There are many ways you can work toward limiting the amount of money you spend, including sharing things with others. When utilizing this method, it's not a bad idea to think outside the box and try something a bit unique.
1. "My town has a plant library where people give plants of all kinds, gardening tools, pots, etc. I now only buy seeds and a small handful of herb plants each spring. When I am ready to split plants or my houseplants have babies, I give to the library as well. It's honestly a great community in addition to being a great sharing space for gardeners."
2. "Not exactly unique. I live in a building made up of six flats. We realized that we all have a takeaway on the same day, so we decided to combine the order. I put the order in, so there's only one delivery cost. Some dishes are too big for one person, so we split them. We don't eat together, but we not only save money — we also have less waste. It makes it easier for the delivery person as well, as my flat is closest to the road, and they only have to make one trip to our address."
3. "I have shared streaming services in exchange for them sharing theirs. But now Netflix has other ideas…"
4. "I share a house with four other random people. I’m single and in my 30s, and maintaining a whole house by myself is a lot. It’s been a few months since I moved in, and minus a couple things, I can’t complain. I needed a new place to live unexpectedly, and it happened to work out."
5. "Friends and I met up at one of our places to swap unwanted clothes, bags, and whatnot. We haven't done this since the pandemic, though."
6. "My mom and sisters have the same closet. We share most of our tops and skirts, outwear, etc. Three-fourths of us are the same shoe size. Most of my clothes are hand-me-downs. When I did my student exchange, one of my friends and I also shared some clothes. We rotated clothes between three to four friends."
—Giovanna, 25, Albuquerque
7. "Me and my mum friends swap clothing, books, and toys that our children have grown out of. We have a WhatsApp group for it."
8. "We have a book and jigsaw puzzle giving chain we all go through. One buys a book/puzzle and passes it on to the next person when they're finished, who passes it on to the next person, etc., so eventually, everyone in our extended friend group has had a chance to try them before it eventually ends up as a donation to the Humane Society thrift shop. New books/puzzles are $20 each, but we go through them in one weekend, so this is a great system!"
9. "My trans friends and I have frequently helped each other save money through sharing and swapping — for example, a friend and I who are similar in size came out around the same time, so she gave me a bunch of her old 'boys clothes,' and I gave her a bunch of my old 'girls clothes' so we could each start an affirming wardrobe for free. I’ve also donated/given away old binders and split a bulk order of injection needles with a friend so we could get free shipping. Trans people often also help others save money through information sharing. A big one in my life has been sharing our experiences with different medical providers so that someone else doesn’t end up paying to see a doctor who’s transphobic or uneducated about our specific healthcare needs."
—Anonymous, 31, North Carolina
10. "We do a gift swap twice a year — around this time, and around the holidays. We meet, bring an empty box, and any gifts in good shape that we want to part with."
11. "Not exactly unique, but my neighborhood has a Facebook page for news on the neighborhood. About five years ago, we all started either asking if someone had a printer (or whatever) we could borrow or that someone has a set of dishes they don't want, etc. I use a neighbor's push lawn mower once every 10 days or so, and they email me stuff to print for them. One of my neighbors helps people redo their résumés in exchange for a leaf rake or a mowed lawn rather than charging them. It works out really well. I've seen loans of tents/camping equipment and all sorts of things."
What are the unconventional ways you spend less by sharing? Tell us in the comments below!
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.