We all know the old adage of borrowing a cup of sugar from your neighbor, so you can be on friendly terms with your neighbors. But why stop at borrowing sugar? In today’s economy, sharing with your neighbor can be a more efficient way to purchase something that you may not need all the time – but you’ll be glad to have access to it when you do need it! Here’s a few items that you might want to consider going halves on with your next-door neighbor.
Power tools do not come cheap! A good set can cost anywhere from $100 to over $400. If you only anticipate using the tools for one project, it may not be worth your while to buy at full price. Consider asking your neighbor if they would be interested in splitting the cost. A neighbor who is crafty by nature might take you up on it!
Specialty Cooking Appliances
Love homemade ice cream? What about fancy smoothies, blended to perfection? There are a variety of cooking tools that can be purchased to make your favorite dishes and drinks – at a price, of course. Any of these items can cost over $100each! Instead of buying each one separately, chip in on a variety of kitchen appliances that your whole neighborhood can share.
Do you have a two-story home? Chances are, you’ll need a large ladder in order to decorate the exterior of your house for Christmas and do regular maintenance. Ladders that extend beyond 12 feet can start at around $80. If you live in a neighborhood with other multi-story houses, see if three of your neighbors would contribute.
Unless your Homeowners Association comes with free lawn maintenance services, you need to invest in a lawn mower. Lawn mowers come in all shapes and sizes, with most costing at least $100. Before you spend all that money, ask around and see if any of your neighbors either don’t have a lawn mower or want to replace theirs. You’ll need to discuss what kind of lawn mower you want and who will be responsible for maintenance before buying.
Seasonal Lawn Tools
There’s more to lawn care than mowing the grass. Different seasons require different kinds of lawn care, and, you guessed it, different kinds of tools. If you have a green thumb, you may want to purchase gardening tools such as a spade, hoe, or different kinds of shovels for the spring. Then there’s a weed whacker in the summer, a rake or leaf blower in the fall, snow blowers in the winter… the prices add up! Investing in these items as neighbors (or even a small community of 3-4 houses) help you cut costs.
There’s nothing like a barbecue in the summertime! Small outdoor grills are relatively inexpensive (less than $50), but if you have a large family or like to host cookouts, you’ll want to invest in a larger grill so you can cook for everyone. Large outdoor grills can easily go for $200-$300, which isn’t feasible for the amateur griller who only wants to cook a few times a year. Split the cost with a neighbor, and you can take turns hosting Friday night cookouts!
Nothing promotes community like sharing food. One great way to do this is to start a community garden! This can be as simple as growing vegetables in your backyard and sharing them with your neighbor, to something as expansive as a community garden, where multiple households can grow food together. Exchange some tomatoes for green beans, or have a neighborhood-wide potluck where everyone makes a simple dish using their homegrown veggies!
If you love the great outdoors, then you know how expensive camping supplies can be. Consider: a tent, a portable grill, sleeping bags, portable heater if it’s cold – the list goes on! Before you know it, you can easily spend tons of money on supplies for a weekend camping trip. Instead of shouldering the cost all on your own, invest in camping supplies with your neighbors. This can be especially appealing to other camping enthusiasts or families who would appreciate a large tent that they did not have to pay full price for. All that’ll be left to do is make sure your camping trips don’t overlap!
Sharing utilities and appliances with your neighbors isn’t just good business, it helps build relationships. It’s never too late to get to know your neighbors, and investing in tools and items as a group promotes generosity, trust, and a true sense of community. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box! You might just save a few dollars and make a few friends.
Sarah graduated from Trinity University in 2012 with a degree in International Relations and Political Science. She writes blogs on new homes, decor, communities, and more for NewHomeSource. When she’s not writing, you can find her spending time with her three cats.