Create your own money-saving community

swap shop TV programme logoHow many people do you know who are struggling with money? Very few of us are fat cats and most of us would like to spend less, save more. There’s power in numbers. Could creating your own mini money-saving community be a good financial move?

Getting your money saving compatriots together

It isn’t always easy to admit you’re struggling. The first step is to acknowledge you could do with support and bring other people on board. Then you can take steps to change things. Even if you’re comfortably off, joining in means you save money that you might otherwise waste – always a good thing.

Here are a bunch of reasons why it’s such a cool idea, whatever your motivation, and some ways to make it work. Next time you hook up with friends, family and even work colleagues, there’s plenty to discuss.

Organising yourselves

Every organisation needs a boss. Figure out who’ll make the best leader. It will probably become apparent pretty quickly, since born leaders tend to take things into their own hands naturally. Then make group members responsible for organising different areas of your money saving quest.

Taking turns is a big part of group money saving. Rotas are important to make sure the cost of tasks is spread fairly throughout the community. If you have a financial or business whiz amongst you, they will probably have clever ideas about how to make that side of it work.

Publicising the idea

The more of you there are, the better. You could stay small, neat and intimate or publicise the idea by sending your local paper a press release, setting up a simple website, approaching your local radio station and putting up posters in libraries, community centres, cafes and so on.

Saving money communally

  • Buying local – Buying local means fewer fuel miles and less cash on petrol. If you arrange big weekly local shopping sessions or trips to town between you, on a rota, you do fewer car journeys
  • Growing local – Can you all share the cost of the green fingered amongst you growing veg for your community? 
  • Buying in bulk – Get yourselves a wholesale card and buy the basics in bulk once a month for huge savings. Take turns going to the warehouse
  • Making deals – If you all need the same kind of goods or services at the same time, you can negotiate good £££ deals
  • Saving on deliveries – Who stays home? Use them as a common delivery point for everyone’s online purchases so you don’t have to drive to the depot or Post Office to pick stuff up at weekends and after work.
  • Communal online shopping – This one’s for small groups. If you can get your organisational act together you could save a great deal of money on online delivery charges. At Tesco they’re anything from £3 to £6 per shop.  If just five of you pool your weekly shop and you usually pay £4 each for delivery, you’ll save £80 a month between you. It’s great when you live close together because it’s easy to pop round and pick up your stuff 
  • Lending and borrowing – Now you have a large pool of like-minded people to borrow from and lend to. Which means you don’t need to buy things like lawn mowers, power tools, even vehicles
  • Mending stuff – Who can mend stuff? Call on talented community members to mend anything from your computer to your tumble drier. You could barter services between you rather than paying one another, or set up a community discount scheme between you
  • Tip runs – Nominate a different person to take everyone’s junk to the local tip once a month and save cash on petrol as well as expensive rubbish collection services
  • Swap shop – Hold a community swap shop twice a year and exchange the things you don’t need. It’s also a great excuse to get together and socialise
  • Car share – Cut transport costs by car sharing on the school run, shopping trips and commutes
  • Garden swaps – Need plants? Someone is bound to give you cuttings, seeds or unwanted mature specimens

Whether you restrict your money saving group to friends and family or take it further and involve the wider community, pooling your resources  should save you a lot of cash. It could also be great fun, an excellent way to meet new people.