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When It’s Okay to Be Nosy

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nosy

I was really looking forward to this past weekend as I had no plans. It was the first weekend in some time where there was nothing I needed to do. Yes, my wife and I are flying down to New Orleans for FinCon, but I already have that on the schedule. September has been a busy month for us and it isn’t stopping yet.

So, needless to say, a weekend with no definite plans is quite nice. Lo and behold, life had another plan for me as usual. Instead of relaxing, playing with my son, and enjoying the weekend, family and friends started calling with requests for me to help with home and garden projects. At the end of my busy day I learned a very important lesson (which I’ll share with you in this post) sometimes it pays to be ‘nosy’ with friends, family and neighbors; especially when being nosy means thinking of them when you have a home maintenance project arise.

Life Laughs at My Days Off

 

Now, on to the story of my day off and how I learned the lesson I’m sharing with you.

I really do think life doesn’t like it when I take a day off. It must mess up the spin of the earth. I don’t know, but when I plan for a nice and easy day, it always goes awry. This past weekend was no different.

It started with my mother-in-law needing a new garbage disposal put in. I have done that repair a few times in the past, so I wasn’t worried. After about 30 minutes, the job was done and I smelled like an old garbage disposal. If you have one, then you know that smell.

After that, my friend called for my help with a tree in his backyard. My wife and I went over to their house to say hello and see their new baby. Obviously, I didn’t hold the baby as I was on the bad side of rotten. I did however help my friend cut down a tree that was sucking up too much light in the backyard. He was the cutter and I was the man trying to pull the tree up a slope.

Yeah, great idea! After pulling and bracing myself against another tree for support, we landed that sucker in a good spot. Then we cut it up and moved it to his neighbor’s yard. Then came a random question.

Hey, do you want to go in on an aerator this weekend for your lawn?

Hmm…that is a random question, but our new yard does need a little life support. After thinking about it and talking with my wife, I decided to go in on the aerator. We could rent one at our local Home Depot, but it was going to cost about $100 for 24 hours. I heard the number and didn’t really like it, but I forgot about one aspect of this deal.

Group Renting Rocks

 

It was my good friend, his friend, and myself all going in on this deal.That means the overall cost was split three ways. Yes, we planned on aerating three lawns, but it only cost me $32 to aerate my entire yard. That is really good for almost an acre of grass. Try getting that from a service.

It got me thinking more about group renting. Why have I not done this more in the past? Most of my friends are homeowners and many of them do the same things as I around the same time. I usually go and rent a tool, use it, then return it. I rarely think to ask friends, family and neighbors if they have use for the tool or piece of equipment or service I need.

For example, earlier this year, I needed a power washer when we sold our home. It cost me $125 for the entire weekend, but what I didn’t think about was asking my friends or family if they needed one. After talking with one friend this past weekend, he asked why I didn’t call him. He needed to power wash his deck. Opportunity lost.

Instead of group renting, I rented one and he rented one, just on different weekends. If we would have communicated, or if I would have thought to be ‘nosy’ and ask, we could have saved half the cost and it would have made the DIY work that much more rewarding.

My word of advice is to always check with friends and family before renting something. If you can share the cost with someone, what do you have to lose? You get the same thing for less money. You can even create a little ‘neighborhood renters’  group.

Think of how much you could save if you bring together ten people? I have even seen this tactic work when you are talking with a service company. If you need some trees cut down, then rope in some of your neighbors and ask for a discount. Most reputable companies will knock a little off the price to get the job and earn good money on a number of homes. Sometimes my priorities cloud my savings mindset but I will make sure to remember group buying/renting before I go down the path of doing it on my own next time.

 

Have you ever rented/bought something as a group? How did it work out? What’s the downside to renting with friends or neighbors? Have you had a bad experience in the past with this strategy?

 

Photo courtesy of: granitefan713

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Grayson is the owner of Debt Roundup and Empowered Shopper. He also co-owns Sprout Wealth and Eyes on the Dollar. After going to battle and winning against consumer debt, he decided it was time to learn how to use credit wisely and grow his wealth. He discusses all things personal finance and is not afraid of being controversial. He also is a freelance writer and blog manager.

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