5 Ways to Get Out of Debt

In today’s economic climate, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who isn’t tangled up in some form of debt. Be it student loans, a housing mortgage, or credit card debt, the majority of us are constantly trying to stay one step ahead of our financial liabilities. Well thankfully, through the beauty of sharing economy and peer-to-peer networks, you could contribute and grow closer to the people in your community, while getting, and more importantly staying, out of debt.


1. Accommodation

Most of us have a spare room or two that doesn’t see much usage, aside from it being a storage space for our least-used knick-knacks. If the spring cleaning fever hits you and you (finally) clear it out, you can consider renting the space out through airbnb. On average a private room in a major city is rented out on airbnb for US $300/week. It’s not too shabby earning a bit of rent while providing a traveler lodging, saving them from hefty hotel costs. I wager you’ll probably even make a friend or two.

The reverse can be applied to cut down on your personal expenditure too. A good majority of us can probably recall that once or twice we went on a holiday that was just above our budget, ending up pretty broke for the rest of the month. And for the most part, if you’ve stayed at one hotel, you’ve stayed at them all, as the difference in services and amenities provided is pretty minimal. To that effect, you could get a much more intimate, homely experience through airbnb or even couchsurfing, and the latter is completely free. In my personal experience, couchsurfing helps you make the most of your time in a foreign state or country, as your host would usually give dependable advice on the best places to visit and the most efficient way to get there.

2. Services

Labour platforms, such as Uber, TaskRabbit, and Zaarly, provide a source of income with low to zero commitment, giving you the opportunity to serve someone in your community while putting a dent in your own overheads. These platforms allow you to pick up odd jobs at your leisure, in exchange for money or even services.

Own a car and have some spare time every morning? Someone in your neighbourhood may need a ride to work for a month or two. Love dogs and you’re working from home for the time being? You could consider dog-sitting for someone going on a holiday soon. Even more opportunities open up if you have particular skill sets. Peer-to-peer marketplaces like Zaarly allow you to market your skills and services through your very own online store. From repairing smartphones to baking birthday cakes, anyone who has a little time on their hands can definitely offer to share their skills with the community.

And aside from offering, receiving is another great way to cut down on expenses and debt. By utilising peer-to-peer services and marketplaces, you’re supporting and nurturing a self-reliant community, which will greatly reduce your own spending, and wastage of precious resources.

3. Transportation

Did you know that the average car is unused 92% of the time? Imagine if we worked out an efficient system to share that car amongst a dozen families, the auto-industry wouldn’t be filling up acres and acres of scrapyards then. Thanks to platforms like RelayRides and GetAround, the possibility of that is inching a little closer. You can consider renting out your car through these platforms during periods of disuse, instead of leaving it parked in a driveway, waiting for a layer of dust to settle on it. Many such services offer insurance as well, so you’re well protected. The reverse applies as well, instead of purchasing a brand new car just to go to work every morning, you could use these platforms to find a car for rent at a suitable daily timing. That’ll greatly cut down on your auto-insurance, car mortgage, and car maintenance costs, an effective and efficient way of avoiding unnecessary debt.

4. Stuff

How many lawnmowers do you and your neighbours actually need? Just one, with the power of sharing that is. Chances are if you need something, your neighbour already has it, or vice versa. It’s a little silly for every household to own a ladder or power drill, appliances that most of us use rarely. It’d make a lot more sense to ask your friends or neighbour and borrow such stuff, instead of buying one just in case we’ll ever need it again (in the next decade). Hence it’d certainly be a worthy endeavour to spend some time to get to know your neighbors, and build a communal sharing mindset within your community. You can set an example by being the first one to offer your own appliances for borrowing if the topic ever comes up, it’d be a wonderful step in the right direction. Being in a communal sharing neighborhoods is simply a smart financial move that keeps expenditure lower for everyone in the community, and of course who doesn’t love that warm fuzzy feeling of helping out a neighbour or friend?
Start Sharing instead of Buying today.

