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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

dot cuts back {buy local/handmade}

I'm so excited to have Virginia from Geeky & Sassy to share some of her favorite ways to save money today.  She has some great ideas about buying local and knowing your resources, as well as trading for items. 

Hi all!  My name is Virginia from Geeky & Sassy.  I'm so excited to be here with Beth and all of you!  When Beth asked me to write something about finances, right away I thought I'd share these 3 things that a lot of people don't think about....

Local Factories & Resources~
  • What things are made in your area?  Ask around and find out if they have a separate outlet store for locals and employees.  You can find things at a sharp discount!
  • In my area people can get baby food, medicine, sand, office furniture, fabric, and pickles at discounts to name a few.  To give you an example, we wanted some sand for our sandbox.  Living close to Lake Michigan, there are a lot of people who have to literally shovel the sand out of their driveways and give it away for free.  Well, my husband went down to the beach but there were no "free" signs out by the road with a bunch of sand.  On the way back he went to the local sand-mining place and asked if they would sell him some sand.  $5 and a huge trailer half filled with clean sand and he was headed home. 
  • There's also a local place that powder coats for big companies.  You can also contact them to powder coat things for your home for a price.  They'll just throw it on the line when the color you want comes up. 
  • We live near Herman Miller and they have an outlet/shop that exclusively sells their items at an extreme discount. 
  • What is your area known for?  Do you have a pickle factory near by?  Take advantage of those things around you to save a bit of money!
  • Have you thought much about trade?  My husband has refinished the top of an end table for a new refrigerator.  Half of the furniture in our house has come from trade.   
  • What talents or things do you own that you could trade?  I would say that 9 times out of 10 people are up to trade with us when we ask.  It's totally worth it!  Just make sure that you know what you have (and it's something you think they may want) and what is the value of both of the items for an even trade....(or if you really want them to say yes, make their value a little more.)  
  • Who or how do you ask?  I would approach your locally owned shops - if you go to a big box store, they can't do anything.  Ask to talk to the owner & see what you can come up with.  (ie: do you have a second hand furniture store that has a $90 lamp you want?  Maybe they'll take that coffee table and a $20 bill!)  
  • Think about your friends....what do they do?  My hairstylist has become my friend.  She commented on how much she liked Eliana's jacket in our fall photos.  A few Facebook comments back and forth and we're trading for hair cuts! 
  • Now, I honestly have not traded on Craigslist, but I know there is a section on there.  Think of second hand stores, antique shops, craft shops, blogs, gyms, local shops (meat), farms, friends with kids' clothes, etc.  

Buy Local~
  • Check out your locally owned shops.  The customer service, deals and more are often better than online & you know that you're helping the people right there.  Quite often they'll price match, or tell you about a coupon if you ask.  
  • Your local shop owners have families and usually are all about shopping local themselves, so the money you spend there is usually spent at another local shop.  So, next time you want to click "buy & ship" think of your local shop and how you can support them.  (About 45 percent of money spent at a local business stays in the community compared to only 14 percent of dollars spent at a big-box store.)  
  • Oh, and another tip - if you're looking to organize your own shop or basement, ask if they have any displays or rolling racks they may want to sell.  Sometimes there's a bunch in the back room just waiting to get pushed out the back door. 
A few extra random tips~
  • People who grocery shop with the kiddos - check your store's policies ~ my local Meijer gives out cookies for free to the kids if you ask at the bakery.  
  • They also give out cheese and meat samples at the deli.  
  • & Last but not least, when you're at the deli find out if they discount their items when they close.  Our store discounts everything by 50% fifteen minutes before they close the deli.  

So, what are your tips?  Have you traded for anything before?
I'd love for you to stop by little bloggy corner of the world, or connect via facebook & twitter!
Thanks for having me Beth!  (Isn't she so sweet!?)

((photo credits: Virginia))


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