What Can You Share to Save Money?

How to save money using Sharing Economy business models & services.

Ranan Lachman Sharing Economy

Excessive mass consumption among families and individuals started in the 1920s and exploded in the mid-1950s. The automobile industry provided an enormous stimulus for the national economy. By 1929, it produced 12.7 percent of all manufacturing output, and employed one out of every 12 workers. Automobiles, in turn, stimulated the growth of steel, glass, and rubber industries, along with the gasoline stations, motor lodges, campgrounds, and hot dog stands that dotted the nation’s roadways.

Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers, authors of the Sharing Economy book, ‘What’s Mine is Yours’, refer to this endless mass acquisition of more stuff in even greater amounts as “hyper-consumption”, a force so strong that there are now more shopping malls than high schools in America. However, today, the Sharing Economy is revolutionizing how we acquire and use goods and services by opening up new opportunities for both consumers and workers, allowing people to work on their own terms.

According to a recent poll from TIME, Burson-Marsteller and the Aspen Institute Future of Work Initiative,  44% of U.S. adults say they have participated in the Sharing Economy, playing the roles of lenders and borrowers, drivers and riders, & hosts and guests.

What’s more, highly skilled jobs, like consulting and teaching, are now shifting to more sharing-economy-like models too.  For example, TeachersPayTeachers, founded in 2006 by a New York City public school teacher, allows teachers to earn money by selling their lesson plans as well as supplemental materials, to other teachers.  A recent PBS article said, “The overall concept of TeachersPayTeachers isn’t entirely new; teachers have always created extra materials or entire units for their classes and shared lessons with other teachers, but the advent of the Sharing Economy has changed things somewhat. The difference now is that teachers are earning money from their after-hours and weekend work and receiving a larger pool of feedback.”

Furthermore, PwC estimates that revenues from sharing in the travel, car, finance, staffing and music and video streaming sectors could rise from $15 billion to $335 billion by 2025.

With the unemployment rate still high, the Sharing Economy is enabling people to make money while they wait for job opportunities to open up. By reshaping traditional business and consumer models, these sharing services help create a healthier, more sustainable system with a more fulfilling goal than “more stuff.”

Here’s a short list of more sharing services that are saving people substantial money:

Hospitality and Dining:

  • CouchSurfing: connect with a global community of travelers to find a place to stay or share your home and hometown with travelers. Couchsurfers organize regular events in 200,000 cities around the world. There’s always something to do and new friends to meet.
  • Feastly: Passionate chefs (common people) who can give you access to hidden food gems you won’t find anywhere else. Feastly provides home kitchens to pop-up spaces, chefs cook in the most unique dining locations.
  • LeftoverSwap: a smartphone app to help you barter or give away your leftovers. The company’s website says, “Help save the world while enjoying food by fixing these pressing issues: -40% of the food goes to waste.”

Automotive and Transportation:

  • Uber: Like Airbnb, Uber is probably one of the most widely known sharing services in the industry. Uber connects riders to drivers through mobile apps, making cities more accessible and opening up more possibilities for riders and more business for drivers.
  • Lyft: Like many other transportation services in the sharing economy, the company’s mobile-phone application facilitates peer-to-peer ridesharing by connecting passengers who need a ride with drivers who have a car.
  • Getaround: Getaround is an online car sharing or peer-to-peer carsharing service that allows drivers to rent cars from private car owners, and owners to rent out their cars for payment.

Retail and Consumer Goods:

  • Neighborgoods: NeighborGoods.net is a social platform for peer-to-peer borrowing and lending. Need a ladder? Borrow it from your neighbor. Have a bike collecting dust in your closet? Lend it out and make a new friend. By sharing with your neighbors, you can save money while reducing waste and strengthen your local community in the process.  
  • Pley - Pley.com is the leading toy subscription service, helping parents save money, reduce clutter and conserve the environment. Members can choose from over 500 toys and never have their children be bored again. Once the kids finish playing, they simply swap out their toy for another one and enjoy endless fun.
  • Poshmark: Poshmark connects you to people whose style you adore, allowing you to shop their closets, anytime you’d like. Have items in your closet that you love, but just don’t wear anymore? List it for sale on Poshmark in less than 60 seconds. Sell what you have in your closet so you can shop for what you really love.

Media and Entertainment:

  • Amazon Family Library: With Family Library, you can share select content between two adults in your Amazon Household.
  • SoundCloud: a leading social sound platform where anyone can create sounds and share them everywhere. Recording and uploading sounds to SoundCloud lets people easily share them privately with their friends or publicly to blogs, sites and social networks.

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