Borrow, Lend – and Save!

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One of my favorite money saving strategies is to borrow and lend items in order to avoid purchasing them new. A wonderful friend loaned me this stack of great books that I have had so much fun reading my way through. Not only was it completely free (not even a library late fee to worry about!) but the books came with her recommendation.

I have also been incredibly lucky to receive LOTS of hand me downs for my daughter from a few family members and close friends. I can’t even begin to add up how much they have saved us over the years! And of course I pass them along to other friends with littler ones when my daughter has outgrown things that the original owner doesn’t want back.

Books and baby clothes are probably are probably some of the “most borrowed” items among women – and I’m guessing tools top the list for the guys, but that is just the beginning. You could borrow or lend just about anything – furniture, grown up clothes (particularly for a special occasion where you’d only be wearing something once), sports equipment, household items, and even homes.

Borrowing or lending items doesn’t always go smoothly. I have come up with the following “Borrowing Best Practices” to avoid frustration or hard feelings:

  • Only lend items that it wouldn’t overly upset you if they got lost or damaged. In college I loaned a dress to a good friend and when I saw her getting a piggy-back ride home from her date and then heard a loud “riiippppp!” I was very glad I had set my favorites aside when she came to choose an outfit. (The good old days huh?)
  • When you loan an item be very clear about whether you’d like it back, and whether you need it back by a certain time.
  • Put a sticky note on each borrowed item with the name of its owner so you can remember to return it. For multiple items (such as baby clothes) ask if it’s ok to put their initials on the tags so you can easily sort through them. If the sticky note is impractical – maybe for something that will be used repeatedly, keep a list or reminder somewhere you’ll come across it periodically.
  • Stick to close friends and family members to borrow from or lend to. If you lose touch it can be difficult to return items. If you have something you no longer need that an acquaintance could use it might be simpler to just offer it as a gift.

What have you borrowed that has saved you money? Any stories of borrowing gone wrong?

Anna Platz is an Editor at, a leading mortgage rate research website, as well as the Lead Contributor to, a blog about budgeting and personal finance. Anna is immersed in the world of real estate, mortgage, and home financing and is here to provide valuable resources for homeowners and soon-to-be-homeowners on buying and selling real estate, researching a mortgage broker or lender, and securing a home loan. Check back often for news, updates, and remember that you can find today's current mortgage rates at My Google Profile+

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