The Internet Can Save You Money

There are several ways the Internet saves everybody money – buyers, sellers, and even those not merchandising or shopping. Here’s how…

There are the obvious ways, of course. Amazon, eBay, and other sites provide huge discounts over retail on thousands of items. Even major new books, which continued to rise in price for decades, have now come down from over $30 for a hardcover to under $10 for reading on a Kindle. Other examples could be listed by anyone until their keyboards wore out.

There are less obvious ways the Internet makes for inexpensive shopping.

Just the savings in gasoline alone would add up to a sizable amount over a year’s time, even adding in shipping costs (which are often waived). Add in tire wear and engine wear, fewer trips to the car wash, etc. and the lower cost of vehicle use becomes plain to see.

Beyond the hard cash conserved, the time saved makes everyone richer, starting with the shopper. The shopper has more time to do other things, which can be used to save even more by looking for bargains, for example. That shopper also now has time for other, more important things that add enjoyment to life.

It isn’t just shoppers who benefit, though. The lower costs are a boon to everyone. Merchants can save huge amounts on advertising and inventory by selling over the web. They can split the profits with affiliates, which puts more money in the pockets of both parties through increased sales. That also gives shoppers more places to buy, which increases competition, putting more downward pressure on prices.

The benefits extend beyond the immediate lowering of prices. By selling over the Internet, lower merchant costs free up money that can be used to invest in creating and producing new things, or finding ways to lower the price of old things.

It isn’t just huge corporations that gain from that, either. There are now millions of new small businesses, many of them 1-2 person outfits, that couldn’t afford to even start a business otherwise. The lower costs and wide distribution of the web make possible thousands of shopping options for consumers that didn’t exist as recently as 10 years ago. Once again, everybody benefits.

Much as we sometimes grumble about Google, Yahoo, and other search engine providers, they too have played a big role in making the Internet an inexpensive marketplace for everyone. It would be near impossible to find thousands of little-known merchants to get a great deal without search engines. Word of mouth can only spread after you bring some mouths to the site to begin with.

Also, there have to be enough people who find you so that the chain of recommendations continues. Too few customers and you never reach that critical threshold that makes it possible to stay in business long enough to get more.

The Internet has made selling and buying less expensive for everyone in dozens of ways. It has saved everyone who uses it literally billions over the past 10 years in what they would otherwise have spent. And, as Internet shopping continues to grow as a percentage of sales (and in absolute terms), that savings will get even bigger in the years to come.

15 Side Income Ideas you can start this weekend

Most folks these days seem to need a second income stream, if not to pay the rent then to save for that new car or overseas holiday. If you’re smart, this second source of funds will be derived from ‘passive income’— cash flow generated on a regular basis, requiring little or no effort by the recipient to maintain it. Here are a few ideas on how to start generating that ‘side income’—without much (if any) capital outlay, and with or without (too much) skill.