5. Food

Despite the growing availability of junk food, we’re certainly much better informed in terms of what’s healthy and what’s not. And while GMOs and organic produce are still matters of dispute, fresher produce being better is a global consensus. Finding fresh produce that hasn’t been on the shelf for days is a real challenge these days, unless you live next to a local farm or own one yourself. The next best thing would be to join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), a sort of community garden that shares its produce monthly with its members. Members pay for their produce with labour instead of cash, thus reducing expenses on food and avoiding potential debt burden. You can volunteer to harvest the crops, water them, and/or other odd jobs to help out on the gardens. So anyone with a little spare time can feed themselves, as well as their community through the volunteer initiative. When the time comes to reap what you sow, you get to do it as a community, and quite literally share the fruits of your labour.

Friends with Benefits – 5 benefits of sharing with friends

Sharing with strangers is a noble concept, but it’s not a new one. Many religious and ethnic places such as Buddhist and Sikh temples do so, however, on a more personal scale, what about sharing with friends?

friendship and sisterhood

credit: Museum of Public Art

Sharing with friends, while not a totally new or different concept, can help you in many ways that sharing with strangers do not. While sharing is great in both forms, sharing with friends tends to be more intimate, and also helps to strengthen the bonds of friendship. Let’s take a look at the hows, and whys shall we?

1. Sharing creates common goals

When you share things, you not only share physical items. In the process of sharing, you understand that sharing is not just the lending of an item based off trust to your friend. It is also a philosophy, and a way of life that you are participating in.

Both of you understand that sharing is about trust, and about conservation of the limited resources that we have, as well as the practical side of cost sharing and saving on items you and your friend have and share.

2. Sharing creates trust among friends

Friendship is a strange creature, yet it is a vital one in our society. Most forms of lifelong bonds are formed on the basis of friendship. Husbands, wives, and lovers all start out as friends. Even parents are encouraged to be a friend to their children.

Why? Simply because there is a certain form of trust among friends – one that says “I will not harm you, we are in this for mutual goodwill”. Simply put, that is at its essence, that the other person means well, and is, and can be a likeable person in your social circle.

Sharing of course, needs to take place when there is trust. When you share, mutual trust increases, as sharing itself is a a self-propagating mechanism for trust, which acts as a social lubricant in your friendship.

3. Sharing helps you learn more about your friend

Simply put, why does your friend have a wood planer tool? You’ll find out that maybe she was into woodworking while working on her masters, or maybe that her beautiful chestnut and oak table was handcrafted by her?

Perhaps she was part of a recreated Viking expedition, and the wood planer was used in the construction of a longship? Or maybe her father or uncle was a woodworker, and she inherited the tool from them? Perhaps an old ex left it behind?

You never know, since objects each have their own history, and people share them to make the next part in their story.

Now, it can be your turn to add on to its rich and storied history, and to tell it to the next person you share it to.

After all, some antiques gain their value from their historicity, which basically means, where they’ve been and what they’ve been used for.

4. Sharing helps you to learn skills and knowledge from your friend

So maybe your friend has a wood planer, and she did go on the recreated Viking expedition across the Atlantic, and after that she chose to settle down next to you, and she brought it along as a memento.

Then, she started learning how to use it to make furniture, and that’s how you eventually met her, while she was planing her table in the yard. Now, wouldn’t it make for a good experience if she taught you how to safely use the wood planer?

Put in a few hours with that wood planer in her yard, as well as a few other tools, and reciprocate with perhaps a session of jam making and tea in the future, and the both of you can learn how to have jam, on nicely crafted tables together!

A few hours of hard work and fun learning a new skill with your friend is a great way to bond as well as find out more about someone, yes?

5. Sharing lowers costs and opens the way for more shared activities together

Of course, not having to buy brand new equipment and hire a trainer definitely improves the cost of activities. After you and your friends have had a great time hanging out learning from each other’s experiences as well as skills you can embark on shared projects together!

After all, people used to live in smaller communities, and now our communities are made up of our own social circles. Our own social circles are no longer constrained by boundaries such as location or geography, with the advent of the internet and other forms of advanced communications.

