This summer, I've felt unusually blessed to have such great friends. Rob and I have lived in Raleigh for four years, and during that time we've developed some deep friendships. With heavy but hopeful hearts, we've helped 3 or 4 friends move out of the Raleigh area onto new adventures in other cities, states, even continents. Some have returned, while others are gone for good.
It's with a twinge of sadness that I realize that Rob and I will probably be the next to move. Our friends will help us load into a moving truck, and we'll be on to new adventures too.
But in between now, and our move (which is likely months away), I get to bask in the glorious ways that friends have enriched our lives. Of course, friendship is a good in itself, but our friends have helped us become financially wealthier too.
Can yours do the same for you? Here's how calling up your friends could save you thousands of dollars this summer.
Rob is an incredible handy-man. I knew this before we married. It was one of the features that registered as "excellent life partner" material, but I didn't realize how right I was until after we had owned a few houses together. This post isn't about marriage, but marrying a handy person is a great piece of financial advice.
Now that we've gone through an in-home renovation and more than a few rental repairs, I know just how valuable of skill that Rob has.
But Rob doesn't only share his handy skills with me. He's been helping our friends (and honestly my friends) with home repair projects ever since we moved to Raleigh. This summer, our friend Nathan has agreed to help us out with the final bathroom repair. In exchange, Rob is going to help him with some of the more complex parts of his kitchen remodel.
By helping Rob, Nathan is saving us at least a few hundred dollars in labor costs. It's a very worthwhile swap (said by the person who gets all the benefits and shoulders none of the costs).
Ever since we moved to Raleigh, I've paid friends to watch our kids. First Amanda, then Traci, then Julie, then Traci again, and now JoyJoy and Traci. Because we're friends, I got to pay just north of daycare prices to get the highest quality care for my kids.
Amanda often told me that people assumed Kenny was her kid when they were out and about. She never bothered to correct them.
Having friends who watch your kid as their own is a huge blessing.
And guess what! Having friends has also saved me some money on childcare too. My friend Erin and I have swapped childcare, so that we could go out on daytime dates (hiking, biking, etc.). Not only do we get free babysitting, we get to go on frugal dates too!
Plus, JoyJoy is not just watching my kids this summer. She's watching my kids and Dana's kids. I'm paying both halves of the babysitting, but Dana is going to take my family's pictures this summer. (I'm coming out ahead on that one).
This summer, we're going to Minnesota to visit family for our vacation. However, we'll also get to indulge a few inexpensive vacation options because we have friends. An inexpensive beach camping trip is in the works, and a few lake parties and hikes to the rock quarry mean we can have fun and stay cool without having to visit water parks or other expensive destinations.
A lot of people spend a lot of money on "entertainment" or "fun." Usually that involves restaurants, bars, video games, TV, etc.
I'm perfectly happy to admit that these may add value to your life, but want to know something that's even better? Watching the game at the house of the one friend who has cable (you must provide food). Even more old school? Listening to a baseball game via the MLB live app.
The cheapest way to have fun is to have a comfortable relationship with close friends. That way you don't have to plan activities, buy extra food, or do much of anything to have a good time. Just call up your friends, and make a plan to meet. I assure you, this is fun.
I'm a wife, a mom, an employee, and a personal finance nerd who is devoted to spreadsheeting my way through life.