Pooling local and family resources to save cash

541349_spreadsheet_1When was the last time you bought something one of your friends, family, colleagues or neighbours already owns?

Say you need a lawnmower, a set of Allen keys, a long ladder, a pickaxe, a slow cooker, a large cake tin, a tent, a car jack, extra chairs for a dinner party… you name it. If you’re broke it makes a lot of sense to beg, borrow and scrounge instead of buying, especially if you’ll only use it once a year or once in a blue moon.

The same goes for small businesses – can someone in your network lend you what you need or let you borrow it for a few quid? A projector, whiteboard, large meeting room, scanner, laminating machine…

Here are some tips about setting up a lending community and saving cash by pooling your resources.

  1. rally suitable people together and get everyone to jot down the stuff they’re prepared to lend
  2. create a master list or spreadsheet and either email it to all concerned or bung it on a web page for reference – a bog standard list will do, with headers for different categories: DIY, garden, car, kitchen and so on
  3. include a phone number or email address for the owner of each item
  4. each member keeps a note of the things they’ve lent to other community members so they don’t lose track

Because you’re collaborating with friends, family, neighbours and fellow small business owners who you know and trust, there’s no need to go mad on the admin side of things. The looser you keep it, the less time consuming it is to manage.

If your community needs something none of you own, you can pool your cash and buy it between you, stashing it somewhere convenient and creating a new category on your list, for example ‘community property’.