  1. Domestic services:
    • This could be anything from catering for dinner parties (what fun to be a personal chef in someone else’s kitchen!) and baking (there’s a market for birthday cakes, novelty cupcakes and gluten-free specialties); to clothing alterations (put your fliers out at Weigh-Less meetings?) and carpentry (friend of mine specialized in customized picture frames—made some money).
  2. Part-time lecturing, online teaching/tutoring:
    • Colleges and training institutions are always looking for part-timers to supplement their full-time faculty, especially for ESL teaching and tutoring; there are lots of opportunities for online ESL tutoring in China these days.
  3. Blogging, ghost-writing, self-published eBooks, proofreading:
    • The list of writing-related work is endless. Check out any freelancing website.  
  4. Bookkeeping and related activities in accounting and tax:
    • Filing tax returns has never been anyone’s favourite activity—they’d much rather pay someone else to do it.
  5. Caregiving and childcare:
    • Give vent to your mothering instincts—and it pays well.
  6. Assistant teaching:
    • All pre-and primary schools could use a helping hand in the classroom for guided reading and play activities. While you’re there, offer to teach modern dance, hip-hop or ballet (for the kids), and Pilates or Yoga (for the Moms). If you always wanted to teach but didn’t have the qualifications or time, this is for you. Also, offer your services as a sports coach in the afternoons, and to umpire/referee games—you only need a minimum of sporting talent and a maximum of enthusiasm.
  7. IT support, maintenance and tutoring:
    • Especially for small businesses who can’t commit to a full-time IT support person.
  8. Resume and cover letter writing, thesis proofreading:
    • Students at all levels and in all subject areas need help with crafting their essays, projects, theses and dissertations—and then writing a convincing job application to sell their skills.
  9. Housesitting/pet-sitting—free accommodation!
    • Families going on holiday often prefer to leave their home with some lights on in the evening, and their pets in the care of a warm body instead of in the local kennels.
  10. Vending machines:
    • A popular source of passive income, vending machines require a minimal outlay and even less maintenance. From gumballs to bottled water, follow the model of others who continue to stock schools, workplaces and malls with a variety of products.
  11. Event/party planning:
    • Use your organizational skills to put together the caterers, the florist, the photographer/videographer, the DJ, and—of course—the venue to create an unforgettable event.
  12. Freelancing:
    • Whatever your skill set, there will be someone out there willing to pay for your experience and time. Register—for free—on a site like Upwork for literally thousands of opportunities to work for yourself.
  13. Household maintenance:
    • If you’re a competent handyman with a bit of plumbing and electrical experience, there’s loads of work for you if you price your services right. Throw in a pool cleaning service, and you’ve got a substantial part-time business.
  14. Mini-mover, garden service:
    • If you own a small pickup truck or utility vehicle, use it on the weekends for mini-removals and collection of garden refuse. Hire a couple of helping hands to do the heavy lifting.
  15. Tour guide, guided hikes, history tours, travel agent:
    • If you know and love your local environment—urban or rural—enjoy meeting people and are reasonably mobile, put together a well-researched tour of your area. Create a theme—people and places of interest—and register with your local tourist association as a tour guide and travel agent.

Tips to Lower Your Entertainment Costs

‘Entertainment’ covers a wide area. It can mean going to a movie, having dinner, seeing a sporting event, and much more. In that broad sweep lies the secret for lowering expenses on an important part of the good life.

For example, if movies are your passion, think about the many ways available today to see one for nearly nothing. You can sign up for a Netflix subscription for a few dollars per month and still see two movies a week or more. You can watch many for free on any computer with a high-speed connection. Save gas and time by skipping the theater and making your own popcorn at home.

If going out to the local cinema is a must, you can still skip all the hyper-expensive candy and drinks. Attending a matinée is another way to save, since lower prices are still offered for earlier shows at many movie houses.

Dining is always a delight and we all love to go to a fine restaurant to be treated like kings and queens. But there are options that trade off only a small amount of that attention for a much reduced price. Good restaurants are defined not just by good food (though that’s important) but by good service. Ask friends where they have received exceptional service at a mid-priced place and give them your business instead.

To save the most in this area, consider dining at home – but with some delightful differences from the normal, everyday meal. Invite some friends and ask them to bring dessert, wine, or a special dish. Provide great lighting and a carefully prepared dish based on a recipe that is a world away from what you usually try. That lends a great mood and a sense of adventure that turns dinner with friends into a lavish evening of gourmet entertainment.

Tired of seeing sports events on that TV at home? Just have to go out and enjoy the experience in a crowd? Well, there are lots of ways to do that and still save a bundle.

Sports bars abound that offer huge, high definition screens for soccer, football, baseball, ice hockey, or even horse dressage and Olympic-style jumping. Whatever sport you enjoy, there’s a sports bar that caters, at least on select days, to your favorite. Use a social networking tool online to coordinate who, what, when, and where and turn an ordinary day of watching tennis into a once-in-a-year event.

Another way to get a big discount on a sports event is to engage in a little old-fashioned barter. Your friend, a neighbor, or even a total stranger will certainly have tickets to that basketball game some time when they can’t go.

But rather than pay scalpers prices, offer a little of your expertise and labor in exchange for them. Maybe you’re terrific at tuning computers or developing a financial plan. You might be an excellent do-it-yourself carpenter. Whatever your skill, just about anyone can use it.

Be creative and look for those unusual circumstances and out-of-the-ordinary events and arrangements. That offers the best chance to enjoy entertainment that doesn’t drain your wallet.

Creative (and Painless) Strategies For Saving on Your Family’s Food Bill

When the economy goes sour people naturally look for ways to economize. For most families, one of the earliest places they look is the food budget. Fortunately, saving money in that area does not require sacrificing nutrition, taste, or even quantity.

