The Power of Community in the Face of a Cost-of-living Crisis

With many still feeling the pinch from the cost-of-living crisis, research* from Gumtree uncovers how people across the UK are managing financial challenges and leaning into their local community for support.

Whether it’s second-hand sales, community lending or freebie sourcing, communities up and down the country are adopting a wide variety of tactics to beat money worries.

Conscious Shopping

Fifty-seven percent of our respondents shared that they’re rethinking the way they shop in the wake of the cost-of-living crisis – with over half now spending more time looking for bargains and deals compared to pre-crisis. Perception of second-hand has also shifted, with one in ten buying pre-owned for the first time in the last three months and 44% saying they’re willing to purchase more second-hand items than they were a year ago.

It’s not just bargain hunting, but freebie hunting too. Four in ten people are sourcing more items for free compared to this time last year, particularly for big ticket items in the home. To back this up, we’ve seen top search increases for items such as single beds (+110%), sofas (+52%) and wardrobes (+39%)**.

One in 10 have purchased second-hand items for the first time in order to combat the rising cost of living*

Communities Coming Together

In a time of crisis, communities know how to come together. As we look to help each other cope with soaring bills, our research found that more than one in 10 have engaged with their local neighbourhood in order to offer help, from donating unused items to charity and giving items away for free to making charitable donations to local organisations. Despite their own hardship, the community spirit to help others is well and truly alive.

41% have given goods away for free locally*

The toll of this crisis is not simply a financial one, but a psychological one. Many people are reluctant to ask for help and struggling under the strain alone. But your community is here for you. A few of the ways our respondents are reaching out, many for the first time, include:

  • Contact charities and enquire about local initiatives (such as CPAG, Trussell Trust)
  • Join a local social media group or set one up and mention it to your neighbours.
  • You can always start with friends and family first, create a group chat where you can share items you no longer need or are happy to lend.
  • Search platforms like Gumtree, where you can search for items locally or even post ‘wanted’ ads if you need something specific.

A Little Extra Cash

A secondary income may have once been a nice addition to your disposable income fund, but now it’s a necessity to cover your essentials.

If you’re looking for part time work or odd jobs you can pick up to fit around your schedule, why not check out Jobs on Gumtree.

You can also try listing items you no longer use – it’ll save you the hassle of disposing of them and might make you some change in the process. Some of our most searched for items this month (in case you have them going spare) include lawn mowers, garden furniture and fridges.***

* Methodology Data conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Gumtree between 12th – 14th March 2022, polling 2,000 adults aged 18+ across the UK.
** Gumtree internal data – comparing Jan-April 2021 to Jan – April 2022
*** Gumtree internal data – 9th – 15th May 2022