Share Expenses with Friends to Cut Costs
Living within your means is one of the key principles of being financially successful. While it is great to cut expenses from our budgets to save money, there is no way to cut 100% of our expenses out. There will always be something that we need to purchase in order to continue living the quality of life that we want. These items are different for each person. For me, I pay for cable television because it provides me with the quality of life I desire. For some of the readers, you may have no interest in cable television and choose not to spend your money on it.
At the end of the day, after you cut out all of the “fat” from your budget, you are left with expenses that you choose to keep. The question is can you reduce those expenses anymore? For some of them, the answer is an easy yes. I can call my cable provider and haggle for a promotion to save money. But what if you decided to share expenses with others in order for both of you to pay less?
Before getting into how to reduce expenses through sharing, understand that you need to truly be friends with the other person, otherwise one of you is going to be left on the hook for paying the bill. I don’t recommend this strategy for just anyone, only those who have a true friendship with someone. And even then, you will want to tread lightly as friendships can easily be lost over money issues.
Unless you live in a development that has garbage fees collected through your homeowner’s association, you most likely pay for trash removal. In some areas of the country, it can be expensive. Instead of paying the full cost of the service, team up with a neighbor and share the expense. Simply have one neighbor receive the bill and divide it in half. When it is garbage day, simply pile up the garbage bags at the person’s home that has the service for pick up. This is an easy way to cut your garbage bill by 50%.
Before sharing your wireless connection with a neighbor, there are many precautions you need to first consider. They need to be trustworthy since you will both be on the same IP address and they could be able to view sensitive information including banking and investment information. On top of this, there is the possibility that they could go to illegal websites as well. If the wireless network is in your name, you are going to be charged with the crime and will have to spend your time and money proving it was your neighbor and not you. For the majority reading this, I do not recommend this for the reasons stated above. But, if you are confident in who your neighbor is, then go for it.
Have one person sign up for membership and split the annual fee. You can do the shopping any way you want to, just be certain to split the bill up when you are finished. It’s a great way to save money on joining the club, buying in bulk, and on your monthly grocery bill.
If you read the same newspapers, magazines or watch the same movies, look into having one person keep their subscription while the other one cancels. When one person is done with the magazine or paper, simply give it to your friend. You could even rotate the months so that each person gets the new issue first every other month.
Baby and Pet Sitting
Instead of paying to have someone to do these for you, see if you can strike a deal with your neighbor to watch their pets or kids when they need it and vice versa. You save money and don’t have to worry about whether or not the babysitting or pet sitting referral you received is trustworthy or not.
If some of these don’t apply to you or you’ve already taken advantage of them and want more ideas, here you go: barter with your neighbor or friend. You could mow their lawn in exchange for borrowing their grille or they could watch your kid while you have date night and you can watch their dog when they go away next weekend.
The idea here is to get creative. Like I said before, you can only cut your expenses so much before you lower your standard of living. There is no point in lowering it so much you become miserable and resent saving money. Find new, interesting ways to save money by thinking outside of the box.
What are some of the out-the-box ways you save money?
@Linda: having frugal friends is key into making this work!
@ Kristen: good point about ride sharing. When my girlfriend worked a few streets from where I worked we would take advantage of this and take turns driving in together once a week. She was in sales so we could only pull it off once a week, but if we could have, we would have done it more frequently.