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For instance in our family, baby items - from the big (cribs, changetables) to the small (clothing, bottles, toys) - are constantly passed around from brother to sister to cousin and back again. It would be hard to quantify those types of savings, but I'm sure it's substantial.

Another way we save money among family (and friends) is that we each buy a certain type of magazine - say OK! Canada or US Weekly (or say MoneySense, whatev!), and then we swap when we're done, eliminating the need for multiple subscriptions. Movies and books get passed around like this, as well.

What are some ways your own circle of family and friends have saved, or helped each other save, money?

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    A lot of kids at my school got bullied due to hand-me-down clothes. Try sharing with cousins/extended family, bullies are less likely to pick up on that ;) – James Jan 10 '10 at 18:52
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Computers and digital cameras are great candidates for handing down because they can still be useful long after they have started looking dated to the initial buyer.

Buying DVDs is unfortunately more convenient than renting in my hometown, but we make up for this by a liberal borrowing policy.

And, perhaps most unusually, coupons -- the special discounts that mail-order retailers like to send when it's convenient for them to make a sale (or just arbitrarily, really). Those often have complicated terms so that they are only really interesting if exactly two articles are ordered, or the amount of the order exactly 80 EUR. A couple of persons in the family are the specialists of these discounts, and others can just tell them to watch for an interesting item. They'll place the order at the best time.

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I don't know if BJ's or Costco is by you, but sharing a membership can make sense. Not just the annual fee, but splitting certain items that are just too big. The 20 pack of batteries, the 30lb sacks of potatoes, etc. Anything you look at and realize you won't use it before it goes bad or have no place to store it. Size is one objection I hear regarding the warehouse stores and a splitting buddy can help.

To James' point - Yes, kids are cruel. We live in a nice area, and I pride myself on driving the cheapest car on the street. In the last two years, two neighbors (of 8 of us on this cul-de-sac) have downsized. They needed to take the difference and use it for college tuition. I explained to my daughter, when you see a kid in a big house, you don't know two key things: how big their mortgage is, and how much have they saved for college/retirement.

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Labor - I have a fairly decent sized extended family. Between us we cover quite a bit of experience in different trades and professions. So as a result when we undertake significant home projects we tend to work together to complete them. We redid my parent kitchen for basically the cost of the cabinets and tile. My grandmothers bathroom when she could no longer get into the tube for the cost of fixtures and tile. We partitioned my upstairs giant bedroom into 2 bedrooms and a bathroom. And lots of other things.

We also have a family farm as at harvest time we all pitch in and work long hours. Without that teamwork our entire family would have a much poorer quality of life.

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