Ask the Readers: What's the Nicest Frugal Thing You've Done for a Neighbor?

By Ashley Jacobs on 31 May 2016 49 comments

Editor's Note: Congratulations to Trish, Ana, and Pam for winning this week's contest!

Some people have terrible neighbors — the kind of neighbors that you wish had moved across the country yesterday. Some people have great neighbors, the ones you don't mind helping even if it's a little out of your way. From afternoon babysitting to sharing garden tools, or using your handyman skills to do minor repairs, neighborly help often translates to real savings for the folks next door.

What's the nicest frugal thing you've done for a neighbor? Have your neighbors helped you save money in any way?

Tell us about the nicest frugal thing you've done for a neighbor and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

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Tina in NJ

After Superstorm Sandy, we were without power for a week. We were cleaning out the freezer by making lots of chicken soup and shared it with our next door neighbors that day, the parents ate pork chops from their freezer and the four kids had chicken soup, which they preferred. I also let the parents know that they actually could light the burners on their gas stove with a match and cook without electricity. (City folk!)

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Mowed their lawn when they had to be out of town unexpectedly.

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Donna Sako

Every year my apple, pear, peach, cherry, and almond trees may bring forth surplus fruit. That surplus is shared with my neighbors.

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I shared plants from my perennial garden so that they could start a garden of their own. Now they share plants with me!

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In our apartment building, we leave things we no longer need for free in the lobby, so other people can benefit from them.

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I took care of my neighbor's bird while they were on vacation.

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Julie Wood

I gave my neighbor diapers and baby wipes and a baby toy for her new baby.

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My neighbors and I don't interact so we've never helped each other save money in any way.

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I gave my neighbor coupons for free products

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I have an elderly neighbor that lives about a 1/4 mile away but still loves the thrill of a vegetable garden. Years ago she went to a big box store and asked for 'big tomato plants' and found out they had sold her 6 cherry tomato plants. So every spring I grow about 5 or 6 extra heirloom tomato plants from seed for her her little garden. Of course she also gets plenty of other extras from my garden too. She used to stop by when she was still independent to watch the ducks and chickens but now has other people driving her about.

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Jenny D

My husband and I have allowed our neighbors to shoot fireworks over our property throughout the years. They have a big celebration with their extended family every 4th of July. We also share our yard for spill-over parking. They're generous in return by s inviting us over for dinner. The big bonus - they put on a great fireworks display. We live out in the country, so we'd have to drive at least a half an hour to see the nearest display.

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My daughter just went and mowed our neighbor's yard for her last week (Without being prompted! What a sweet girl.) and we planted some bushes that someone gave us in her yard! (We really only have 1 neighbor -- at least a close one!)

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Susan Brewin

My family shovels two of our elderly neighbors sidewalks and driveways.

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Our elderly neighbor (who lived with his dog) had his house burn significantly after it was struck by lightening. I figured what wasn't actually burned was smoke infested and probably unusable. So to help him with his immediate needs I went to the Dollar General and stocked him up on bathroom essentials: soap, shampoo, conditioner, razors, shaving cream, deodorant, laundry detergent and dryer sheets, etc and stored it all in a laundry basket. I presented him with the basket the very next day! It was much appreciated as his bathroom had been quite damaged.

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Susan P.

I always share the carambola fruit from my tree with my neighbors and we collect each other's mail and house sit when we go away on vacations.

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Mary W

I make sure my neighbors have my contact information and that I have theirs. We watch out for each other since we have had several burglaries in our neighborhood. I will call and check on elderly neighbors if I don't see or hear from them in a while and they are grateful for the call and knowing that someone is there for them. Peace of mind is priceless!

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I've supported the neighborhood kids by buying girl scout cookies and other fundraising throughout the year.

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JJ Guest

We always share snow removing duties with our next-door neighbors. Our homes share a driveway, and rather than just shovel a narrow path for ourselves, we make sure to shovel paths on both sides. All it costs is a few extra minutes, and the regularly return the favor.

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I have collected their mail when they go on vacation

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I always made extra food and made up dinners that I froze to give to my elderly neighbor. She love my homemade soups and cassorles and I made sure she had plenty.

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Emily S.

We went in on a privacy fence together!

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The nicest frugal thing I have done for a neighbor is watch their children so that they can go out as a couple.

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I have the best neighbors ever and I give them vegetables from my garden every summer.

