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36 things you can share to save money

Consumers can offset living costs and expenses by sharing them in a collaborative fashion.

By Apr 25, 2014 2:06PM
This post comes from Sarah McMinn at partner site on MSN MoneyFrom Airbnb to RelayRides, "collaborative consumption" is shaking up today's economy.

Senior man with lawn mower © Jacobs Stock Photography/Photodisc/Getty ImagesAlthough the hype has surrounded online networks of strangers sharing rides and residences, consumers can also tap into a close-knit neighborhood, family, or group of friends to help offset the cost of big-ticket items. Thinking creatively about what can be shared can result in a big financial win for everyone involved.

We've rounded up a list of 36 goods and services that you don't necessarily need to keep to yourself. Does every family on the block need their very own snow blower (item No. 1)? Surely your babysitter (2) could watch someone else's child at the same time. And do you really need to own a power drill (3) or just use one every so often?

Prior to joining forces with others, consider the prospect thoroughly and try to forestall potential logistical and legal issues. (If you're tempted to skip this step, just spend a morning watching judge shows.) Successful collaborative consumption requires clear, mutual decisions about the particulars of the arrangement. How these are laid out depends on factors such as your relationship with the other party and the specific product or service being shared. 

You may decide casual, over-the-fence dialogue is enough. More likely, some forethought will reveal enough question marks to merit a more official agreement. Who's responsible for maintenance on the lawn mower (4)? Who buys how much gas and when? Where will the item be stored? What about insurance and liability? Will you be making a joint purchase or using an item someone else owns? What happens if you break up with a significant other or a neighbor moves away?

In many cases, the arrangement can be spelled out in a simple contract available free online. Printable Contracts provides an equipment lease contract and the legal site offers a sample agreement for a joint purchase (although the language refers specifically to a couple living together). Either way, in a society where McDonald's invites a $1.5 million lawsuit with a single napkin, it's probably best to cover your bases. 

Below is the rest of Cheapism's list of goods and services that can be shared (in addition to the four already mentioned). Of course, the possibilities are endless, but this should jumpstart your frugal imagination.

5. Cell phone plan (Sprint's new "Framily plan" is explicitly designed for this)
6. Personal training (who says a joint session is just for couples?)
7. Music lessons
8. Language lessons
9. Dog walker

10. Storage unit
11. Parking space
12. Office space (and equipment/supplies, e.g., printer or copier)

Coupons and Deals
13. Discount with a minimum purchase
14. Buy-one-get-one deal
15. Bulk groceries and supplies

Home and Garden
16. Weed eater
17. Ladder 
18. Washer/dryer (if there's a separate entrance)
19. BBQ grill
20. Swing set

Sports and Outdoor
21. Fishing rod
22. Bicycle
23. Basketball hoop
24. Weight bench in the garage
25. Tube or other inflatable for towing behind a boat
26. Camping gear

Travel and Transport
27. Vacation property
28. Luggage
29. Parking pass/permit

Special Occasion
30. Formalwear 
31. Parties (venue, entertainment, etc., for birthdays, graduations, and other occasions)

Subscriptions and Memberships
32. Netflix, HBO Go, Hulu, etc. (Netflix allows users up to five individual profiles per account and HBO's CEO recently told BuzzFeed the company doesn't mind if subscribers share their passwords)
33. Amazon Prime free two-day shipping (invited family members and "unmarried partners" can access the benefit through their own accounts)
34. Magazine and newspaper subscriptions (sign up one person for the paper product and another for digital access)
35. Website memberships (e.g., Angie's List, real estate, genealogy, special interest -- provided users can't make purchases using a credit card on file)
36. Costco membership (shoppers can bring up to two guests, who can pay the member back for any purchases)