Several avenues for saving on overall grocery bill expenses have been around for many years now. The ‘big box’ grocery stores like Wal-Mart, CostCo, and others can easily help you save 20% or more over your regular grocery store bill.

Many people are reluctant to try stores like that for various personal reasons. They range from not wanting to appear ‘low class’ to just disliking crowds. But the experience of millions show that those stores are frequented by people from all walks of life. Shopping at odd hours (easy, since most are open 24 hours per day) can solve the problem of bumping elbows.

What you buy is just as much a determinant of how much you save as where you shop, too.

Think of all the not-necessarily nutritious, non-essential food and drink items you purchase. Some people crave sugary cookies, others enjoy pie, ice cream, and other goodies. Some have a weakness for high calorie soft-drinks or alcohol.

You can improve your health and save money without making life miserable by exercising some restraint. No need to deny yourself every indulgence, just buy them in moderation. Instead of three packages of cookies per month, think about only two. Rather than a half quart of wine per day per person, lower the amount to a couple of glasses at most.

Add up all those individual ’shavings’ and they lead to big savings over a period of time. A dollar here and there, multiplied by a couple of hundred items per month, totals up to over two thousand dollars saved over the course of a year. That’s not chump change in these tight times.

At the same time – just to select one example – less wine provides the benefits of modest consumption with fewer of the drawbacks. It lowers overall calories but still supplies you with the antioxidants that help improve heart function and decreases the odds of certain cancers.

Even greater savings are possible, with small sacrifice, by altering your restaurant-going habits.

Some couples eat out several nights per week. It’s convenient and provides a variety of foods, so who wouldn’t? But reducing that to a weekly ’special night out’ can save hundreds of dollars per month. Also, you can explore new options and save money by looking at places you hadn’t been before. Family ‘all you can eat for $X’ restaurants are one way. Selecting a second-tier place you’ve never tried before is another.

The overall theme is to explore, be flexible, and change long-standing habits. A little thought and a willingness to be adventurous can keep you satisfied and fit, while keeping your wallet fat.

Painless Ways to Reduce Your Electric Bill

For many people, the monthly cost of the electric bill represents one good place to cut down on expenses, especially in homes that use it for heating. Fortunately, you don’t have to live in the dark or freeze to cut your monthly bill by as much as 20-30%. That can add up to hundreds saved over the course of a year, money that can be used for something else.

For electrically heated (or air-conditioned) homes, the savings is largest. An average electric wall heater consumes 1500 watts or 1.5 kilowatts (KW). In a home that is heated or cooled by electricity, space heating accounts for nearly half the total electricity consumed. The next largest percentage is water heating, about 14%.

Those two items alone represent low-hanging fruit to pluck if you’re after savings on your electric bill.

Lowering the temperature on your home water heater, a safe and easy exercise for all modern models, makes it simple to reduce the amount of electricity you use. Most water heaters are set several degrees higher than necessary to keep scalding-temperature water in the tank at all times.

They’re set that way to provide hot water as quickly as possible. But you can trade off a few extra seconds of waiting time at the sink, by lowering that temperature by 5-10 degrees Fahrenheit. That also makes your faucet water safer, since the maximum temperature water it will produce is below the level that will burn. That’s especially important with children around who sometimes aren’t as careful or experienced with the hot/cold water controls.

Lowering the amount of electricity used for space heating (or cooling) is equally easy, and you don’t have to suffer by conserving here and there.

In most homes, there are several rooms that rarely get occupied during the day, alternating with others that don’t get used at night. At night – with everyone in bedrooms – the home office, living room, kitchen, and (if you have one) laundry room are typically unoccupied.

Just lower the thermostat for these to around 50F in winter and you’ll find that it takes less electricity to heat them up in the morning than it does to keep them heated all night. If you have a programmable thermostat, you can set it to go on automatically a half hour before waking and you will never know the difference.

Keeping the doors on bedrooms closed will help isolate the two parts of the house at the two different times. Keeping them closed (or nearly so) at night keeps the heat from the bedroom from leaking out, and vice versa during the day. Keep the laundry room and any spare bedrooms closed all the time except for the short periods they’re in use.

The same ideas apply to cooling your home as to heating. If you use an air conditioner, close off ducts to rooms when they’re not in use and keep doors mostly closed.

Naturally, ensuring that your home is well insulated is a must for long term savings. But replacing or improving it can be very expensive and the payoff (while real) accumulates over years. For short-term, high-return savings look to the things you can control around the home.

