Some of the things we hide in our closets and garages like tools and lawnmowers only see the light of day once a season. Why spend hundreds of dollars on things we need in a pinch but rarely—if ever—use?
Are you fortunate enough to be on good terms with your neighbors? Consider sharing the following items with them to save yourself—and them!—some cash.
1. Lawnmowers, leaf blowers, rakes. Asking for snow equipment in the wee hours of the morning on your neighbor’s day off isn’t an experience anyone wants to endure. Mowing lawns and raking leaves, however, isn’t exactly an urgent task. This makes sharing this kind of equipment significantly easier and cheaper for everyone. A lot of homeowners have only a little bit of grass to tend to, anyway. Even if you have a fairly vast yard, wouldn’t it be significantly cheaper to walk over to a neighbor’s house and ask to borrow the equipment? Offer to pay for the next repair if you agree on a partnership.
2. Tools. As a renter, I don’t need a whole shed full of tools to keep my space functional, but I also don’t feel justified in submitting a maintenance request over a few loose screws. I feel still less justified in buying a toolkit full of things that, 360 days out of the year, I have no use for. Lucky for me, my neighbor plays paintball, which means he’s only too eager to show off his huge collection of Allen Wrenches, screwdrivers, batteries, hammers, and whatever else he has that I still don’t know how to use.
3. Clothes. Go through your closet armed with a Hefty bag. Fill it with clothes and shoes you haven’t worn in 6 months. You’re not likely to wear them even semi-regularly in the next 6 months. Call up your friends in the neighborhood and organize a clothing swap. This works for books, baby clothes, toys the kids have stopped playing with, and more.
4. Magazines. The concept is the same as the clothing swap. Only one of two or three people really needs to subscribe to a magazine; agree to swap after a day.
5. Bulk foods and items. Find a great deal for dried pasta at the store? Split the cost with a neighbor. Alternatively, SplitStuff is an online community that helps you find people nearby looking to split costs of mutually beneficial items.
The practicality of splitting the cost and sharing items between families is really up to the individual. Sure, sharing calculators and pencils in high school was easy, but trying to share a snow shovel at 7:30 a.m. when everyone is trying to get to work isn’t realistic. You’ll have to give it a few shots before you can get a feel for what work and what doesn’t.
Bio: Lisa Shoreland is currently a resident blogger at Go College, where recently she’s been researching African American scholarships as well as education options. In her spare time, she enjoys creative writing, practicing martial arts, and taking weekend trips.