift of services or time.
I have given away over 100 items on Buy Nothing and received many in return, and most importantly, I’ve met my neighbors and built relationships and community. A group member installed my water line for my fridge. Another group member gave me a couple pounds of potatoes when it was the only thing missing from my recipe. Another member gifted curtains, dogs toys, feminine hygiene, bed frames…the list goes on! And this is NOT based on need. Whether I believed I need it or not, there is no proving you are desperate, and there is no need vs want vs desire here.
To me, this is exactly what is so great and really applicable to people on financial independence, frugal living, and debt free journeys. Groups like this exist all over the place, but often they are need based. What is so great about Buy Nothing is that you can post asking for whatever you’d like. You don’t have to show how desperate you are. You might just not want to spend $5 at the grocery store this week because you want to send that extra $5 into your debt. They may have food that is going to go bad if not eaten. Working together we can eliminate waste and move forward.
I truly feel that being a part of this group has increased my standard of living. When a few dollars is saved by shopping my Buy Nothing group, I can allocate money to a new pair of shoes or windshield wipers, or debt repayment. It can help your neighbors and yourself cut back on times of struggle or meet their individual goals.
My absolute favorite gifts are when people save something that was going to be thrown away. It often looks like this: “I was going to garbage this, but I thought I would post it here first just in case someone could use it.” Often people post gratitude posts showing their appreciate for the item or how it was used. Or their appreciation for the accountant or pet sitter’s time. Sometimes people ask for rides to the doctor or grocery store. Sometimes people even just ask for company because they are lonely. Someone to go for a walk with them, or trim their dog’s nails. For a coffee date.
I’m totally biased because after nearly three years of membership I became the admin to my local group. I’d recommend it to anyone. It doesn’t take up much of my time because the rules are very clear and people generally appreciate that there is little confusion about what is/isn’t okay. And for the most part, people really do follow the rules.
I love driving through my area and thinking to myself: “That’s Tracy’s house. Colin’s house. Lin’s house. OH! That’s Kristina’s house. ” It’s wonderful to see how a group of neighbors can support each other without outside resources. It just shows how plentiful resources locally can be without outsourcing. I’d highly recommend you get on Facebook and check out the Buy Nothing Project.
If you want to feel all the feelings check out this recent soul boosting gratitude post.