Sharing is a fundamental social tool we learn from a young age. We’re taught to share our toys, play nicely and help others. For many, this ethos carries over into our adult life.
Sharing in a time when we are all struggling is important for many reasons. We’re all in the same boat, with the cost-of-living crisis and inflation hitting us hard. Helping your friends, family and neighbours and supporting each other in any way we can is more important than ever.
Sharing your car
Car sharing has always been a means to save money. With the cost of fuel still high, ride-sharing to work, the supermarket, or even places of worship could save you plenty of money on fuel.
The more people you can get in on the sharing, the better. Sharing between two of you will halve your fuel costs, but finding a group of four or five of you could split your costs even more and save you all a bucketload on petrol.
There is more to car sharing than just ridesharing. If you can drive but don’t own a car, and need one from time to time, ask if you can borrow a friend’s car. Pay for your own insurance, the petrol when you use it, and even a little supplement on top as thanks. This could save you hundreds, if not thousands on car costs every year.
It’s a bit of give and take and saves money whilst making your friend a little extra to help with costs. It’s win, win scenario.
At a time when many are having to choose between heating and eating, sharing food may just help people more than you may think.
If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, why not grow fruit, vegetables and herbs? Besides the planting and picking of your crops, it is a relatively effort-free way to utilise the space in your garden. You’ll need to water your plants a few times a week, but aside from this, there is very little upkeep.
Not only will growing your own food save you money on grocery shopping, but sharing any excess with friends, family and neighbours is an extremely valuable thing to do. Vegetables such as courgettes, tomatoes and potatoes are easy to grow and produce a plethora of crops, enough to feed a small army! Salad greens, radishes and beetroot are also great additions to your garden, and you’ll find you have a great volume of produce you can share with others.
If you don’t have a big garden, growing produce in growbags is a great space saving way to grow goodies from tomatoes to runner beans. If you have no outside space, consider growing herbs on your kitchen windowsill, or even small tubs of cress, lettuces and radishes, which you can do from your kitchen and share.
Although sharing is caring, you could always display your produce outside your front door, at the end of your driveway or in your front garden and pop a donation pot next to your produce. People can then donate what they can, even if just a few pence. This won’t leave you rolling in cash, but could reimburse the cost of the seeds used, for example.
Prevent food waste
You may be going away on holiday soon. But what will you do with all that fresh produce in your fridge? Bin it? No way! Step away from the bin and consider giving it away.
You have a whole, unopened tub of delicious vanilla yogurt, but it is going off in a few days and you don’t think you will use it before you go. You have a punnet of tomatoes which are slightly squishy, but still edible, and half a loaf of bread which won’t make it for much longer. Knock on your neighbour’s door and offer them the lot.
Share your shop
If you get a food shop delivered to your house regularly, but find you never quite need enough to reach the £40 basket minimum most shops have in place, why not share the shop with a friend or neighbour?
There are many reasons you may not be able to get out to the supermarket, but don’t want to keep overspending to reach the minimum spend. Save yourself cash by splitting it with the family next door, your colleague who lives a few streets away or even a flatmate if you live with others. Plus, you can split the extortionate delivery costs – as much as £7.50 at some supermarkets!
Share your home
There are lots of great ways in which you can share your home to both save and make money, such as renting out your spare room. Getting a lodger is an easy way to receive regular passive income. If you have a spare room, why not list it online for someone to rent out? You can choose the sort of person you would like to take, for example if you’d like a specific age or gender.
SpareRoom is the leading website to find a lodger online. Not only is safety their top priority, for both renters and landlords, but they provide plenty of information for landlords about tax, tenancy agreements, insurance and more. Take good, clear photos of your spare room, upload them and watch the interest pour in.
If you aren’t keen on having someone living with you constantly but want to make money from your spare bedroom where possible, you may even consider hosting foreign students. The student will get to experience your culture, language and way of life. With foreign students, it’s likely you will be asked to cook meals for them, make packed lunches, have mealtimes together, do their laundry and more. The whole point of them coming to stay is to improve their English, so it is imperative you interact with them to help them develop.
House swapping is a fun way to share your home, in a way both you and the other party involved can benefit. If you've seen the Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz 2003 classic The Holiday, you may have some idea of what house swapping is. You exchange your house or flat with someone for a few days, weeks or even months. They can enjoy everything your home has to offer while you enjoy theirs.
This saves you money because you are getting your accommodation for free! All you need to do is pay for your transport, food and any activities you do. It’s a super cheap way to travel abroad, but you can even house swap within the UK if you’d like.
Perhaps your friend or neighbour has a particular skill you don’t have. Perhaps you have a leaky pipe which causes your tap in the kitchen to drip continuously. Luckily you know a plumber, who could sort this issue in seconds. Why not offer to take their dogs for a walk, in exchange for them fixing the dripping tap? Or offer free childcare for a few hours so they can relax? The possibilities are endless.
Or you could formalise your local network of 'sharers' by setting up a LETS system. A LETS is a Local Exchange and Trading System, where local people exchange goods or services without spending any money. You usually do it as a system of points so you get points for doing a few hours of something for someone else or for handing something over to them and then you can use those points to get goods or services from other people in the network. Worth a look and, you never know, it might work in your local area.
Read more: 5 Steps for a comfortable retirement
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