Saving Money

Tools: Don’t Rent, Don’t Buy, Borrow!


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I planned on staining my deck early in the spring so I could enjoy a great looking deck during the summer. The weather didn’t cooperate in May, as it seemed to rain every other day. June had countless activities, and I don’t even know what happened to July. So here we are at the beginning of August and the deck still isn’t done.  Good news, though, I did manage to begin the process over the weekend.

The first step was to power wash the deck.  It had multiple coats of old stain that needed to be stripped off.  I had planned on borrowing an in-law’s washer, however they live out of town and I was unable to get it on short notice.  That left me with two options;  buy my own, or rent one. I had no idea how much either of those options would cost, so I did some investigating.

  • Purchase : $250 – $350 would get me a unit that would serve my needs
  • Rent : $69 per day

I instantly ruled out buying my own, as stripping my deck is literally the only reason I’ve ever encountered a need to have one. I would probably need the power washer for two days to strip my deck, at a cost of $138. If I was going to pay that much for two days rental, I might as well just buy one. I mentioned this in passing to a friend, who proceeded to tell me that he had a pressure washer that I could borrow.


When I picked up the pressure washer, I made sure to thank him for allowing me to use it. He told me he was happy to borrow it to me, because it’s one of those things that just sits in the garage most of the time. It was nice to see someone get some use out of it.

Life is full of things like this that cost a significant amount of money to purchase or rent, that would be useful to have once in a great while. Besides a pressure washer, some items that come to mind are a chainsaw, a hedge trimmer, and a power saw. It’s nice to know people that have these things and are willing to borrow them to you when you need them. It would also be nice to be able to be complementary and have something that you could borrow in return occasionally.

We live in a close knit neighborhood that socializes with each other frequently. We freely help each other and borrow items as needed. I kind of feel bad that I don’t have much to throw into the neighborhood pool of power tools, but I am willing to help with any manual labor, computer repair needs, or use my BBQ skills to create great food for neighborhood gatherings.

Speaking of BBQ, once the deck is done I’m going to invite my friend and his wife over for some smoked baby back ribs as a thank you for borrowing me his power washer. I’m hoping we can call it even.

Have you recently saved money by borrowing a tool from a friend or neighbor? How much did it save you?

Brought to you courtesy of Brock

About the author

Brock Kernin


  • We bought a *pro* grade pressure washer return at Lowes for $150 after negotiating. I qualify the pro rating as after sitting for the winter it won’t start. Spark is good, gas is good, and air seems to flow. Getting a call into Briggs this afternoon over it.

    Point being we got lucky and picked one up cheap. I would hope our neighbors would not think twice about asking to use ours. We wash the brick and what little siding we have each summer just because, but most of the time it sits in the garage collecting dust.

  • We share a few tools with my former roommate, who moved just around the corner. They’ve borrowed our drill several times recently, and we borrow things from them from time to time. It works out well – saves us both money and storage space for things we use infrequently.

  • Good advice. One thing to remember is to make sure you don’t take advantage of the situation. If you go every two years, like clockwork, to the same friend to borrow the same piece of equipment, at a certain point it’ll probably be borrowed out a little less enthusiastically.

  • We don’t do that kind of stuff ourselves — thanks, health problems! — but if we did, we’d definitely check with our other homeowner friends.

    Really, you should put out the word anytime you need something of note. My aunt makes pesto every year, but rather than buy a food processor for an annual tradition, she borrows it from a friend. That friend is happy to help, and I’m sure she gets extra pesto.

  • @Dan – That’s a good point….there may be uses for the pressure washer that I just do not think about because I do without it. Washing the car, cleaning the exterior of the home, etc. But if I can do without it, maybe it’s not worth it. Glad to hear that you’d be willing to let your neighbors use it – hope you get it up and running!

  • @Ali – storage space is a big one for a lot of people. The room to store big power appliances like air compressors and power washers adds up fast!

  • @moneybeagle – I think about that every year when I borrowed my neighbor’s air compressor to blow out my sprinkler system. Although in that case, he made it seem like he thought it was kind of funny – every fall, I show up at his door about the same time to borrow the compressor. I think this year I’m finally going to get my own…

  • @Abigail – I think it would be nice to put the word out if you have something you’d be willing to borrow too. For instance, if I bought a power washer I might mention in passing to others that I have it, and they’re welcome to use it if they need to. Thanks for reading!

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