The joy of breaking the habit of overspending

Today’s guest post was written by Rachel Smith. She is the author of Underspent, a book teaching people how to break the habit of impulse shopping in 7 steps through my free monthly challenges and her weekly blog.

Check out her blog where you can buy her book directly in paperback ($12.99) or e-book, iBook and kindle formats ($2.99).

I wasn’t a shopaholic and I didn’t have huge credit card debts, but, like most people, I was an impulse shopper.

It’s our culture. Advertising and expectations have taught us how to spend money. Most people have never been taught how to not spend money. I love books. I read a book a month. I found it very difficult to walk past a bookshop without being sucked in by yet another ‘Buy three books for the price of two’ offer. If I was at the airport I always bought a book or magazine whether I needed it or not. I also had a habit of home wares I didn’t really need. If I saw ‘the most beautiful cushion in the world’ in a shop, I’d want to buy it.

On New Year’s Eve 2012, I decided to quit shopping. I pledged and promised to buy nothing new or second-hand for one whole year (2013). I failed. I saw buying nothing as a hardship filled with doom and gloom, like a year of punishment. ‘Negativity creates negativity’—my year of no buying lasted just four months.

In 2014, I tried again. Second time around, I saw buying nothing new or second-hand for a year as an exciting opportunity, an adventure and a whole new way to live my life—a lifestyle experiment. Positive thinking creates positive experiences. I succeeded. I didn’t buy anything new or 2nd hand in 2014 and saved $52,680 (38% of my salary). I changed my spending and transformed my savings. It started as a lifestyle experiment, but it changed my life, so I kept on going.

During 2014 I discovered my ‘pain’ points, the reasons why I went shopping. The first was boredom. It was easy to go to the shops when I had nothing better to do. The second was rewarding myself. I worked long hours. I’d always treat myself with new clothes after a sixty-hour week. Third was peer pressure. Lots of my friends loved shopping, and I was easily influenced into buying too.

The first step that I took to break my habit of impulse shopping was to identify my passions and priorities. I realised that experiences gave me joy, not things; spending time with my family and friends, beach days, long country walks, surfing and horse riding. One of my priorities was security. I saved money so that I had 2 years’ of salary in the bank when my role was made redundant in December 2015.

There’s plenty of research and endless books on the pursuit of happiness and none of them suggest shopping as the answer. We don’t need many ‘things’ to be happy. My ‘no buying’ experiment really reinforced that we need very little to be happy. What I love about quitting consumerism is that you use up everything that you already have, you swap and share and you value what you have.

I was able to break the habit impulse shopping. These are the 7 steps that worked for me:

  • Step 1. I identified my passions and priorities – First up I admitted it was possible. Then I wrote my ‘passion list’, identified my shopping and buying issues and made a ‘Why I am not shopping and buying’ list.
  • Step 2. I made a budget and sorted out my banking – Everyone’s financial circumstances are different but I set up a monthly budget and I stopped using my credit and debit cards.
  • Step 3. I got people in place to help – I made myself accountable to my family, friends and people on social media.
  • Step 4. I inspected, assessed and organised my stuff – I inspected every single room in my house. I assessed every single item in every cupboard and I inspected my wardrobe with a fine tooth comb.
  • Step 5. I got into swapping, sharing and selling – I swapped the clothes I didn’t like and didn’t wear. I shared the books I’d already read and I sold some things I didn’t like and didn’t use.
  • Step 6. I used everything that I already had – I used up all my soaps, shampoos, conditioners and moisturisers. I used the sample sachets, the travel-size bottles and all the complimentary products I had received from magazines, shops and hotels. I ate all the food in my pantry, fridge and freezer before I bought more. I wore out all the shoes I had and I wore my shoes until they had holes in the soles.
  • Step 7. I got out and had fun – I focused on experiences not stuff, I made some special investments and I participated in my local community.

I quit shopping for 365 days. It was one of the best years of my life and I didn’t dramatically change my life to do it. All I can say now is, try it and see!

DIY: Reducing Home Repair Expenses

One simple way to save big on home repair expenses is to do much of the work yourself.

You don’t have to be the world’s expert with a hammer and drill to save huge amounts of cash by a little do-it-yourself around the home. All it takes is a willingness to learn a few things you might have hired someone else to do for you. You’ll also find it can be a lot of fun and very satisfying.

