Frugality Proposal

Introduction

Frugality involves acquiring goods and services in a restrained manner and resourcefully using already owned economic goods and services to achieve a longer term goal.

To explain frugality we must first understand the problems with consumerism. Consumerism, by definition is the theory that an increasing consumption of goods is economically benefical.

This video explains the roots of consumerism:

Consumerism is a huge problem for society today. Take money for example, it is a controlling influence in our lives so that we can meet our needs - or what we think our needs are. Society engraves it into our head that we need possessions, and not only do we need them, but we should do all we can to get them. That is why credit card debt is so huge in our society also, because when people cannot just buy what they want (like that big screen or the new Mercedes) they whip out a credit card or go to a loan bank.

Not only is credit a problem, but we have an over-dependence on most of the things we want (like labor-saving objects for example because we are so lazy). A lot of the labor-saving products are technology based. One huge problem here is that companies continually make a new updated version of certain technological things that we think we need. This is a problem because the updated versions often times including having to buy the updated version of the product.

Also, people today have a total dependence on vehicles and the need for full-time work. When we thing about it -could we survive- and be able to pay for basic necessities if we did not have a full-time job, and we didn't worry so much about what we wanted and focused solely on what we actually needed? It is something to think about.

Part 1: WEBSITE (magiccityswap.com)

A website is an excellent way to start up a new venture with minimal start up costs. It is also a quick and easy way to build up a community.

We have created an online trade and barter website at magiccityswap.com that is similar in scope to freecycle communities. Freecycling is a non-profit movement that allows people to give and get stuff for free in their home towns. Membership is free and currently there are almost 5 million members in freecycle communities around the globe.

What differentiates us from them is that most freecycle websites use a free service such as yahoo groups that is limited in it's features and it's community building aspects. There are many ways in which this yahoo hosted freecycle communities could be improved.

2453748864_54b8c193ae.jpg

For one, more detailed member profiles with photos make the community more personable. Currently all you get is an email address and a phone number and you know nothing about who is giving away an item or who would like to receive it. Seeing a face, or knowing something about a person can make people feel more comfortable and more apt to participate.

Another issue with yahoo groups is that when people post an item to give away, they have to post again once the item is taken. Our website uses a standard database so that individuals can post an item and delete the post themselves once the item is taken. This way they don't have to worry about people calling for days afterwards wondering if the item they were giving away is still available.

Also, you don't exactly know what you're getting on most freecycle communities or even the free ads. Usually the extent of the post is: "30 inch television to give away, call this number". Our website allows people to attach a photo of what they're giving away which eliminates the guesswork on whether it's worth driving all the way to the other end of town to pick up.

Currently, most freecycle websites are geared to just stuff alone. We take this one step further and let people trade services with each other as well. Perhaps you really wanted to learn how to play the guitar and you are a certified massage therapist.. Why not offer a half hour massage for a guitar lesson?

Maybe you're a little old lady with a hole in your roof but you make really great pies. Why not offer up your award winning peach cobbler in exchange for a handyman to patch up your house?

The possibilites are endless.

magiccityswap.com is also so much more organized. Instead of having to hunt and peck, spending all your time searching and sifting through pages and pages of items trying to find what you're looking for - you simple click on a category you are interested in. This helps narrow things down considerably.

Some of the categories include:

  • appliances
  • electronics
  • automotive
  • art
  • books and magazines
  • building materials
  • home and garden
  • clothing
  • movies
  • video games
  • toys
  • services

Our website also incorporates a forum that allows individuals to talk about things other than freecycling. We hope this will help people get comfortable and perhaps learn a thing or two from each other.

We have contacted freecyclebillings and after going over these benefits they have decided to partner with us and move their 1,103 yahoo group member to our domain hosted solution. Having a 1000+ community from day one is definitely benefical.

In regards to the juridic controls, we must carefully monitor all posts to make sure that nothing illegal or non beneficial to the community is posted. For example, we do not want individuals offering up services such as prostitution or giving away possibly unsafe food items. No pornography, firearms, alcohol, tobacco, or drugs (including vitamins and creams) can be posted. We also don't want people selling anything, as that defeats the whole purpose of our website.

magiccityswap.com will also be used as a free promotion tool to get the word our on our monthly swap get-togethers that will be held in a physical location, here in Billings. Upcoming events are listed on the front page of the site and an announcement is sent automatically to our members a few weeks prior to the swap. If only 10 percent of our membership base shows up to these events, we'd still have at least 100 people attending.

2453771628_eaf5fd1fd8.jpg?v=0

Part 2: MAGIC CITY SWAP

  • To get out of the consumerism lifestyle we are organizing a fake money goods swap. Bring in unused, or unwanted items.
  • Last weekend of every month.
  • To gain admission one must donated at least one unwanted item.
  • Receive "Billings Bucks" based on value of items.
  • With Billings Bucks you can "purchase" other stuff that other people have brought in.
  • If you don't find something to purchase, you can save for the next swap, or use as coupons to receive discounts through local utility companies that we have teamed up with.
  • Anything that is not purchased by the end of the day will be donated to Montana Rescue Mission or families in need (from referrals).
  • A $50 permit fee is required to hold our events in the park through the city of Billings.
  • To host events we must have Liability insurance covering up to $750,000.
  • We do live in a consumerism driven society, but through the swap you get new things that you may need at no cost. This is a money saver. It brings the community together through charity and hopefully a less in debt society.

Conclusion

So can we cut back on consumerism? Can we promote frugality in our communities to help strengthen our society as a whole? Well that is our goal. We want to get this idea up and running because not only does it show frugality, but it shows people that they can still have their possessions by working together as a community. Our monthly Magic City Swap will promote a stronger community and hopefully a less hectic one, because we want to bring down consumerism. With our Magic City Swap we would be giving the community something to look forward to (in a positive light) every last weekend in each month. By kicking this off in the summer we are expecting a great turn out, because so many people look forward to summer activities.

We really hope you will fund our Magic City Swap because we are looking forward to helping rebuild this community.

Budget

Domain: $9.95/year
Web Hosting: $50/year
City Park Permit: $50 per site
Liability Insurance: $150-$300/month
Advertising Materials: $500/month
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License