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Share Expenses with Neighbors

We live in a townhouse with about 30 square feet of lawn. Seriously, it’s like a little patch in front of our house and about four square feet is taken up by this unidentifiable tree (it’s not unidentifiable by anyone, just me). So when our lawnmower kicked the bucket and one of my neighbors left his up at a cottage several hundred miles away, we chipped in to buy one from Amazon.com. It was a serviceable plug-in electric lawnmower for two hundred bucks.

Instead of both of us owning a lawnmower and having it take up space we didn’t have, we bought only one that we could both use and could swap storage of. It’s really the best solution – we save space, we save money, and we save the environment a bit by not having Amazon ship out two mowers.

What’s another great cost to split? How about internet service? We don’t do this but we have friends who live in a townhouse neighborhood, separated by an entire home, without any problems whatsoever. Why wouldn’t you want to take a $50-$75 monthly service and chop it in half? How much bandwidth does the typical person use? Certainly not enough that you can’t split the bill with at least one other home.

This works best on something where ownership isn’t an issue. In the case of the lawnmower and it’s $200 price tag, it doesn’t really matter who “owns” it. It would be trickier to own something like a $500 lawnmower but at $100 per home, it’s not even worth discussing for something that will last for many many years. And internet service? Ownership is irrelevant, making it a perfect cost to chop in half.

So the next time you think to sign up for a service, ask your neighbors to see if they are willing to chop the bill. In this economy, I’m almost certain they’d be willing to. It’s really a win win for everyone involved.

(Photo: Medmoiselle T [3])