Saving Money With Help From Your Community
Keep in touch with your community year-round to stay apprised of great saving opportunities.
It's often said that real estate is all about location, but, so is almost anything having to do with money. After all, some of the best money saving ideas are those found in, or nearby, your own backyard. This is especially true when you can tap into the right websites or message boards to share ideas or view deals offered by people in your area. Here are a few ways to save money using community resources:
Tap into online classifieds
Unfortunately for the newspaper industry, the classified ads section is no longer the first place to seek a new job or bargains, among other things. The internet has replaced the paper classifieds because it's a free and ubiquitous platform for buying and selling just about anything. The next time you're in the market for a big-ticket item that you wouldn't mind buying secondhand to save a significant amount of money, the internet presents fantastic opportunities.
"Always conduct transactions in-person and in a public area."
Buying and selling items online is all about simplicity, but you need to be safe about how you use it, too. While countless transactions are completed daily thanks to popular internet services, they should almost always be done in person and in public. If you find something you're interested in buying, be sure to get as much information from the seller as possible before arranging a meeting. If you don't know a good public location to meet, check if your local police station offers a designated area where swaps can occur. Many stations will allow this during the day in a parking lot close to law enforcement as a preventative measure.
Certain life moments lead to spending lots of money on small items that really add up - think party favors, flowers, diapers and food. For people getting married or having a baby this is sometimes an unexpected, frustrating reality. After all, the average wedding today costs around $35,000 when all is said and done, according to a recent survey by The Knot. And from birth to age 2, costs related to raising a child come out to around $12,680 on average, according to the USDA.
An excellent way to save on these and similar expenses: Ask your neighbors. Resale shops catering to wedding dress shoppers or new parents are common and a great way to save. Even if you aren't comfortable buying your wedding dress or baby rompers used, there are plenty of other items associated with these life events that can be scooped up cheaply and in abundance. For weddings, think about place settings, dinnerware or other decorations you may need. For babies, most toys are fine to use again after another family's children are grown. And, don't forget other items that kids will grow out of that can be passed down, like car seats and sports equipment.
Finally, don't be afraid to think outside the box to search for deals. The internet makes this easier than ever, thanks to Facebook "Buy Nothing" groups for those who want to get rid of stuff, or a neighborhood discussion board like Nextdoor, which comes with a bonus side of local gossip.
Keep in touch with your community year-round to stay informed of more great saving opportunities, and see how your efforts add up.