The Lost Art Of Borrowing: Never Buy Much Again

image of borrow and lend written on blackboard


The Lost Art of Borrowing examines how we can stop being a nation of ‘just in case’ consumers. You don’t have to own everything that you need to use in life. Borrowing is what we did before we became a nation of owning everything ourselves.

I’m proud to not be a ‘just in case’ consumer anymore, as we have recently started to borrow things from other people where possible. Dave has been particularly good at reminding me of this when I’ve been tempted to purchase something I think we need.

The Lost Art of Borrowing: Just In Case Purchases

There’s been a real resurgence in the borrowing movement in recent years. Websites such as Fatlama and Rent My Items have sprung up for exactly this purpose. It’s about living for now and not buying for an imagined future (which is where I went wrong); in other words, avoiding ‘just in case’ purchases. Our philosophy now is if we really miss something we can always buy it again, although that’s highly unlikely to happen.

Of course, there’s also the option of renting out your own belongings to make a bit of extra cash. From gazebos and roof boxes to barbeques and bikes, you’ll be surprised what people will pay to you to lend them. The two kite surfs my husband Dave hasn’t used since 2013 spring to mind….

We did fall down on the borrowing front with our holiday roof box. Whilst being a necessary addition now that we have a large hound to fit in the car, for some reason we decided we ‘needed’ one of our own. And, an expensive Thule roof box at that – upwards of £150 and that’s eBay’s cheapest price, which we would have only used once or twice a year. We went as far as starting to save the money towards it but in the end, some friends offered to lend us theirs. This was a lesson learned in the lost art of borrowing.


The Lost Art of Borrowing: Frugal Foodies

On our French holiday to Ile de Re off the coast of La Rochelle this summer, having the dog was a good thing in many ways. We weren’t watching the pennies as we’d saved enough money to enjoy ourselves without worrying. But it did restrict where we could go which meant we spent less money. Other than trips to the pub to watch the 2018 World Cup, we only ate out one evening for our wedding anniversary. The nearest town was only a 20 to 25-minute walk, so no taxi fares were involved. We had a few lovely lunches out instead which worked out a lot cheaper.


The Lost Art of Borrowing: Campervan Couple

In the evenings, we really did just prefer to either eat something delicious we had found at one of the many markets or cook either a tried and tested dish or a recipe from our well-worn copy of Guyrope Gourmet. The author of this book suggests refilling camping gas bottle empties from your local household recycling center. We did have electric hook-up which always requires more stuff but we still managed to borrow a fair amount. Mum and Dad have a plethora of equipment they willingly lend us and have donated tables, chairs, etc. when they’ve upgraded their kit. This has saved us a fair bit of money over the years.


We managed to borrow not purchase the majority of equipment. Those items we did buy will be used regularly instead of every few years on a two-week camping trip. Some camping equipment will also be given away or sold when it becomes obsolete. The money will then be put towards what we will need to live comfortably in the van. Of course, we will be sourcing as much as possible second-hand.

This camping trip further highlighted the benefits of owning a campervan in a few years’ time. There will not be the gargantuan task of packing up our belongings and cramming them back into the car. As well as, of course, the inevitable task of properly cleaning out our canvass abode once we are home again. Everything will have a home in the van. This will foster more spontaneity which is half the point of van life. In the interim, we’ll still continue to heed the lessons learned from the lost art of borrowing.

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