In our pursuit of a more "natural" lifestyle and because Jeff & I originally chose aviation as a career (which essentially means resigning 3/4 of your adult life to poverty), we had very little money to spend most of the time so became pros at dumpster diving (yes really-just not food!) and yard sales (or "tag" sales as Martha would say). Now that it has become somewhat hip to recycle everything, we are now officially "cool", or so we tell our kids.
Over the last decade we have been preparing for higher oil prices & anything else that we don't want to say out loud for fear of being labeled “paranoid” (and I do know a little about paranoia, as I once worked with 30 Paranoid Schizophrenics). It used to be that we just made almost everything ourselves-with all four hands. However, as life became increasingly hectic and we would meet people at Farmers Markets & craft shows, we were introduced to the coveted term "barter friendly". Kolt & Darby have become quite skilled at trading our soaps for Shower Art (etsy.com/shop/UglyBaby ), and Handmade Dolls by Daniela (etsy.com/shop/hasenpfeffer).
While envisioning eventually paying $20 a gallon for gas, we have set up a network close to home. We get organic vegetables from Garden Treasures (arlingtongardentreasures.com), and clothes from Tina (glamspoon.com) at Glam.Spoon. Our company photos come from the amazing Molly at (mollyvadenphotography.com).
We figure ~80-90% of our purchases are recycled (Thrift Stores/Yard Sales/Craig's List/generous friends), made from companies that are here in the USA, or handmade by us. I doubt we will ever make the 100% mark as I have yet to find anyone that can make socks or underwear that my family will wear.
Besides the benefit of supporting products that are actually made here in the United States & local Artisans, it's really more about building relationships. We know exactly where most of our food comes from and the people that cultivate it. I find tremendous pleasure in using, wearing or eating something that a good friend has created or grown with their own hands...
~Head soap pot scrubber & yard sale hipstress