We tend to consider it a given that sharing is a good thing. As children, we're taught (and made) to share our toys, our crayons, and our rooms. As we age, our toys and our personal space become larger and more expensive, and we share them less and less, but we still value the idea of sharing. There are lots of ways to share resources as adults, including shared housing, shared transportation, shared gardens, food, and meals, shared jobs and caregivers, and many more (see Nolo's article The Basics of Sharing for all the ways you can share).
But why do it? How can sharing a car with your neighbor or an office with others improve your life -- and the world? What are the reasons that you might want to share in ways that you've never considered before?
The benefits of sharing are many. Sharing can benefit us personally and financially, and it can make the world a much better place. Here are some of the benefits of sharing in the personal, environmental, and financial realms.
Social and Personal Benefits
These are some of the ways that your life and society as a whole will be better because of sharing. For example, sharing can help everyone:
- get to know our neighbors and make neighborhoods safer
- make friends
- find resources and referrals more easily
- find new ways to relate to friends, relatives, coworkers, and neighbors
- lighten our load of responsibilities
- create more free time
- meet the needs of seniors and people with disabilities
- increase resources and opportunities for low-income households
- support small businesses and buy local
- access better nutrition, and
- access higher quality goods.
Sharing is kind to the planet, because it:
- uses space, energy, and resources more efficiently
- reduces consumption
- reduces waste
- reduces energy use
- helps us invest in green products, alternative energy, and durable goods
- shrinks your carbon footprint
- sets a green example for others, and
- helps take cars off the road.
The financial benefits of sharing really add up. Through sharing, you can:
- spread the cost of owning high quality and durable goods
- reduce the cost of caring for a child or other family member
- reduce the cost of food, fuel, and supplies
- accomplish home repairs without paying for labor
- spread the risk of loss, damage, and depreciation
- share homeownership and build equity
- save money through collective buying, and
- get access to luxury items you couldn't afford alone.
To learn more about what you can share, ways you can share, and how you can find fellow sharers, see The Sharing Solution: How to Save Money, Simplify Your Life & Build Community, by Janelle Orsi and Emily Doskow (Nolo).