Before You Buy, See if You Can Get it for Free

I write this post atop my high horse. I am feeling pretty good about myself right now, so I must share.

A little backstory, I’ve always had a frugal instinct. When I got my first job in my current state of residence, I needed work clothes. Instead of going to clothing stores, I went to Goodwill and purchased 6 pairs of pants for $12. These were nice pants, Ann Taylor, Gap, etc. Since most people don’t buy dress pants from Goodwill, I had so many items to choose from. A tip: Goodwill isn’t good for everything, it’s good for those things people rarely use and eventually want to get rid of, so by the time they hit the store they are new or in great condition. These items also have to be not so valuable that the donor could make a good amount of money selling the stuff on their own. The items in this sweet spot include formal clothing, halloween costumes, random single use appliances etc. If you go looking for a new smartphone, good luck with that one! Now back to our regularly scheduled program. 

Although I love good deals, I had yet to consider that I could get things for free on a regular basis until I heard someone mention it on the Choose FI podcast last week. One of the hosts mentioned the Buy Nothing Project, and after doing some research I was blown away. Buy Nothing exists for neighbors to give and receive freely to one another. By sharing resources like items, services, and time, neighbors reduce landfill waste, reject consumer culture, save money, and build connections. Their website states that the groups exist all over the USA and around the world, mostly through Facebook. I looked at Oregon’s listed groups and there were so many! I went on Facebook and found 4 groups for my neighborhood and adjacent neighborhoods. Each participant agrees to only join one group, so make sure that you select your actual neighborhood. I love this idea because there are many items I want to donate that Goodwill doesn’t accept, such as furniture and lawn equipment.

I tested out my neighborhood’s group by making a post letting the group know I was looking for a baby swaddle because I planned to buy a couple through OfferUp that day. Now I had an alternative to get it for free. I made the post and got a couple responses. I picked up a swaddle in perfect condition from a neighbor the next day. I was ELATED. It made me want to post things and share as much as I could. It also made me so happy that someone would give me, a complete stranger, something just because I asked for it on the internet. This just provides further evidence for my core belief that almost all people are good, like 99.6%. 

I’m excited to give more to my community and also to have an alternative to buying the things I need. I hope you give it a try. Your bank account, community, and the planet will thank you 🙂

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