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Jennifer Miller

It's not much - but I cooked a huge casserole for my upstairs neighbor after she had her baby. I made enough so they could get a few meals out of it. My husband and I also printed a few things off for her young kindergartener so they didn't have to go to the library or anywhere else to print things off for her school project. They're too busy to be doing things like that!

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Taking care of their many pets and plants while they go on a frugal vacation.

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CC in Mpls

I brought sheetrock and supplies and taught my friend's teenage son how to fix the hole in the wall he had made.

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We shovel for our neighbors in the winter

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The nicest thing I have done for a neighbor was help them watch their kids for free once a month!

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Made 2 chicken crockpot meals for the neighbors when they had unexpected surgery.

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mary sampson

I baked a huge turkey about 18 pounds with all the fixins..Mashed spuds, dressing, pickle and cheese and olive plate, biscuits galore, cranberry sauce! This neighbor had twin boys and did not know anyone and did not cook much whatsoever, her husband worked long hours and she was lonely and shy...She had 3 other young children, I brought everything over in trips late at night just before easter one year..she was so thankful and her husband tooooo! Also I made gravy and vegetable sides for her meal, that way she did not have to worry about any food prep for a good long while. Her husband always thanks me a lot and she came over with thank you cards made by her 3 older children who were all 2 years apart in age..They are now 24 soon, 22 in may, middle girl will be 19 soon, the twins just turned 18..They are mannerly and always say Hi to me and my hubs...I think one should think of others who have large families who are shy and don't know how to cook..a feast is more than a dinner it feeds the soul and the beauty of their existence in this world!

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I've looked after their dogs for them which I never mind because I love dogs.

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Julie Lundstrom

When I am out grocery shopping and they have buy 2 or more for one low price I always buy the 2nd one extra for a neighbor who is elderly and has a tough time. That way I get the item for lower and I help someone too.

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Amber Masters

Cleaned her house! Cost me nothing but time. She is in a wheel chair so its difficult for her to get around. Made us both happy! :)

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Donna D

Give veggies from the garden.

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Either made her a quiche when she had a baby or brought her garbage cans in when I knew she was out of town. She's awesome.

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In my neighborhood if we no longer need something we put it out by the curb and anyone is welcome to help themselves. Pretty much anything from furniture, household items, clothes, tools, pet items. It has been a great help to me and to my neighbors. There is always something someone else can use.

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Ernest S.

I watched my neighbor's cat for two weeks, and also maintained her plants. She was a great friend and neighbor!

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This was over ten years ago, but I think it was pretty nice. It was completely free.

I used to live in Ft Lauderdale, and a big hurricane was coming in the next few days. In South Florida a lot of new houses come with hurricane shutters: big, heavy sheets of corrugated metal that you hang on bolts that must be unscrewed from above and under the windows and then screwed back in. It takes a long time to do, it's labor intensive, and cuts from the metal sheets are common.

The kind elderly man (he was pushing 70) who lived behind us, and was our BEST neighbor by far, didn't have his up yet (he lived here in the States while his adult children still lived in Jamaica). I asked my dad if we could help him out, knocked his door to offer our help, and we worked into the evening getting all his shutters up.

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I've baked for neighbors and offered them items, like tables, that I was going to donate. We've also shared items that we have no need for all the time. My neighbors in the past have helped me with finding free street parking, which helped me avoid paying for parking and also getting a hefty ticket.

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Rebecca Ross

We always bake something to give our neighbors at Christmas.

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I feed their cat when they go out of town.

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Let them borrow some tools so they could fix a car.

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Ashley P.

One time I noticed that they didn't take their trash bins out in time so I took it out for them.

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Miss Kim

I have watched their kids a few times. They are friends with my kids so it really isn't much work at all.

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I helped my neighbor cut down a tree.

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Took a neighbor's trash out while she was recovering from surgery. I also empty the junk mail waste basket next to the mail boxes in the hall. The cleaning crew is supposed to empty it but they don't come on a regular basis any more.

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Michelle D.

I've watched after their cats which I actually like since I love cats :)

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I have babysat their kids for them so they could have a night out.

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Happy Love

We took food over to our neighbors after a death in the family.

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Sometimes I cook double the recipe and I will drop some food off at my neighbors.

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Tabathia B

After hurricane floyd we went a few days with no power and the neighbor offered to keep food items for us since I had young children

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Thomas Murphy

I let my neighbor use my lawnmower.

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I have shared food, babysat, pet sat and picked up mail for my neighbors before.