21 Things You Borrow, Not Buy

green and white press drill on table

Tool Shed or Money Pit? Invest wisely.


Halloween candy is already adorning store shelves. The Pumpkin Spice Latte is in full force at a coffee vendor nearest you. Kids are (finally) going back to school. This is a signal that the holiday season is rapidly approaching. With retail more cutthroat each passing year, you can expect more sales, more deals, for more things you may think you need or wanted over the past few months.
Before we get caught up in all the excitement of the deals and sales and holiday bustle, while we are still our rational selves, let’s think for a moment about our wants. I love to cook and I’ll admit, a fancy espresso machine or a panini press look really cool. And in the moment when it is 50% or more off, I could likely convince myself that I’ll eat paninis every day or make fancy espresso drinks for after supper. But in that moment, would I think about the maintenance of hand washing components, of the space these devices take up, and how boring panini sandwiches would likely get after the third day. And I already drink my favorite coffee every morning from my French press. So are these devices, as cool as they are, really a quality of life improvement I would get full value from? Or am I going to fulfill a rush, a high from purchasing these items only to briefly enjoy, then be irritated by, and eventually discard years later with little remorse these trinkets, these toys?
Now I want you to think about something you’ve wanted, but up to this point haven’t purchased already. What does your lifestyle look like with that item? Would you really get full use out of it? Is it a need? And what would you need to do to maintain it?
Now, before you crawl away from this blog article with your holiday hopes dashed and your spirit ruined by your favorite financial adviser once more, I do not come to you writing this article without bearing gifts. For I have an idea that could give you access to these wonderful devices and items without the expense of buying them or the labor of storing/maintaining them long-term.
Borrow them.
Here is a list of 21 different things you should borrow instead of buy. Save yourself some money, and then share this post with a friend so they can save some money borrowing and sharing things with you. For more terrific financial tips, check out the Briggs Financial Facebook and Instagram pages, and sign up for The Briggs Blog monthly email at the end of this blog post to have articles like this one delivered to you monthly. No spam, just terrific content delivered directly to you!
Finally, if you feel that working with a financial coach could help you stay on track in reaching your personal financial and investment goals, schedule a free consultation or email me at steven@briggswealth.com – I would love to meet you!
Extension ladder, Chainsaw, Power Washer, Rug Cleaner (and most specialized tools)
You clean the gutters a couple of times a year. The tree can only be cut down one time. You may keep a clean house, but how often do you (honestly) clear furniture out of each room to suds the carpet? If you aren’t regularly building things in your shed or garage, do you really need a full workshop of Snap-On tools? Have a screwdriver set. Keep a hammer handy. Borrow the jigsaw from a neighbor or rent it – yes, you can rent power tools – from your local hardware/supply store. Alternatively, you could ask your neighbors to keep a community shed of accessories for communal use, with everyone contributing to maintain the equipment. If you don’t regularly need these tools, it’s not good for the tool or for your wallet to buy equipment you won’t regularly use.
Camping Gear/Sports Equipment/Bikes/Kayaks
There are people who truly live an active lifestyle, and then there are those of us who wish, dream, or think we are outdoorsy when really we go camping and hiking a couple of times a year at the most. You don’t need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on gear you plan to use a handful of times. Save the money and the wishful thinking – borrow the gear from your friends instead.
Libraries have found the 21st century in good form, because your public library is likely no longer a repository for old World Book encyclopedias. Many libraries are multimedia centers, hubs for borrowing movies, music, electronic books for any e-reader, as well as traditional print media. If you haven’t checked it out in a while (see what I did there?) consider taking a look at what your local library offers.
Baby Gear
What do the people with babies before you do when their child no longer fits their crib? Do they hang onto it forever, for sentimental value? Doubtful. Someone has all sorts of baby stuff and trust me, you are doing them a favor by taking it off their hands.
If you travel often, multiple trips a year, and you plan to do that for several years, having sturdy, warranty-guaranteed luggage is absolutely worth the money. Been there, done that, no regrets. But if you are a 1-3 trips a year traveler, find a friend who travels and borrow their gear. The warranty doesn’t track who is traveling, and you shouldn’t being paying the cost of an overseas trip for a set you’ll likely collect more dust than miles with.
Got a big heavy thing you need moved? If you don’t have a friend willing to help out for pizza and beer (the currency of choice for the five friends I polled who own trucks), rent one for the day from your local hardware store. It’s very inexpensive and far better for the limited times you’ll use it for heavy duty truck stuff.
Kitchen Gadgets and Serving Dishes
You cannot use all the devices at the same time, so unless you are a professional chef and/or opening a professional kitchen in your home, think about what you actually use most and stick to that. Trust me, someone on your Facebook or Instagram feed is going to buy that really sweet sous vide system and will love to show you just awesome a cook they are with it with you.
Board Games and Video Games
Yours truly is a recovering board game buying addict. Games are awesome, and having a collection of terrific games to play with friends feels great. But akin to the kitchen gadget argument, you cannot play all of them at once, and there will be games that you just never quite have time to get to. Consider dedicating a limited amount of space to your board games and only buy a game that you think is so good, you can let go of one you don’t play as much.
Similarly, with multiplayer video games it is typically not required that every single player have a copy of the game. Four people can play one copy of Super Smash Brothers, so share accordingly – maybe everyone pitches in a few dollars for the shared experience instead of buying four copies.
There are so many ways to buy/borrow copies of textbooks for school. You never need a brand new copy. The right edition, perhaps, but let someone else bite the bullet on the new book purchase if at all possible. Sometimes it’s not, but every little bit helps – especially in college! That’s more cheap pizza and beer . . . I mean, money saved in your bank account.
Table Decor/Altar Arch for Wedding
You can pay hundreds if not thousands of dollars to have this done for you, or you can get creative and in an afternoon with friends create the decorations for your big day. Since you’re only planning to do this one time, buy your altar arch online – we got ours from Craigslist, and sold it to another happy couple a few weeks later.
Extra Tables/Chairs for Parties
If you host parties regularly, storing extra tables and chairs makes sense. Consider looking for bowling alleys, restaurants, and other businesses closing as an opportunity to buy sturdy party tables and chairs at a major discount – you can even take my idea of renting a truck to pick them up! If you plan on infrequently needing these items, check your local community social media outlet or rent the chairs and tables for that big graduation party or afterparty.

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