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Frugal Advice - Networking

August 5th, 2011 at 02:01 pm

The best financial wisdom I have picked up for over the years is that there is usually a way to have something virtually identical for much cheaper.

Just seems to be a constant recurring theme in the discourse of personal finance. A recurring theme in everyday conversation with people around me.


Okay, so we all know that networking is essential in the workforce. Right?

But, jobs and careers are just a piece of our existence. The same holds true for every aspect of our lives. Networking = opportunities.

I wouldn't even know where to begin, in sharing in the many different forms that social interaction has saved us money over the years.

I was thinking about it because I was just talking with my son's friend's mother for a little bit yesterday. I have met her in passing, but never had the opportunity to sit and talk with her. Just happened to run into them at the park by our house (they don't live in the same neighborhood, but were there for soccer practice). In talking to her, she told me her older son was taking piano lessons for $10/hour. Holy cow - $10 an hour! Apparently, a local charter school has public music lessons. Something I had NO CLUE about.

I couldn't tell you how many frugal tips like this, that I have heard through the grapevine.

OF course, online forums and blogs are also a HUGE resource. Just by simply following one of my favorite financial blogs: www.mymoneyblog.com - I have gotten some amazing credit card bonuses this year (almost $2000!). & heck, I don't buy anything without googling coupon codes (which someone out there is gathering and sharing).

That said, I also think regional and local networking is also very valuable.

Our choice to do public school was largely influenced by a financially struggling friend (who is absolute financial genius, by the way). She was a teen mom - neither of them have degrees - they have 3 kids - and they do amazingly well considering how little they have to work with. She opened my eyes to the multitude of public school options in our city. This is probably just one thing I learned from her - but one thing that will probably have the hugest financial impact on our lives.

In addition, the parents in our neighborhood started a public charter school a few years back, which is now just top notch. We heard about it on the ground level and were able to volunteer to help set up the school and secure our children spots in the school. At the time, we didn't know how it would pan out, but what did we have to lose? We got into this network just by talking to other parents at the park. (I now talk to people all the time who were simply out of the loop and out of luck. They're stuck going through the lottery process - with horrible odds of getting in).

Other ways that networking helps? I have friends all over the world - always good for free room and board. I've had absolutely amazing travel opportunities.

I've commented how when we lived in the Bay Area that we always had friends at many major companies and so were able to get deeply discounted gadgets and software. An old classmate/co-worker of mine ended up working at Adobe, and so we were able to buy professional video software worth thousands. The cost? $20. Somwthing like that.

The irony is that I am not a very social person, and neither is my spouse. But we are friendly, and we do have a lot of very social friends. (& we have several extremely social extroverts in the family). We also do get out and walk a lot, so do randomly run into people and talk to people we probably NEVER would otherwise.

It's really something so simple as going outside your front door once in a while, that can bring you so much opportunity!

4 Responses to “Frugal Advice - Networking”

  1. ceejay74 Says:

    Don't forget how you helped my family get $2000 in credit card rewards! Big Grin
    But yeah, I agree completely. Facebook is great for that--I helped 2 Chicago friends save money with just a couple messages. One was trying to sublet his apartment (with bed) because he was moving and couldn't get out of the lease and couldn't bring the bed with him. Another friend was moving within Chicago and needed a reasonable price and a bed. My other friend was just happy to not shoulder the whole burden of his lease, so he made him a nice offer and they're both happy! Didn't even know each other existed until I passed the info back and forth.

  2. MonkeyMama Says:

    Reminds me of the endless tips and ideas I get on this blog, too. That would have been a good place to start!

  3. littlegopher Says:

    So agree with this!

    My husband and I are not so social either, but as you say, it doesn't take much to network - a walk around the neighborhood, a little visiting with other parents at the kids' activities.

    I'm also lucky to work in the same locale as I live, and network heavily among my coworkers - custodians are the best people to know at the school I work at Smile

    I guess for us, we both work with coworkers who have similar means, and our neighborhood and town is quite the same too. Many in this day and age are looking for great deals or are interested in splitting the use or delivery of something. A little goodwill, a bit more money in your pocket ...win-win all around!

  4. baselle Says:

    The big rule is to ask, and to listen carefully for the opportunity as it comes up in conversation, and be able to remember the opportunity as needed.

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