Save money and resources with the swap economy

17 Jan 2019 Save money and resources with the swap economy

There is nothing new about the sharing economy and in recent years many organisations and infamous technology has been created. To help people share their homes, cars and even skills in exchange for currency and of course people have been bartering for 1000's of years.

Some restaurants listed on the #fairfoodforagerapp have been bartering and there are also groups organised on facebook to share excess produce. These groups are excellent for reducing food waste, food miles and costs.

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What about other things? This week I had several perfect bartering opportunities in the way of household tools. It makes a lot of sense to swap this stuff rather than go out and buy more. I’ve read that the average power drill purchased for a household is used on average a total of 20min (drilling time) in its entire life. That’s crazy!

A friend this week needed a concrete trowel to do one tiny job. This friend would never be doing big areas of concreting himself, so he asked if he could borrow mine or else he was going off to buy his own. Of course I lent it to him, I likely haven’t used it for 5 years anyway. I needed a pole saw to trim some high branches and rather than spending a few hundred dollars, I borrowed one from a friend. Everyone does this you say and I hope this is true? Though how could we make even more use of this, especially among neighbours?

In recent years I have been on a quest to reduce the 'stuff' in my life and so I have been slowly releasing things that no longer seem required as people, animals and experiences mean much more than accumulation. Imagine how much money and resources we could save if we just shared a little more? Lawnmowers, circular saws, jig saws, trailers, tents, backpacks anything that you don’t need daily you could swap.

So how could we make this work efficiently among a larger group? A simple list of tools on the fridge with the person who owns them shared between neighbours, friends and relatives? Perhaps a google doc with each borrower simply highlighted in a spreadsheet?

Example of a google doc, colour coded. The user fills in the live form and colours the square with the colour of who's tools are being used, then anyone can look and call the owner or borrower for availability.

How much could be saved if we just borrowed and we might even speak to our friends and relatives a little more often?

It’s a win for everyone apart from the hardware stores.

Do you know of any technology or people who are making swapping easier? Let us know in the comments below or in social media and lets speak more and share more. 

Paul Hellier

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