Eight steps you can take to help your family and neighbours be more cash-efficient | Personal Finance | Finance

We’re all homebodies these days, since the pandemic saw us all spending more and more time at home. It means many of us have forgotten about the many ways our local communities can help us through hard times.

MoneyMagpie believes in being financially savvy in every way possible, so we’ve come up with several ways your local community could help you save money.

Use Your Library

Your local library is a major money-saving resource! Unfortunately, many local libraries have closed in recent years. But there are many online resources, such as the Libby app, which lets you borrow eBooks just like you would physical books from the library.

Libraries also have free computer and internet access, and often have a tech-savvy member of staff on hand to help you if you need. They also run children’s story time and events, especially during school holidays, to keep your kids entertained and educated for no extra cost.

You can even borrow toys and board games from many libraries, too – as well as DVDs and audiobooks.

Share Big Purchases with Neighbours

If you and your neighbours all need the same thing, it could be worth forming a co-op to buy it wholesale. Oil is the most common thing that neighbours club together on, as it can be must cheaper to buy in bulk than each household buying it individually.

You don’t even need to know loads of neighbours – one of our single MoneyMagpie team members goes shopping for themselves and their single neighbour, splitting ‘buy one get one free’ offers between them to save cash on the weekly shop.

You could go bigger with this concept in mind, and find people who want to go to wholesale stores like Costco together to split the cost of bulky household items. Or, if you don’t know your neighbours very well, you can always find a group buying site online for the same benefits.

Community Groups

Take a look at your local authority website to find out about local community groups. You may also see adverts on websites like NextDoor. These might be anything from cheap fitness classes to book groups, all great ways to build a support network and be sociable on a budget.

You could even get fit for free if you join a green gym. Volunteer your time to spruce up your local green spaces, and at the same time you’ll get to know people and get a great workout in, too!

Pick Up Free Stuff

From sharing too-good-to-waste food on Olio to picking up free furniture, your local community is full of generosity for free stuff if you know where to look.

Facebook marketplace, NextDoor, and even apps like Vinted have options to look for items listed as free. Even if you don’t want a free item, you can save an awful lot of money buying second-hand things from your local neighbours compared to even looking on auction sites like eBay.

Use a Tool Library

Not every local community has one of these, but if yours doesn’t perhaps you can be the driving force behind setting up an appliance library!

A tool library works just like a normal library – some require a small donation, others operate for free. It means you can borrow tools that you need for a one-off event instead of spending lots of money or taking up valuable storage space.

Renting appliances saves you money on buying the appliance and also helps other people in your community, as using the appliance library will help to keep it open for others.

Ride Share

Whether you’ve got your own car and want to split fuel costs with others taking the same journey, or you’re in need of a lift, ride shares can help reduce your transport costs.

Car pooling is particularly popular for school runs or for people who work with or near each other. But you can take it one step further – if you need to get a taxi back from the shops on a regular basis, consider going shopping with a local friend and splitting the cab fare home.

Skill Swap

Are you a dab hand at sewing? Perhaps you’re a qualified electrician or have experience with tiling. Maybe you’re a tech whizz.

Whatever practical skills you have, someone is bound to be in need of them. You can ask around locally for someone with the skills you’re in need of, in return for your own. But that can be quite tricky, especially if you need a niche skill. That’s why Timebanking exists – you give your time and skills and ‘bank’ the time against getting someone else to help you when you need it.

Sign Up to Local Newsletters

Whether it’s community halls, church groups, or even your local parish council, there are always lots of newsletters to sign up to for insight into free things to do and ways to save money in your community. And don’t forget the MoneyMagpie newsletter while you’re at it!

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