Providing tools and support to families, citizens, and activists to counter our consumerist culture and to create new social norms about how to have a high quality of life and a reduced ecological footprint.
Buy Less, Share More
We spend a lot of time and money buying stuff, which is one of the reasons we work so much: to afford all of our stuff. An easy way to eliminate the stress on our lives, our pocketbooks, and the planet is by buying less. Less stuff means less time dealing with all our stuff and more time for things we'd rather be doing, like spending time with friends and family, exploring our hobbies and talents, and just enjoying life.
Each year, the Adbusters Media Foundation encourages people to skip shopping altogether on "Buy Nothing Day", also known as “Black Friday” or the day after Thanksgiving. While that’s a start, why not consider building a way of life that makes us less dependent on buying more stuff, year round. While this is a tough sell for many of us, especially if we're used to simply charging everything to our credit cards, why not give it a try, even for just a few days or a week. See if you really miss all the stuff you think you need, and consider what you're doing instead with your freed-up time and money.
New Dream's Wallet Buddy
Need a little help getting started? One simple way to resist unnecessary purchases is with New Dream’s Wallet Buddy, a paper sleeve you can wrap around your debit or credit card that prompts you with helpful questions about the item you’re about to buy. As Detroit Free Press columnist Susan Ager commented, “The most wonderful little thing arrived in my mail this week, almost as light as a feather but with major implications.” Download in color or in black and white.
Think "Beyond Ownership"...Share More!
Instead of buying more, why not share more? Think about it: do we really need to buy everything new when there are so many other ways to get what we need without the burdens of ownership? Does it make sense for every household in the neighborhood to have its own chainsaw if it's only used a few times a year? Do your kids really need an entire playroom of toys when they outgrow or tire of them so quickly?
More and more people are breaking the chains of ownership and joining the new "sharing economy". Browse our pages on Sharing Resources to learn more about the growing trend toward collaborative consumption and to discover creative new ways to share resources in your own community, including through tool and toy libraries.
If you really need to buy something and aren't too picky about having the latest model or fashion, check out the new trend in thrift and resale shopping that is taking off around the country. Many of these stores have broken the "dusty junk heap" stereotype and are clean, well-organized, and fun places to shop for clothing, furniture, and household items. Or, you can go online to Craigslist or Freecycle to find high-quality used items in your area that may be in excellent shape but just need a new home. And let’s not forget local libraries, many of which have great selections of books, DVDs, CDs, and even the latest eBooks.
- How to Stage a Clothes Swap by Regan McMahon