More Bang For Your Buck: Buy Nothing Project

Updated: Jun. 2, 2017 at 4:19 PM EDT
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CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Budget conscious people know it's not about what you save, it's what you spend that counts.

The "Buy Nothing" Project is new to the Richmond area. Neighbors are helping neighbors and without anyone spending a dime.

"If you brought it into your house before, people might want to bring it into their house. So that's why I keep it and figure I can give it away rather than throwing it away," said Elisa McKay, who has been giving away books, dishes, even a portable DVD player on the "Buy Nothing Brandermill" Facebook page.

When Elisa's blender broke, she asked the group if anyone had one to gift.

"I think it was actually one of the first times I used the page, and within five minutes, I had multiple offers and a brand new to me ninja," said Elisa.

That's how the "Buy Nothing Project" works.  Administrator Rachel Schmidt is embracing a minimalistic lifestyle. Her research led her to "Buy Nothing" Global initiative-where you can do three things: give a gift, receive a gift or offer thanks.  Since creating her group in Brandermill, it's become one of the most active groups in the world.

Rachel and her co-administrator are in charge of vetting new members.

"It's hyper-local, so they want to the groups to small and intimate," said Rachel.

Rachel says establishing the group was relatively simple. She followed instructions on the "Buy Nothing" website and within two weeks had a group of neighbors willing to start. She got a table from the one of those neighbors and with a little paint, transformed her entire eating space with it, but she emphasizes, it's not always about the tangible items.

"We shouldn't have to pay people to walk our dogs or water our flowers when they're not able to. That's what neighbors are for," said Rachel.

Buy Nothing member Terri B. knew her mobility would be limited after foot surgery.

"I won't be able to walk Honey Bear, my little nine pound baby girl," said Terri B.

Watering plants and yard work are going to be difficult as well. She turned to the group, and they created a "sign up genius" to cover everything Terri needs as she heals.

Elisa was quick to volunteer. "I can go over first thing in the morning, make sure she has something to eat. I can walk Honey Bear, water her flowers, pretty much anything she needs done."

"Find people who can be our neighbors and act in a neighborly way which is worth its weight in gold," said Terri B.

"It's not all about the things. It's about the community, and I think the best thing that's been given or received are the relationships," said Rachel.

Rachel's group is for only for Brandermill residents, but the point is to help other neighborhoods start their own "Buy Nothing" project.

If this sounds like it's up your alley, we've got everything you need to know right here.

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