/ Money, Motoring, Travel & Leisure

Global Sharing Day: have you joined the sharing economy?

Two children fighting over a bottle of juice

I’d like to share something with you. Today is the first ever Global Sharing Day and we are being told that everyone is at it in an effort to save money and the planet. Are you a ‘sharer’?

Our Quarterly Consumer Report recently indicated that people are cutting back on spending in all areas and struggling to save. So could the answer be looking to share wherever possible in order to cut your outgoings?

Sharing has become much more popular during the recession. People now share cars, jobs, childcare arrangements, designer clothes and even swap their homes for a holiday.

Sharing to save

Advocates of sharing say that it’s a way of saving money, making money, finding new friends and having fun while doing it. There is also the belief that we can save global resources if we all share a little bit more.

It’s not only about the monetary benefit that you can get from sharing. Figures show that eight out of 10 Britons say that sharing makes them happier. People seem less bothered about the status of actually owning certain goods these days.

What’s mine is… mine

I understand the benefits of sharing, and can see that both parties get something from the exchange, but I’m still not 100% convinced that I want to share in some situations.

The idea of sharing a car with someone else, for example, doesn’t really do it for me. If I can afford it, I would much rather buy a car that would be mine to do with as I wish. If my funds are low, I’d rather go without a car altogether than share one with other people.

Similarly, I’m not keen on the idea of swapping my home for someone else’s as part of a summer holiday. For one thing I’d find it difficult to really relax in a home that didn’t belong to me, surrounded by other people’s belongings.

I can see the argument that sharing will help conserve the planet’s resources, but there are other ways that I can ensure that I’m limiting my impact in this respect.

Do you share to save money and resources? Or do you prefer your hard-earned cash to be reserved solely for you and your family, and not for all and sundry?


I’ve just written a Which? Conversation page about my enthusiasm for the travel website Airbnb https://conversation.which.co.uk/transport-travel/airbnb-book-accommodation-rent-holiday-room/ , which is a great way to take part in the sharing economy through peer-to-peer travel. And I have a personal loan with Zopa, a ‘marketplace for money’ where your loan is made up of investments by members of the public – so, in other words, peer-to-peer lending. I’ve had no problems with it (so far), and it’s a nice feeling knowing that there are no big banks involved. I also grew up in a bit of an ‘alternative’ family, and my parents always shared cars with friends (and still do). I was a bit embarrassed about it as a kid, but looking back I can see that, though it required quite a bit of organisation, it worked well and must have saved everyone quite a bit of money.

” I can see the argument that sharing will help conserve the planet’s resources, but there are other ways that I can ensure that I’m limiting my impact in this respect.”

Please tell how. On the face of it sharing and using other methods would be even more effective.

I actually get quite peeved about waste be it fruit and veg, or others conspicuous consumption. A recent example was Which? on its report on toasters did not mention for the more expensive Dualit toasters you can buy spare parts particularly the elements which are the things that always wears out.

As far as I know Dualit are the only company that does make repairable toasters. Pity Which? did not see fit to mention that aspect. Particularly galling when it did publish an item saying how worn out elements were the primary cause of toasters being junked.

Perhaps Which? should run a sort of Wikipedia info base on sharing and repairing for members. I have a lot of tools that do not get anywhere enough use.

I am very much in favour of repairable items but not everyone can afford a Dualit toaster and you can buy a toaster for less than the cost of a Dualit element. Furthermore, some cheaper toasters toast more evenly than a Dualit. We used to have affordable toasters that could be repaired easily by the householder, and that is what is needed.

I do my best to do my own repairs and often help others too. It is not economically viable to get much repaired these days but if you do your own repairs then it makes a lot more sense.

What people buy is entirely up to them. However to review any goods without some mention of repairability seems wrong. I take the view that buying 5 toasters over 15 years and throwing them away is a bigger waste of resource [and my time] then buying one and repairing it myself once.

Sharing information on good repairable items, repair shops, and actually for Which? to be proactive in making repairability a desirable feature to consider ………., and where some goods are repairable and some not, to say so.

I suggest that all appliances come with a ten year parts & labour warranty. That would result in a dramatic improvement in quality and possibly repairability. Making worthwhile improvements in build quality does not mean that products have to cost twice as much.

Sadly, local repair shops have largely disappeared, which is why I am so keen that we make an effort to try and fix things for ourselves.

I think we might be getting off-topic, even if the aims of saving money and resources do relate to the aims of Global Sharing Day.

Sharing only works for certain things, only to a point. People are still human, and misunderstandings, hurt feelings, etc, will always happen. When this occurred with the in laws while we were sharing a clothes washer and dryer, we had to worry about how we’d get our clothes clean. We no longer share for that, which is good, because recently they decided to buy a new tumble dryer instead of repairing the broken bit, something my husband and I see no sense in: were we still involved in that decision-making process, we’d have had another argument on our hands, and yet again been facing the quandry of how we’d get our clothes clean.

We still share a car, but we can get around without access to it, so that’s okay. It’s tiresome, and I’m working to end that as well – being able to simply jump in the car and go without prior arrangement is what I’m used to, and what I’d rather. But, because we’re not 100% reliant on the shared thing for some crucial aspect in our lives, it does work, even when drama happens.

We also share smaller things – often tools, for example. We don’t, however, share any tools we wouldn’t want ruined. Our decision about this was confirmed when the in-law showed us his drill bit set that was (newly) thoroughly rusted, and commented, “Can you believe it went like this after only four hours out in the rain?” Nah, ya think?

As for whether you share with family or other people, I don’t suspect it matters. It really boils down to sharing stuff you can live without, knowing full well that you may not get it back, or it may not go as planned. Even when all the people involved all have the best of intentions, accidents happen: you’re relying on having the car tomorrow to go do your shopping, but tonight the other person gets into a wreck with it. You lend someone your rake, and they accidentally break it.

So, if it’d upset you for something to happen to the thing or your access to it, sharing it isn’t a good idea; if you can easily live without it, then share to your heart’s content.

I car share – I collect two people from the train station and take them to/from work.