Friday, May 20, 2016

Rule #4 Learn to BORROW instead of OWN

In my opinion, there are a lot of benefits to borrowing an item instead of running out and buying it.  Let me give you just 2....and I'll do it in the form of a story.  I call it:

The Tale of the George Foreman Grill

Once upon a time, a new amazing gadget was invented by the famous boxer, George Foreman. Everyone you met could not say enough about the amazing Goerge Foreman grill. It cooked your steak or chicken or salmon to perfection in just minutes. It was magical. It sounded too good to be true to me but after hearing from several people that it was the best thing since sliced bread, I really wanted to try it.  The problem was:
A. they were pretty expensive for just a "try"
B. They are big and bulky and would take up a lot of space in my kitchen--which is especially a problem if I didn't like it, right?

And then the brilliant thought came into my head...
"my friend and neighbor, Holly, who lives across the street had a George Foreman grill!" And Holly is gracious and lovely and unselfish and I knew she would let me "try it out" before I went and bought one.  And guess what? She did. (Thanks Holly!:)

And guess what else? 
I tried it and didn't really like it. I have a lot of kids and it couldn't cook everything I needed at the same time (and Holly had a BIG one).  And what it did cook wasn't moist and tender like I thought it would be. And my family felt like the food tasted bland and would rather have it barbecued outside or cooked in the oven with onions smothered on it.

SO, I washed it up and took it back to Holly, said "thank-you so much" and saved myself $50 and a whole lot of storage space.

And my love for borrowing things began.

Another time, my teenage daughter, Ashley, (who is tremendous in the kitchen by the way) wanted to try her hand at making a REAL cheesecake. (Usually I think Costco is the way to go on these things but...) The problem was I had never purchased or owned the spring foam pan that is needed to make a real cheesecake. 
And I wasn't really wanting to go spend the money on one, not to mention try to store it for the possible next time someone might want to try their hand at making a cheesecake.  So I started making calls. (What I have found, in the art of borrowing, is that someone in your mix of friends usually has the thing you need. (And, if not, at least you tried!))

And sure enough....on the 2nd call my neighbor Nancy said "Sure! I've got a spring foam pan. You're welcome to use it." Ashley ran and got it, went to work on making the cheesecake, found out they are a TON of work, and a few hours later we washed up the pan and took it back to Nancy with a piece of cheesecake in the middle of it. No $25 wasted and no large pan to have to store!

That's just two stories but I have dozens more of things that I have learned to borrow instead of buy and then own and store.

Borrowing is awesome because

1- It lets you TRY OUT new things without making the commitment to BUYING them, thus saving you lots of $$$.

That's the beauty of
the library

or Red Box or Netflix, right?

You HAVE to ask yourself...
why go to Barnes and Noble, Costco or Wal-Mart and BUY a book or movie that you can just borrow, watch, listen to or read and then return again? For FREE or just a few dollars?

2- It saves you from having to STORE, JUGGLE, MOVE AROUND, and DEAL WITH IT more STUFF! (Thus the whole point of this blog:)

How about some of these ideas?

Do you really need to OWN a bundt cake pan for the once or twice a year that you want to make a bundt cake (insert awesome pronunciation here from "My Big Fat Greek Wedding.") Or could you just borrow one from your neighbors and let them store it for you ;)

What about things like life jackets or other outdoor equipment?
Unless you own a boat and go out on the lake often, it really isn't necessary for you to own a collection of life jackets for the once or twice a summer you need them. Just figure out who in your life has a large supply and call them up to borrow one or two for the day. I can promise you from personal experience, as someone who owns a boat and lots of life jackets, we are happy to share!