If you don’t have the proper tools, they can usually be purchased for less than you would pay a professional to come out for an hour. A drill, a few screwdrivers, a hammer, and other simple tools can all be bought for less than $100. Once you have them, of course, they can be reused for generations.

To save the absolute most money on tools shop at garage sales, eBay, weekend markets, and other venues for used tools. Most are just as good as new and will generally be half-price or less.

Then, hit the Internet to find out the best way to repair a leaky pipe or replace a faucet. Look for articles to give you hints about how to replace a tile without destroying your floor. Search for information on laying carpet. All these and many more can be done by anyone male or female. Professional results are within reach of anyone who wants to make the effort.

That information gathering step is crucial and only costs your time. Plunging in before you have a basic idea of how home fixtures, floors, and more are put together is a recipe for a major repair of a minor problem. And, as one savvy professional put it: “If we fix it, the price is $100. If you have already ‘fixed’ it, it will be $500.” So, learn what to do before you try to do it. Experimentation without education is a bad idea.

There are some areas where you will have to think long and hard about whether it’s wise to save money by doing it yourself. If it’s dangerous or you truly lack the skills you can end up with an expensive disaster on your hands.

Roof or wall repairs are a good case in point. Some simple repairs are well within the skill level of an experienced do-it-yourselfer. Laying roofing paper or tiles requires patience and some know-how, but it can be done. However, if you’re not fairly athletic, it’s often a losing proposition.

Hospital visits after an accident are typically much more expensive than the cost of a professional repair person. Even if you don’t injure yourself, but only the roof, it can end up costing you much more in the long run. The same might apply to electrical work, or even plumbing, or – worst of all – electrical work around plumbing fixtures.

Still, there are dozens of home repair jobs that take minimal skill with just a few tools and materials. Save money and gain the pride of accomplishment at the same time by tackling them the old-fashioned way: with personal elbow grease.

Frugal Ways to Buy on Credit

With all the downsides to the hard times there is one bright spot: if you need credit, you can now save big. Interest rates are at all-time low and are likely to stay there for quite a while. No one should drown themselves in debt in a time when the debt has swallowed so many. But for those able to pay, interest rate costs are as small as they’re ever likely to be.

Still, it’s possible to get into a lot of trouble by, for example, charging up those credit cards, which are still the most expensive form of debt. Also, home equity loans as a substitute for financing purchases that otherwise would have been made by credit card are not as viable an option for many as they were over the past few years.

So, what to do? Borrow, charge, or refinance and pay back with inflated dollars? Or, simply exercise some ingenuity and do a little homework to find a better way. The best option should be no contest. You can take advantage of the fact that there are fewer buyers and borrowers to get a great deal on credit.

Suppose you’re in the market for a new car. Sales are down and that helps you. Visit more than one dealer – and look at those online, too – then use that background to bargain for a better deal. Dealers have often been willing to offer a better price if they got the financing.

In days past, that could cost you big time by paying their higher rate. That’s no longer the case. The total cost of interest between, for example, 5.5% and 5.0% over four years is minimal. On a purchase of $30,000 it amounts to about $335, or less than $7 dollars per month. You can use that information to bargain for a lower price. The dealer has several ways to make up the difference on his end and still come out well. Plus, they’re desperate to move inventory these days.

Similar ideas apply for those who are shopping for a house. It’s true that loan criteria have tightened up. But qualified buyers still find it easy to get a loan – easier, in fact, since so many others have gotten into trouble by taking on more debt than they could service. That puts you in a good bargaining position.

Unlike an auto loan, here a difference of a half-point (usually less) will amount to big savings. Over the average 30-year life of a home loan, and on an amount of $300,000, the difference, in this case, is about $33,500 total and $100 per month. Also, many other costs like insurance and more are keyed off the interest rate. It pays to bargain and the banks are hungry for new business from credit-worthy customers.

The key to getting big savings on credit is delayed gratification. If you’re willing to walkway, or hold out for a better deal (which will surely be just around the next corner), you can save a lot on credit today.

Saving Money the New-Fashioned Way

No one needs to be told that times are tough. Unemployment is up and so are prices. The heavy load of debt that most people carry has caused them to become more cautious, so they save more. The savings rate rose from 2.8% to 3.6% over the past quarter. Fortunately, there are ways to keep that rate high without suffering too drastic a cut in your lifestyle.

The key is to seek and practice new ways of saving money, made easier than ever by the Internet revolution of the past 10 years.

