Save Money through Your Network

By Mike


network

I decided to share a few of my tricks to save money. Since my wife stays at home with our two kids, we must be careful with our spending and make sure we make savvy purchases.

We have lived together for the past 10 years. When we first started, we got all our furniture from friends and family. Absolutely nothing was new. While it was great 10 years ago, second hand furniture still has a maximum life expectancy! Recently, we had to buy a new bed for us (my mattress and my bed was 30 year old!) and another one for Amy (she just turned 2 so it was time for her to move up, into a real bed).

I always found there is a very thin line between wasting money away on goods and treating one’s self to something you really like. I must admit, I am not the model of frugality. I try to not waste money on emotional purchases and I also like really nice stuff. This is the internal fight between the angel of saving and the devil of spending”¦ I have a strange feeling this will last forever!

Since we plan to keep our bed for another 20 years and Amy will probably keep hers for a good 10 years, we decided to look for brand new furniture.

How can you save money on brand new goods? Use your Network!

In this specific case, it was quite easy for me to buy cheap furniture as my sister-in-law works in a big furniture store. She gave me the “family discount” which was cost + 10%. Since she is working for a family owned company (not hers), they encourage their employees to refer their families with this huge discount.

One of my colleagues at work benefited from the very same trick (using her network). She was building a new house and needed new furniture. I had suggested that she take a look at this store and they gave her an additional discount since she was referred by someone “from the family”. Since I believe in helping others, I always try to introduce people I know to my network.

I always ask people what they do for a living. I ask pretty much everybody I encounter. More often than not, I even ask them what others in their family do as well. Occupational hazard I guess, comes from my day job (financial planner), it’s still a great way to learn about others and open your network of contacts. Usually people like to talk about themselves and their friends & family. On top of that, they love when their connections can help others. As such, I am never afraid to ask if I can call one of their friends for advice or to buy goods”¦

By using my network:

- I buy meat from a local butcher that is a my father’s friend. The meat is less expensive and tastes a lot better than what is found at the grocery store!

- I bought the ceramic for my new bathroom from a small shop owner who worked with my brother-in-law.

- The guy that did the renovations in my basement was a friend of a friend. Great job, cheap price (he did the electrical work as well!)

- I get suits half price from a co-worker I trained a few months ago.

- I did an amazing landscaping job for the front of my house and it cost me nothing! People we know gave us the plants, trees and flowers we used.

- I get a cheap price for a condo in France from one of my client’s mother for my future vacation (I still have to pay for it because of potential conflict of interest).

- I got flowers for my wedding at half the price as the sister of my wife’s colleague studied to be florist back then.

There are so many ways you can save when you are dealing with friends and their connections. They say that an individual has more than 100 friends/family members that he talks with on a regular basis. Therefore, if you talk to your 100 connections and they talk to their 100 connections and their connections do the same thing”¦ you are building a saving network of infinite possibilities!

I was blessed to benefit from my father’s network to start mine. He is actually the master of networking. He talks to absolutely everybody he meets. The funniest part is that he does it naturally and as a result, makes friends. He just has a big mouth and loves to talk ;-) It turns out that people in general are more than willing to help and always find solutions for him when he talks about something he would like to do or buy”¦ So don’t talk to people with a specific interest in the back of your head, just be friendly with as many people as you can and you will be rewarded one way or another.

image source: Luc Legay


10 Responses (including trackbacks) to “Save Money through Your Network”

  1. Miranda Says:

    My brother works at a furniture store as well, and we head over there for the discounts. My cousin married a construction guy, so my parents got their basement remodel on the cheap. Every two years, when I buy a new computer for my business, one of my or my husband’s siblings gets a pretty good computer for free. There really are a number of surprising ways that you can save money through your network.

  2. Dramon Says:

    Good post, just remember that some of these friends need to make a living as well. My husband is a handyman and charges a fair price. Sometimes he is able to give a discount and other times he has to make a living as well ( and pay for insurance, tools, truck expenses, etc). Sometimes we feel guilty about it, but there are months we barely break even as it is.

    There is certainly nothing wrong with asking, worse case is the answer is no.

  3. Kim Says:

    True, true, true. Networking really does make life easier and if you have something to offer in return you can start bartering and it is even better!
    Tip- don’t alienate your network by over using a contact or not meeting your financial responsibility. Plus if you are the person with the goods, know when to say no to those family members that take advantage a little much. :-)

  4. Gina Says:

    Great post Mike!

  5. DDFD at DivorcedDadFrugalDad.com Says:

    Great tips. It pays to ask arounf and let people know what you are looking for . . . many time people say, “Hey, I have one of those in my garage and would love to see it gone . . . “

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