For many people, having friendly and helpful neighbours in their community is a priceless benefit. But having good neighbours can translate to actual financial savings too.
How often do you speak to your neighbours? Unfortunately, I rarely speak to mine. Busy lifestyles typically mean we only have time to exchange a quick hello before dashing off to wherever we’re going.
Putting in the effort to get to know your neighbours might be worth it, though, you could gain some friends and they could even help you save some money.
Research from HSBC has revealed that we are more a nation of ‘functional acquaintances’, using our neighbours for functional purposes rather than social ones. According to the research, 92 per cent of responders said they knew some of their neighbours, but only 12 per cent considered them friends.
The research also revealed the top 10 interactions we have with our neighbours:
- 28 per cent have lent something
- 26 per cent have borrowed something
- 16 per cent feed pets or water plants when they’re away
- 13 per cent have asked neighbours to feed pets or water plants
- 12 per cent keep a spare key for their neighbour
- 11 per cent have shared a meal
- 10 per cent ask neighbours to keep a spare key for them
- 7 per cent said their children play together
- 2 per cent have their children looked after by a neighbour
- 2 per cent look after their neighbour’s children after school.
It would be lovely to know there’s someone to lean on close by when you need it. So, friendship aside, how could good neighbours potentially save you money?
If you’re lucky enough to have a neighbour who travels in the same direction as you in the mornings it’s worth considering sharing a ride. That way you can split the cost of fuel and save money.
If you drive to a train station most days, keep an eye out for neighbours who do the same. This way, you could end up sharing not just fuel costs, but parking too.
Or how about taking the kids to school? If your neighbours have children who go to the same school as yours, why not lift share?
Childcare can be very expensive and there is definitely a point where it becomes too much to ask from a neighbour. But if you happen to have a neighbour who finishes work early to pick the kids up from school; perhaps they could collect your child, too, and keep an eye on them for an hour until you get home.
Alternatively, you could look into a nanny share arrangement with your neighbours. A nanny share is where two families share childcare services and the subsequent costs of hiring a nanny, which and can work really well, especially if the children are already friends and neighbours.
You could also save on the odd night of babysitting by asking a neighbour to step in and repaying the favour when they want to head out for an evening.
Similarly, if you have a pet and you’ve got an animal-lover for a neighbour, why not ask them if they mind looking after your pet while you’re on holiday? This could vary from popping in to feed the cat over a weekend to fully hosting a dog for a week.
This can save a lot of money on a boarding service and will likely cause your pet less stress. Just make sure to leave plenty of food and treats and maybe some money for incidentals. If your neighbour also has a pet, you can offer to do the same when they go away.
Borrowing and lending
If you’re finally getting around to that odd DIY job but realise you don’t have the right tool, why not ask a neighbour if you can borrow one instead of buying it.
Sharing goods you use infrequently (such as a chainsaw) can save you money, as well as space in your home, garage or shed.
Bulk buying groceries
A Costco membership costs just $60 per year and there are many deals to be found; but it can be intimidating purchasing things in bulk. So why not ask around and see if neighbours would be willing to pay for half and share it with you.
There’s plenty of money to be saved with a skill swap. Say, for example, your neighbour is a hairdresser and you’re a keen baker, you could swap freshly baked goodies for a haircut.
Swap physical items
Hosting a street swapping party can be a great way to save money on books, clothes, furniture and more. All you need to do is find an appropriate house, get all the neighbours to bring along their unwanted items and get swapping. This is a great way of getting more use out of children’s toys and clothes that have been outgrown. It’s an excuse to socialise too.
When you know your neighbours, you get to know what they’re good at, what they need help with and where you fit in.
These ideas can save you money, decrease waste and reduce your carbon footprint, so what are you waiting for?
How well do you know your neighbours? Have you ever had a neighbour from hell?
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