My Journey out of Debt

Featured customers currently enrolled in a CareOne Debt Relief Plan, share journey to become debt-free; hear how they juggle family, finances, and more.

Skills Exchange

Rate This
  • Comments 4

It was one of those cold and rainy weekends that forced everyone to stay inside. My wife and I decided that it was time to catch up on some overdue house cleaning.  We exploded into a whirlwind of dusting, sweeping, mopping, and scrubbing. 

With a turn of a doorknob and a push of a plug into a wall socket the vacuum cleaner roared to life to do its part- except something wasn't quite right.  About the time I noticed that it didn't seem to be sucking up anything, my wife came down the stairs and declared that something smelled like it was burning. 

Some investigation revealed that although the rotating brush on the vacuum cleaner turned just fine when it was on its side, as soon as it met with any resistance, it just stopped. I tried cleaning it, removing all the dust and tightly wrapped hair from the brush, but it made no difference.  Our vacuum had reached the end of the line. 

Skills ExchangeTo finish the cleaning for the day, we called some of our closest friends who live just a few houses away and borrowed their vacuum. They had just purchased a brand new vacuum, and it worked wonderfully.  My wife and I wondered to each other how much a vacuum like that would cost.  A quick check on the internet revealed that particular vacuum cost much more than we had thought. 

We could purchase a much less expensive vacuum, but with cats and two young children, having a good vacuum is a necessity.  What would we do?  This couldn't have happened at a worse time given the majority of our funds were currently being used to purchase Christmas gifts.

In talking with our friends, who know our situation, they offered for us to use their vacuum at any time so that we would not have to incur the expense of a new vacuum during the holiday season.  We could take our time and save up for the vacuum that we really wanted. 

This sort of thing is very common in our neighborhood.  We all have different skills, abilities, and tools.  We are all also very willing to help each other out. 

I'm a software engineer, and thus work a lot with computers.  When others in my neighborhood have technical difficulties with their computer, they call me, and I'm usually able to help out.  

One of our neighborhood friends used to work as a construction foreman and has every power tool imaginable.  He comes in very handy and is glad to help whenever someone has a clogged garbage disposal, a door that isn't shutting quite right, or a faucet that needs to be replaced. 

Another neighbor has a riding lawn mower that can be borrowed on demand if anyone needs to get their lawn mowed in a hurry. 

The same friends we borrowed the vacuum cleaner from have an ATV that is used for hunting.  They have a plow that attaches to the front.  When heavy snowstorms hit, my friend enjoys going around the neighborhood plowing everyone's driveway.

When my wife and I wanted to paint the main level of our home, my construction foreman friend lent me rollers, extension polls, and expensive angled brushes for cutting in ceilings and corners.  He also came with me to the hardware store to help me pick out quality paint, and then he, his wife, my wife, and I spent an entire day painting.  Not only did they help us do the work, but they taught us tips and techniques, as well.

On the one hand, this sounds like people just being good neighbors.   However, all of the previously mentioned things would cost a significant amount of money if a professional were hired to perform those services.  The end result of a neighborhood skills exchange is friends helping friends save money as well.

Related links:

 Need New Clothes, Consider a Clothing Exchange

Skills = Cash

Surrounding Yourself With Support

My Journey Out of DebtTravis Pizel

Travis is a contributing writer for the My Journey Out of Debt blog and is a very active member of the community forums. Travis is currently enrolled in a CareOne Debt Management Plan and in his posts he shares his personal journey to pay off his debt and the tips he's learned along the way. As a father and husband he provides a unique perspective on balancing debt, finances, and family. Compensated CareOne Blogger.

To follow us click here

Your comment has been posted.   Close
Thank you, your comment requires moderation so it may take a while to appear.   Close
Leave a Comment
  • * Please enter your name
  • * Please enter a comment
  • Share
  • I did that years ago, until one of my neighbors accused me of having an affair with her husband--no, I wasn't having an affair with him..and the only reason I called him was because my husband was out of town, and the neighbor I would have typically called wasn't home. I found out later, if any of the female neighbors asked if her husband could assist with something she was accusing them of having an affair. But I do have new neighbors, and some of us do work together like this..others not so much..

  • Yikes, B!  I hope that you won't let one person who obviously had jealousy issues hold you back from creating friendships with new and additional neighbors.  They are a great resource to lean on when you need them.  thanks for your comment!

  • In a previous post, I described how my wife lost her iPod touch while on vacation in 2010, and how I was scouring the earth for a used replacement in order to save some money. Turns out finding a used iPod touch in good condition for a killer price is

  • People buy used cars and houses all the time, why would purchasing other items used be any different?

Page 1 of 1 (4 items)
Your comment has been posted.   Close
Thank you, your comment requires moderation so it may take a while to appear.   Close
Leave a Comment
  • * Please enter your name
  • * Please enter a comment
  • Share