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Borrowing items from your neighbors can be a great way to save money on household items. If you only need to use an item once or twice and you know your neighbor has one, there is no harm in asking to borrow it, as long as you return it in the same and as long as you don't make a habit of it. Practice courtesy and respect when it comes to borrowing items from your neighbors.

There are several times when you are working inside or outside your home and you don't have something you need. This could be something simple like a couple of eggs or a cup of sugar for a cake you are making or it could be something larger like a weed whacker or a electric saw. Rather than wasting your time running to the store for two eggs, you may choose to knock on your neighbor's door and see if you can borrow a couple eggs from her stash. Furthermore, instead of spending thousands of dollars on a tool you only need once, you may ask your neighbor if he minds lending it to you for a couple hours on the weekend.

To Borrow or Not to Borrow

However, before you start knocking on doors and taking an inventory of things you may want to borrow, you need to be on good terms with your neighbors and avoid neighborhood domestic disputes. Take the time to speak to them on the street or in the hallway so that they actually know your name and a little bit about you. This will eliminate any awkwardness if you head next door and they are not sure who you are.

If you are ever in doubt about whether or not it is appropriate to ask your neighbor for an item, consider how you would feel if the roles were reversed. Would you find it appropriate for your neighbor to ask to borrow a cup of milk from you? Would you be willing to lend them a $500 power tool for the day? If the answer is no, then don't ask them either. You don't want to put them on the spot.

If you are borrowing an item from a neighbor, you need to give it back as quickly as possible. While you don't have to run out and bring back your neighbor's two eggs that night, the next time you are on your way to the grocery store, pick up an extra half dozen box of eggs and send it her way just to let her know you appreciate it. Invite her over for a piece of the cake you made with her eggs if you feel inclined.

If you are borrowing a more expensive item, then only borrow it for a short period of time. Using a power tool for the day is fine; keeping the tool in your garage shed for two weeks is not. Furthermore, do not lend out your neighbor's stuff to other people and always return it in the same condition. If you do happen to damage the item in any way, then let your neighbor know up front and offer to pay for a new one or to have the part replaced.

Borrowing items from your neighbors is not something you should do on a daily basis. If you are constantly asking to borrow his lawn mower, then think about buying your own. If you find yourself always using their electric egg beater, ask for this item for Christmas or a birthday. There is a big difference between being an occasional borrower and being a huge moocher. Don't fall into the latter group.

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