Halloween costumes are another favorite of mine to borrow or lend out to others. Occasionally I am on the ball and/or one of my children insist on being something specific for Halloween.  But most of the time, a few days before Halloween we start asking the kids "What do you want to be for Halloween?" and they usually say "I don't know...maybe a this or that or this?" And that's when I put out on a plea on Facebook or a group text to friends and say 
"Does anyone have a Harry Potter costume in size 10ish?" 
"Does anyone have a great girl costume for a size 12 girl?" 
I've even gone so far as to ask for specific things like just the right kind of boots for a Flynn Rider costume.
And guess what?
I've yet to be disappointed.
As in, someone always has it and is glad to loan it to us for the week.

And with 6 kids, times 20+ years of trick-or-treating, I have acquired a box of costumes too and I loan some out almost every year. It makes me happy for others to get some use out of them!


Another way that borrowing benefits you is you actually get to know and interact with your neighbors. I've had a lot of great conversations with our neighbors through the years and a lot of those have been started because I asked to borrow something. Most everyone is more than willing to share and I think it makes them feel more connected to you after they have helped you out. A lot of times, when I borrow something, I try to return it with a plate of goodies or a treat. And, let's face it, any time you do something like that, it only BUILDS and ADDS to the relationship!

If you are convinced to give it a try, here are a few other ideas of things you might consider trying to borrow instead of buying:
*prom dresses
*party supplies like drink pitchers, serving utensils, or tablecloths
*air mattresses (for the occasional out-of-town guest)
*specific clothing to match for family pictures
*folding chairs 
*large yard work items like a power washer, extra tall ladder, or rototiller
*wedding decorations

And don't let that be the end of the list.  The main idea is to think before you just run out and BUY something (that you then have to maintain and store

"Can I just borrow this item instead?"

And in talking about the joys of borrowing, I would be remiss if I didn't also talk about the absolute 

1.  Return the item QUICKLY (as in within hours of finishing using it) and in as good if not better condition than when you borrowed it.

2.  If you find yourself borrowing the same item frequently, it's time to go and buy it.

3.  If you break or damage something you borrowed, fix it or replace it promptly.

4.  Be willing to let others borrow your possessions as well.

To me, these four rules go without saying. However, some may not have been taught as children the proper way to borrow or might not feel comfortable with borrowing. Thus, in borrowing from others, make sure you ask in an unassuming way that helps them feel comfortable in saying "no" to your borrowing request. That's why I like asking to borrow on a group Facebook page or in a group text. Some people feel more comfortable letting others borrow things than others do, and that's OK.  I've also found that if you establish yourself as an "excellent" borrower (you follow the 4 rules adamantly and repeatedly) people in your life learn to trust you with their things and allow you to borrow them more often.

 One tip in the area of letting others borrow from you is to keep a small "borrow journal" (I use a 3 x 5 card taped inside the kitchen cupboard) that keeps the simple information of who, when and what of borrowers.  Ours looks like this (although I recreated with different names to protect the innocent :)

When they return the item, you simply cross it off and put it back where it goes in your home. So simple and awesome.

Every once in a while (as in it has happened twice in my adult life) someone might borrow something from you and return it in a broken or damaged condition. I have found that a simple, kind conversation goes a long way here.  "Hi Tracy, this is Kim. You dropped off this dress and it looks like there is a stain on it. Would you be willing to take it to the dry cleaners and then bring it back?"  
It's really that easy.
Both times they have been happy to do so. 

Borrowing is an excellent way to help others out and to help yourself out. To me, it's totally worth it to be able to save money and space and not have to stumble over, worry about and store so much STUFF!

That's why I say....
Learn to borrow instead of own!

Next post:  Rule #5  Be careful when you shop.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Thanks for the reminder Brian! I went in and added something about that! You are awesome! Thanks for reading and commenting!

    2. PS I am new at this blogging thing and your comment came through twice for some reason so I was trying to delete one of them, just for simplification purposes, and somehow deleted both of them. If I can figure out a way to undo it. Sorry about that. But thank you.

  2. Love this post! I think another added benifit of borrowing is it creates relationships with people. You get to know people and share experiences together.

    1. I agree Jaclyn! Thanks for reminding me about that. I went in and added something about that so the blog would be complete. Thanks again!

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.