One way to avoid inflation? Buy nothing

‘Buy Nothing’ groups are online groups where members give things away for free, and they’re helping members fight inflation.

With inflation at a 31-year high, everything feels expensive. Case in point, in October:

  • Prices for apparel were up 4.3% YoY
  • Prices for living room, kitchen, and dining room furniture were up 13.1% YoY

But what if there was a way to get these items without paying crazy-high prices?

Enter ‘Buy Nothing’ groups

The groups, which are organized online (usually Facebook), are made up of members who give things away for free, per WSJ.

Items listed include everything from refrigerators to hair clippings (which, supposedly, were used to make a wig).

It all started…

… with the Buy Nothing project, which was founded in 2013 as a way to reduce the environmental harm of plastic waste.

The community grew steadily for years before seeing a massive growth spurt during the pandemic:

  • 2m new members joined between March 2020 and October 2021, and the group is on track to reach 5m members in 2022
  • The project now counts ~7k Buy Nothing communities worldwide

Beyond reducing waste, the groups give members a way to meet neighbors and cut back spending.

But ‘Buy Nothing’ groups can’t solve everything

Since the items available from other members are unpredictable, the odds of finding exactly what you’re looking for at the time you need it are low.

So while it may not be the best place to find the gifts on your holiday shopping list, it could be a viable option for a Yankee Swap.

Hot tip: We’ve heard from one member that Buy Nothing groups can be a great place to find free last-minute tickets for concerts and stand-up sets.

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