More from
Apr 26, 2014 12:13PM
Every time I loan anything out to friends, neighbors or relatives it comes back broken, dirty, out of gas, or it never comes back.  If you want to part ways with friends, neighbors, or relatives loan them some of your stuff or ask them to clean it, repair it, replace it, or fill it up.  This goes for power tools, dvd's and virtually everything on your 36 things to share list..  I have wonderful neighbors, friends and relatives but none of them take care of "shared" items they didn't sweat to pay for themselves.
Apr 28, 2014 3:24PM
msn writers should start sharing toilet paper
May 1, 2014 6:31PM
Obviously the writer does not live in the real world, more then likely they live at home with Mom and dad!  As some one who does live in the real world and pays for my things, 90% of the things I have shared or loaned have 'walked' away, never to be seen of again!
Apr 25, 2014 2:55PM
The media is really pushing "communal" living today. Just more of the same 'ol b.s. agenda "news" from the propaganda-pushing media.
This has to be one of the saddest articles yet produced this year. 
May 1, 2014 9:03PM
Our neighbor would save money by using our riding lawnmower.  (without asking)  His wife thanked us by borrowing it one day and mowing our lawn. I came home to find her with the blade so low it was chopping the dirt up on a lawn I'd just spent a couple hundred dollars planting and praying over.  The grass was only a few weeks old, and I hadn't planned on mowing it for quite a while- it'd taken me years to grow anything in that part of our yard.  Her husband thanked us by running over a very large solid object and destroying the entire mower.  We were not polite to them during either episode- and both times they told us we were being a-holes.  We never replaced the rider.  Now we have a cheap POS push mower and a very, very tall fence.  I don't recommend sharing jack with your neighbors.
May 1, 2014 9:03PM
I don't borrow and I hate to loan things, because I hate having to ask for 'my own things back'....My motto is, if you need to use/borrow something more than once, you need to buy your own.....I work hard for the things I have to purchase and it seems if something breaks, it's never the 'current users' fault....Therefore, I don't loan things....If you have a home, condo, yard, car, etc, you need to either buy the things necessary to take care of all these things or hire a handyman or mechanic to work on your things with 'their own tools'........
May 1, 2014 6:52PM
Some things can be shared and other cannot.  We lived in a courtyard with six houses.  We had the only very tall ladder and all of the houses had at least one room with tall ceilings.  We also had a power washer for washing the outside of the house and car.  Storage was the main issue because our garages were small.  We were happy to loan these items to our neighbors.  One neighbor needed an expensive power tool to lay tile and was going to rent it but wanted to do the job at a leisurely pace.  I suggested he buy it and sell it second hand and it would be cheaper than renting.  If you only need it for one day there are a lot of tools that can be rented.
May 1, 2014 6:14PM
Yet another good thing to share: books! I've been doing that for years thanks to
May 1, 2014 10:45PM
It may work for some people, but the truth is that when people share, things wear out sooner. Things get lost, damaged, and used more by some than is fair.  I have found that owning my own and using it with care means my stuff lasts for years and years and years because I take care of it. I was raised by a simple motto: Never a borrower or lender be. And that has paid huge dividends in my life. I never loan or borrow stuff. And I don't have things broken or gone when I need them. Sorry, but I don't think this is a good idea, at all....

May 1, 2014 5:11PM
Mine is better than ours. I was taught to share but not informed that no good deed goes unpunished.
May 1, 2014 10:46PM
As a professional nanny I will not watch children from different families for only one salary.  I can understand sharing the cost of a tool, a ladder or other items but a nanny/sitter is a paid position and should not be shared.
May 1, 2014 8:57PM
May 2, 2014 1:10AM
Must have been a really slow day in the MSN office if this is the best BS they could come up with. Yeah, I bet these Einsteins practice what they preach. Most of the stuff wears out with use, lawnmower, washing machine, grill. Are you F'n kidding me. And then I walk in my garage and Charles Atlas is using my weight bench. Someone should tell these idiots that people also are willing to pay for convenience and privacy too.   
May 2, 2014 1:25AM
Sarah McMinn, I hope you borrowed someone's name because I sure wouldn't put my real name on this drivel.

Of course, leave it to an old hag to conflict this story with politics.  I wasn't aware healthcare ever had an attached freedom available for theft. Nothing is free when its purchased.  Is that in the constitution?  Is  socialism scrum?  Nearly all of our meaningful allies have socialized healthcare.  Again, I think you over state the size of the November election.

This article here was about how poorly misleading and without interest MSN stories are but pointing our how retarded you are has also been joyful.   

May 1, 2014 6:59PM


The best sharing example is in Dr Zavago when all the Obamyins move into the Zavago home.


If you have not seen the movie so you will know how to share, it will be shown tonight in the central committee mandatory assembly hall.

May 1, 2014 9:01PM
Is this a joke?  One of the BEST ways to save money is don't have a dog.  In a study the average cost of keeping a medium dog for a year, with average kibble and only routine vet care, was about $1200.  If your dog lives to 14 that is over $16,000 down the drain with nothing to show for it. 
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