EasyFinance.com Community

Saving Money with the New “Sharing Economy”

Posted February 21, 2013 by Jamie C to Frugality 1 0
This post was written by a EasyFinance.com Community member. The views expressed below may not reflect the views of EasyFinance.com.

In the 90s and early new millennium, e-commerce sites were the major focus of the start-up community. There was Amazon of course, which took centre-stage in the movement but also niche-focused start-ups like Diapers.com and Zappos.com. While these sites offered a competitive advantage to the consumer in that products were typically cheaper online than on the high street, there was always an exchange of money between the consumer and retailer.

Although it would be wrong to propose that e-commerce in the traditional sense has been done and dusted, in a large number of cases the opportunities have been filled by major retailers: Asos and Overstock taking the clothing sector for example, 1800contacts for eyewear and iTunes for music and apps. This combined with the fact that since those early 90s most major bricks-and-mortar brands have taken their stores online, means entrepreneurs have had to innovate in other ways in order to compete. This has lead to a number of start-ups operating in a new economy know as “the sharing economy”.

The sharing economy, collaborative consumption, P2P – they’re all different words and phrases which essentially mean the same thing. Rather than connecting consumers with retailers or companies, the websites connect consumers with other consumers in order to “share with” and “trade with” each other. For us the consumers, this can offer some considerable savings when compared with what’s traditionally been on offer.

Here’s a few to watch out for...

Free Pet Sitters
Going on holidays and not sure what to do with Rover and Mittens? Get a free pet sitter! Trusted Housesitters connects home and pet owners with their network of trustworthy sitters, the majority of whom pet sit for free.

Share Tools & Just About Everything Else
Need a power tool but don’t want to spend the money on something you’re only going to use once? Borrow it from a neighbour using Share Some Sugar. You can borrow just about anything on Share Some Sugar, from a good processor to lawnmowers to sports equipment.

Ride Shares
Going somewhere? Chances are someone else is as well. Rideshare websites like erideshare.com and European startup, blahblahcar.com make it easy to rideshare with other people. Some people charge, others don’t: either way it’s usually a cheaper option than taking a train or flying.

Share Office Space
If you’re thinking about starting a business, one of the biggest costs you’ll face is the cost of renting office space, often costs of up to $1,000 a month. Sites like Share My Office in the UK and Shared Space in New Zealand hope to solve this problem, letting those who have office space rent out a desk, office or whatever else they’re able to offer to those that need it.

There’s a startup for just about everything - from P2P boat rental (boatbound.com) to independent restaurants and home kitchens (eatfeastly.com) – and as a consumer this offers some really fantastic ways to creatively save money. 

About Jamie C: Jamie writes about consumer finance. His current focus is on consumer-focused P2P and collaborative consumption start-ups that promise to change the world for the better. 

Leave a Reply:

Only registered users can post comments.

Find More Products & Services