When the economy was going great guns a few years ago, no one would have had any time for this kind of thing; if there was maybe one month left in the season and you needed a Weed-whacker, you think nothing of putting down $100 for one and then letting it rot in the attic. If you needed to call your work friends to a barbecue and if you knew you were not going to have another one for a year more, you still went out and bought an expensive grill and let it stand idle on your patio. It didn't pinch when the money flowed freely. We live in changed times now however. People make much less than they used to, and keeping up with the principles of frugal living is completely praiseworthy now.
The new concept in frugal living today is community ownership - or sharing for a fee, in everyday language. You usually never get to borrow beyond your immediate circle; if you want to borrow a power tool for instance, you would go to a neighbor, you would call your sister or your friend; but what do you know of resources available elsewhere? Certainly, you could go down to a rental shop, but there aren't as many of those, and they were expensive. The new concept therefore is something that resembles peer-to-peer sharing on the Internet. The idea was thought up by a particularly creative individual in California; he's founded a whole new Internet startup based on his idea of sharing for frugal living. And the business is a smash.
The company is called Rentalic; it's a clearinghouse for people who have things lying around that they never use, and people who want those things for a short time, and don't find it worthwhile to go and by the whole thing (kind of like wondering why you should buy a cow for a glass of milk). Open Rentalic.com, and it's fascinating for he kind of stuff you have access to. It changes the way you see the world when you know that everything you ever dreamed of, you could get your hands on for maybe $10. It empowers you in a way you would never imagine. Do you need golf clubs for a friend from another city who was dropped by? They go for $15 a week. Do you never need a computer printer, but you need one now for a bunch of flyers you need tro print out? How about putting down five dollars? Frugal living isn't just about saving money either; it could also be about saving Earth. If everyone who wanted a printer for use for just a week went out and bought one, that would one day contribute to so much more landfill.
The wealth of stuff available to rent on Rentalic is bewildering. You have textbooks, novels, snow tires, air conditioners, camera lenses, DVD's, you name it. They even rent out luxury stuff sometimes, like designer clothing.You just go to the website, put down what you're looking for, and where you are, and often, you get something within a 5 mile radius. The idea is so successful that there are other companies too trying out the same thing. Neighborhood Fruit for instance, tries to get everyone in the neighborhood together to share the fruit that grows on trees in everyone's backyards. Try the new blogs Shareable and The Sharing solution for more news on the sharing industry. But enough people have to get on the bandwagon to really make this work. If you want to rent a fan for a dollar a day, it had better be really close to where you live. And for that to happen, there have to be millions of people who come on board. It's a great idea of its times; if enough people buy into it, what could be in for a grand time.