This is the year to share and to support each other, I’ve decided. Not that we shouldn’t be doing that in any year, obviously, but we’ve got into a nasty habit of looking after ourselves far too much over the last few years – along with a bunch of other nasty habits like consuming too much, throwing too much away and generally living the selfish life.
It’s all coming home to roost now. Selfishness always does eventually. But one of the good things about the downturn is that we’re forced to change our ways.
We’re going to have to share a lot more to keep going, both as individuals and as families. Sharing things, services, support and so on will make it cheaper for everyone and give us all more freedom.
Share and support each other
When I say share I mean things like:
Loads of single parents particularly are in a poverty trap because they can’t get cheap enough childcare to enable them to go out to work. If it’s possible, get together with a neighbour and offer to care for their children for a couple of days a week while they care for yours for the rest of the week. That way at least you can work for part of the week. If you have more money and used to have a nanny or nursery places for your kids, get into a nanny-share with a local friend. That will halve the costs and make it possible for you both to continue.
Swap houses for holidays
We’re often going on about this (see what we say in our money-saving holiday tips article) but it really is a great idea, particularly for families. Cut out the cost of expensive hotels or clubs just by swapping your home with someone else.
Share your belongings
Share power tools, share your car, share your sewing machine, share whatever you can to stop you, your family and neighbours wasting money on things that none of you uses all the time.
Hold a swap shop with friends
Now is a great time to do that actually. Lots of people will have spent the last few days turning out wardrobes and drawers and getting together clothes and accessories they no longer want. Have a party and swap things. You could get a whole new outfit for nothing.
We’ll be doing an article in the next few weeks about how to profit from sharing with friends and neighbours. In the meantime, though, let us know if you’ve been doing this already. Or if you think it’s a terrible idea, tell us why in the comments below.