Not long ago, buying a king-sized bed over the Internet would have been unthinkable. Now, while perhaps not commonplace, it is easy, painless, and a great way to save hundreds off a new bed. There are thousands of other products and services that could equally well be cited as examples.

Around the home, it’s possible to save money by thinking in new ways, too.

You can lower your home heating bill and reduce your electricity usage without freezing or living in the dark. You can give parties at home more often, even splitting the cost with the guests. Today, no one will think you’re cheap since they’re all in the same situation.

You can lower many other costs, too, and not sacrifice your enjoyment of life or short-change those you care about.

You can get low-cost, high-quality gifts by altering your shopping habits a little bit. Instead of reaching for the first, high-ticket item that pops into your head, slow down. Spend a little time thinking and researching, use the Internet to find that odd gift that will be kept forever but doesn’t cost a bundle.

You can keep your entertainment expenses down by adapting that idea. Do something out of the ordinary. Instead of eating at that same high-priced restaurant you always use for special occasions, seek out something new that’s less costly. Download a free movie instead of going to the theater. Seek out sporting event venues that are lower than the usual cost of football tickets, such as sports bars.

Reduce your medical expenses with a similar technique.

Shop around and consider a less expensive health care plan if you’re not covered already by one at work. Even if you are, think about whether the premiums you pay actually add up to less than the price of, say, a dental or eye checkup. Insurance companies bet that the money you pay them will bring in more than the cost of the portion they pay on your bills. They’re experts at such calculations, so follow their lead and use it to your advantage.

You can also save money on credit, if you’re creditworthy. The best way is simply not to use it. Interest costs money, that’s how banks get rich. Keep some of that money yourself. If you do take out a loan, use the fact that you are a good risk to your advantage. Bargain hard.

Think about how and where to save money and you’ll find dozens of new ways to keep more of your hard-earned cash. Then, splurge once in a while to relieve the pressure of long-sustained discipline and to keep life fun. That’s saving the new-fashioned way.

How to Save Big When Shopping

No article could list all the places to shop to get big discounts. The usual one are well known: Amazon, eBay, Wal-Mart, and many, many more. But there’s another aspect to the idea of shopping smart that you might have overlooked: be adventurous and try new places and methods.

Discount stores are often overlooked. In the past few years, a number of Dollar Stores of one brand or another have opened up around the country. Shopping there can net you major brand soap for a dollar that would cost three in a regular grocery store. You can get a $2 toothbrush for less than a buck or a mop that would cost nearly $10 elsewhere.

In smaller towns, the local feed store – originally developed for horse owners but now stocking everything under the sun – can let you save big. Major brand dog food in large quantity is often 10-20% less than the price offered by a major grocery store. Clothing, garden tools, and much more are also on sale every day.

Looking at online options, Craigslist continues to expand, and for good reason. It offers an unbelievable array of items for whatever someone who might be your neighbor is willing to accept. It’s especially good for those odd items that you would have to scour antique stores for years to find, and the prices are usually much lower than such stores charge.

Along with that same line of thinking, but applying it to retail, thrift stores often sell ‘second-hand’ clothing that has, in fact, never been worn. Sometimes it’s on the rack owing to the generosity of donors. Other times, it was just something that person had in the closet for a while and never wore. They take it to the thrift store to exchange for something else they prefer.

Book and CD purchases are another possible arena where those who enjoy reading and music can save a lot. Alibris, Amazon, and other online venues offer steep discounts on books used and new. But Used Book stores, which often also carry CDs, provide another way to save on those odd titles that you will never see anywhere else. They’re fun, peaceful places that are rarely crowded, except in the largest cities. Strand Books in New York, for example, is three floors and it’s always packed with people.

Barter provides another terrific option for saving substantial sums if you’re willing to trade your time for cash. You’ll spend longer looking for a particular item than you would on eBay. But online sites (like SwapCD), garage sales, and just passing the word around through Facebook can net you a great deal on that perfect item.

Barter can involve trading your labor for an item, or a straight swap of your seldom-used tree trimmer for a badly-needed post-hole digger. There’s no limit to what someone else might want, and someone out there is willing to trade for just the thing you want. Connect with them the old or new-fashioned way and save the entire cost of buying the item.

The idea is to look around, try something new, and substitute your time to research and connect in order to save those hard-earned dollars. Check out this list of 100 saving hacks to get some more great ideas