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‘Buy Nothing’ groups are growing in popularity as people aim to save money

‘Buy Nothing’ groups are growing in popularity as people aim to save money

What started many years ago as a way to help the planet has grown into a global movement that is helping neighbors save money and feel more connected.

Have you ever heard of the gift economy? Think old-school trading and bartering on a hyper-local level. Everything from clothes to garden supplies and car seats.

The trend is catching on in Detroit’s Boston-Addison neighborhood. Katelyn Schaffer and her family settled into their home in the neighborhood, and she’s expecting her second child and had no winter maternity clothes.

Instead of buying something, she jumped on a neighborhood “buy nothing” group on Facebook.

“When someone posted on there that they had their entire maternity collection that they were trying to get rid of, I jumped on it. And it went on to the point where I didn’t have to buy any maternity clothes,” Schaefer said.

Schafter thinks it probably saved him $500.

The concept of “buy nothing” started nearly a decade ago, and it’s exactly what it sounds like.

“Your money’s no good here,” Liesl Clarke, co-founder buy nothing projectSaid.

The Boston-Edison group began in April 2022 as an off-shoot of a global movement its co-founders focused on reducing plastics.

“Instead of going out and buying something try sharing something that your neighbor has that is completely reusable,” Clark said.

Globally, the Buy Nothing Project now has more than 7,000 off-shoot groups like the one in Detroit, and an app that can find groups near you. Metro Detroit from Midtown to Auburn Hills has several, all hyper-local.

“I found that it really helped me make connections with a lot of people on different streets because I’m like oh,” said Josie Silver, co-founder of Boston-Edison, who gave me some baskets for my class. ” group, said.

Of course, donating to a local charity or thrift store is always an option. The idea behind this is to promote neighborhood connection while battling the crunch of inflation.

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Porch exchanges were more popular at the peak of the pandemic, and they still happen. But, the in-person connections are really fueling it.

Schaefer has also given away items through the group. Any maternity clothes she doesn’t need, she’ll give to another neighbor.

โ€œWe all want to be part of a community. It โ€œtakes a villageโ€ to raise a child, I think it relates to children, but it also relates to being human and feeling like you belong in a community ,โ€ Schaefer said.

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