Our September No-Spend Month Challenge inspired me to do a “Don’t Buy It” series. Last week we talked about ways to get things for free so you don’t have to buy them. This time, we’ll focus on borrowing instead of buying.
If you’re considering buying something that will only be used once or occasionally, how about borrowing the item instead? You’ll save money on something you might only use once. You’ll also prevent gathering clutter at your house. Your friend will likely be happy that someone else is getting some use out of his stuff too. You might even end up working on the project together!
Stuff to Borrow
Depending on what you need and the relationships you have with those around you, you could conceivably borrow just about anything under the sun. With some creativity, you could really cut down on your expenses. Here are a few areas where we have commonly lent and borrowed items.
There are some standard tools that every household should have on hand, but outside of your hammer, screwdriver and drill, lots of tools can be borrowed. We’ve borrowed various saws, garden tillers, a power washer, and surely others that escape me right now. We’ve lent many of the same, either of a different type or after we’ve acquired one of our own later. Where a project requires a tool once, but you may never need it again, borrowing can be a good, frugal option.
Borrowing baby gear is a great way to save money. Most baby things are just fine if they’re used. Many baby things are only used for a short while, so many people have useful baby things stored away just collecting dust. We’ve borrowed a bassinet, baby swing, clothes and more. We’ve lent clothes, a baby carrier, a breast pump, and more.
Seasonal or Rarely Used Kitchen Items
When I first started canning applesauce in 2008 and for the first several years, I always borrowed the equipment. I borrowed a canner from one friend and an apple saucer. Since then I have acquired my own equipment. Before we got our wheat grinder (as a gift from my inlaws), I used to use theirs. I still borrow my mother-in-law’s awesome dehydrator and various kitchen gadgets.
Tips for Asking to Borrow
I’m sure we have all had at least one lending experience that has left a bad taste in our mouths. I know I have. Bad experiences make us hesitant to lend. If we aren’t comfortable lending things, then asking to borrow things feels hypocritical.
Here are a few tips to help you be a good borrower:
–> Always be sensitive to the possibility that the person may not want to lend something. Make sure they are willing and not feeling obligated. Some people just don’t like to lend, and some won’t lend certain things.
–> Don’t borrow something you wouldn’t be willing to repair or replace if something were to go wrong.
–> Take great care of what you borrow. Keep it clean and well maintained. If there’s something extra you can do, like fill it with gas or clean it up so its better than it was, do it.
–> Return it in a timely manner.
Borrowing instead of buying is great for your space, great for your wallet, and great for the earth. It can also be a great way to grow closer to friends, as long as both of you have a great borrowing experience.
How About You?
- What have you borrowed instead of bought?
- What advice do you have for borrowers or lenders?
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