Channel 2 Investigates

With prices going up on everything, Buy Nothing groups gaining popularity across metro

ATLANTA — Prices are going up for everything from food to cars to clothing. But there is an easy way to beat inflation and get many of the things you need for free.

Buy Nothing groups can help you save money, get to know your neighbors and they’re environmentally friendly.

“The whole goal of Buy Nothing is to support your local neighbors in your community,” said Marisa Levy co-administrator and member of the East Atlanta Buy Nothing group.

There are dozens of groups in metro Atlanta. The purpose is to gift what you don’t need to help your neighbors.

“If you knew that your neighbor needed a half cup of sugar, and you had a whole bunch of sugar in your pantry, you’d easily give them a half cup of sugar,” Levy said.

You also can receive the things you actually need with no strings attached.

“I also have a Keurig that I got at the Buy Nothing group,” Levy told Channel 2 investigative reporter Sophia Choi.

Levy said she’s seen people gift everything from food to a piano to clothing.

“I’ve seen a lot of baby clothes and baby items being gifted and/or received,” Levy said.

She even recalled one person who had recently moved to Atlanta and asked for help furnishing their entire home.

“They needed, you know, you name it. They needed a couch or bed, a bookcase, those sorts of things,” Levy said.

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The annual rate of inflation in the United States is 6.2% according to the federal government’s Consumer Price Index.

It means that is how much more you’ll pay for things like clothes and groceries at stores.

If you’re looking for a way to beat those higher prices Levy said, “I think that Buy Nothing can be really helpful, especially as food prices go up and up and up.”

Groups are hyper local with the idea of getting to know your neighbors.

“Prior to COVID, it was not uncommon to arrange a particular time and get to at least see face-to-face who you were gifting an item. And I liked those interactions obviously, but when COVID hit, a porch pickup option became far more common,” said Levy.

Gifting also is a way to reduce waste.

“It’s really nice to be able to see that items are being re-homed and re-gifted and continued to be utilized instead of going into a landfill,” Levy said.

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During the pandemic, Buy Nothing groups membership exploded.

“Yeah, two million members since lockdown started in March and that’s huge. We’ve gone up to four million now,” said Sherose Badruddin, who is a media volunteer for the Buy Nothing Project.

She has seen plenty of heart-warming stories.

“Probably my favorite story is when a local mom asked for a prom dress. And another neighbor had this beautiful purple dress that she was able to get to this person’s daughter and it just made her day,” Badruddin said.

If you want to save money by joining a Buy Nothing group, there is little risk and the potential for big rewards.

“I would say that there’s not really any harm in joining. It’s free to join, you can always leave the group and you might be surprised by what you could find,” Levy said.

You can find a local Buy Nothing group on Facebook or by downloading the Buy Nothing Project’s new app.

If you don’t find a group for your neighborhood, you can go through training and start one.

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