Research by HSBC found that one in four Australians don’t speak to their neighbours, nineteen per cent only know their neighbours by sight and seven per cent of Australians don’t know their neighbours at all. It’s a shame really because knowing your neighbours has so many benefits!
Some may claim technology is to blame for our lack of being neighbourly. When kids used to be playing in the yard, they’re now often glued to a computer screen. When we used to go to the grocery store, we now submit our order online and have someone deliver it to us. When we spoke to someone over the fence, we now do it on Facebook.
Neighbours can be so much more than someone to politely wave to as you scurry back into your house. When you put in the effort to get to know your neighbours, there are heaps of benefits.
Ways your neighbours can actually help you save money
1. As a house and pet sitter.
Think of all those times you’ve had to pay hundreds of dollars for your pet’s boarding when you’ve headed overseas or away for the weekend. Get to know your neighbour and they’ll likely be happy to pop over and feed your chooks (let them take the fresh eggs) or take your dog for a walk. Knowing your neighbour also means they’ll keep an eye on your house while you’re away, water your plants and collect your mail. Without an overflowing letterbox and dying plants, it’ll look like someone’s home and will give you peace of mind that your place is being looked after.
2. Save on bills.
When you get to know your neighbour better, you may get to a point where you discuss how much you pay for things like electricity or home insurance. You might even find that you’re paying substantially more on your water bill than other neighbours. This information provides good evidence for you to seek out a discount or new utility provider.
When you know your neighbour, they’ll keep a look out for your property and for you. If they see or hear anything suspicious like gushing water or smoke, they’ll likely act upon it. It’s these instances where knowing your neighbour can save you having to pay the repairs of more serious damage, perhaps even your own safety.
4. Big buys.
Costco is great but only if you have somewhere to store all the groceries you buy in bulk. This is where knowing your neighbour comes in handy, you can go in together. The same theory goes for services like gardening, lawn mowing and pool maintenance. If you and your neighbours require the same services, you can negotiate a discounted price. It doesn’t stop there; think roof cleaning, solar panels, bin washing and plumbing work too.
5. Tradie research made easy.
It takes a lot of time and often money to find a good tradesperson or even a cleaner or property stylist if you’re looking to sell. But, if you know your neighbour, they’ll tell you who they’ve used and would recommend, cutting out the guesswork for you. Even better, you’ll be able to see the end result and find out how much they paid without having to request a quote.
6. Tool time.
Very few people have every single tool they need but, team up with your neighbours and if they’re handy you’ll be in tool heaven. Of course, make sure you return any equipment you borrow in the same condition you received them in, particularly with the petrol topped up if it’s fuel powered.
7. Free stuff or trade.
Who doesn’t love free stuff? A trade works too. Perhaps you’ve got an old couch your neighbour needs, and they have an old television that’d go perfectly on your deck; it’s the perfect trade. Your neighbours might have older children and offer you their old clothes or toys, you could pay it forward by doing the same with another neighbour. There’s loads of money to be saved when you know your neighbours.
8. A helping hand.
Perhaps you’ve got something heavy to lift and need a hand, knowing your neighbour is a huge help in this instance. It also helps to know your neighbour when you have a load you need to take to the rubbish dump and need to borrow their trailer.
Of course, getting to know your neighbour isn’t just about using their talents or tools, there needs to be a sincere interest in developing a neighbourly friendship and, the benefits should always flow both ways. Think about it this way, you don’t have too far to walk home from a party!