The key idea here however, is to get together with a bunch of friends who have varied skills and interests, and embark on a project where they can share not only their tools, but also their skills and experiences, teaching each other and coming to a common understanding and shared goal. That’s how you bond friends with sharing!

We hope you’ve found this article useful, now go out and share with your friends! There’s an app for that: Lendogram 😉

Library of Things

As we head into the new future of consumerism and increased personal gain, are there any places in our communities, lives and homes that we can share? A place where one can lend, borrow, and trust in the goodwill of the neighbour and community to repay in kind with trust and goodwill too?
Well, you’ll be happy to know that places like these are more common than you think.

If you look closely, these places are not just publicly owned in name, but also in deed, meaning to say, some are community run and funded, while others are government funded, but the community usually decides on how to run the organization, what to lend and how.

You see, the key lynchpin to making a library of things, as we call them, is trust. Trust in the community you live in, as well as in the stewards of the library. let us share with you three delightful examples we have found.

ThingsThe public book libraries of Sacramento

The public book library of Sacramento, is a government funded library that actually functions as both a library for books, and a library for things.

The part of the Sacramento Public Library that loans out items is similar to how it loans out books. A member of the library needs to fill out a form to loan the ‘thing’ as they call it, and they can then be loaned out the lender for up to 3 weeks. If that period is not long enough – it can be borrowed up to 6 times, in which case, the need for the item should have passed.

This library chooses what items will be available to the public by how portable the item is, how valuable it is, as well as the number of votes from valid members as to the items that they want.

The items are then either donated, or bought using state money for this public programme to be available for loaning out, or to be used.

A small list of the items available : Board games, Video games, Sewing Machines, 3D printers, button maker, laminators, screen printers, musical instruments, GoPro cameras, a serger for professional stitching, and a bike repair station.

They have a full online catalogue of items available, some items can be used in the library only, such as the bike repair station, the 3D printer, as well as the Serger. For the reasons that they are higher in value and harder to operate and set up, these are kept at the library.

The Library of Things is located at Arcade Library at 2443 Marconi Ave. in Sacramento.

The Library of Things in Berlin

Berlin! Such a place with rich history, always breaking down barriers between people, and they’re doing it again, with the Laila Project, which is a library of things in the purest sense.

The Laila project is staffed by a volunteer who goes by Mr Nikolai Wolfert, who is a volunteer there.

If you ever wonder what the motivations were behind his store, he says “The average electric drill is used for 13 minutes in its entire lifetime – how does it make sense to buy something like that? It’s much more efficient to share it”.

That’s typical German efficiency for you! But apart from that, take a look at Leila on a deeper scale, and you’ll find that he’s actually a member of the Green party, and after they lost their local elections, he decided that he could do something for his community based off his political beliefs for the good of the community.

Thus, the Laila project was born. The Laila project is similar to other library of things – items get loaned out, and items are donated in, and to be part of the project to access items, you need to first donate something. The items range from useful, to quirky – drills to unicycles.

Mr Nikolai emphasises that it isn’t just about charity – it’s about efficiency, for more people, to use less. That’s the way to go isn’t it?

Library of Things in the UK

The Library of Things in the UK  started in West Norwood, South London in 2014, when friends Emma, James and Bex ran a pilot scheme in a library after visiting a borrowing shop in Berlin.

Similar to the project run by the Sacramento Public Library, the initial project by friends Emma, James and Bex met with success and an overwhelmingly positive response from the community, not just as a means of resource sharing and distribution, but also as a means of community bonding, interaction, and learning. Simply put – you can borrow a circular saw, but first you’ll have to learn how to use it from someone who does?

After that, they decided to pitch the idea to the general public online for funding via Kickstarter, and have raised £15,000 for this new library from 248 people.

They aim to set up a new library of things with these funds in South London, as well as making a toolkit to help others start their own library of things.

Do you know of other initiatives on Library of Things? Have you been thinking about starting one in your community? Comment below or contact us: hello{at}lendogram{dot}com.