I have to admit, owning things is nice sometimes. To have an object and be able to call it your own and do with it as you please is very tempting. But often times the objects we own end up owning us as we slave away to keep them safe, maintain them, and find space for them in our lives and homes. So why not try and reduce the number of things we own? Especially those things that we are only going to be using for short period of time.
There are many ways to do this:
- …Borrowing: Borrowing something, especially consumable media is probably one of the best ways to reduce the acquisition of new things. Movies, games, music, books, and more can be borrowed from friends and loved ones for free. Try and reevaluate what media you absolutely have to own. Unless that movie is one of your top 10 or 20 favorites, do you really need a DVD copy of it? The library is also a great place for borrowing all forms of media. Through programs like inter-library loans, you can get access to almost any book, CD, or movie you can think of. Just be sure to take care of things you borrow, or else you may find people less willing to lend to you in the future.
- …Renting: Renting items can be useful especially when you know you will only need it for a short period of time. A good example of something like this would be textbooks for college. Millions of dollars are wasted every year by college students buying textbooks and then getting a fraction of the cost back when they turn it in. Sites like Chegg and even Amazon rent out textbooks (or e-books in Amazons case) and can reduce your out of pocket expenses by over half. Also renting games from places like Family Video can be less expensive if you know you can play your fill in the time given.
- …Co-Owning: Buying something with another person or group of people is an excellent way to share costs and responsibility. The catch here is finding other co-owners who you can trust. The amount of time each owner spends with the item, the responsibility for upkeep and caring for the item, and share of the costs should all be things that are determined beforehand. It is also advisable to get those things in writing. Some good examples of things to co-own are lawn care implements (sharing a lawnmower among two or three neighbors), a computer or printer (with a roommate), a wireless connection (between neighbors).
As you can see there are many ways to enjoy the benefits of certain possessions and entertainments while spending a minimum of time and effort on them. Also by using some of these methods you can reduce the physical items that you own. This will not only benefit you financially but it will also clear your life of the worries and stress associated with such possessions, leaving you open to pursuing your goals, growing as a person, and finding the things that make you truly happy.
Are there any other alternatives to ownership that I may have missed? If so let me know in the comments!