Leverage your resources

AJ: I’m a big fan of leveraging the strengths and connections of the people around you to get what you want. People are well acquainted with (and comfortable leveraging) networking for business reasons, so why not apply the same philosophy to personal situations?

Find people who know how to do things
My dad is a master with car and home repairs. He can tell us quickly if a mechanic’s quote for service is reasonable or if a home problem is DYI’able or if we should call a professional. People who “know things” are invaluable resources that can save you big money. Kirby’s uncle is a professional landscaper and knows all kinds of things about plants, sprinkler systems and drainage issues. Before our landscaping washes away, he’s our go-to source for things unknown in our garden. My mom’s best friend from high school is a master tiler and knows how to texture bare walls. I need both tile and walls!

These are the kinds of relationships that lend themselves to time spent helping each other. Many times people are more than happy to help do what they can if they have the time and it saves you money and ensures that you have an experienced contact you can rely on who won’t charge you hourly (unless it’s in the form of beer and pizza!).

Know your friends’ hobbies and commission them
We love to give unique gifts, and I’m constantly on the hunt for people I know whose hobbies are full-time jobs for some. We’ve commissioned everything from custom jewelry to artwork to my most recent mission – to find one of my friends who sews and can make our drapes! Establish a price and timeline up front and ensure you’re getting the quality you need in exchange for payment. Friends who make jewelry or crafts for gifts can be cheaper and more sentimental/one-of-a-kind. Plus, you may be helping them pad their budget with a little extra income.

Make a deal
Everyone needs help now and then. If you need manual labor, an extra set of hands, house sitting, pet sitting, whatever, offer to cook meals, pay in food and beverage or in exchange for some of your own strengths, whatever it takes to get the job done.

Part of my career involves forging relationships and partnerships that are mutually beneficial. Applying that same technique to your personal life, your charitable endeavors, whatever you’re passionate about can extend a small (or nonexistent) budget to be an impressive display. It requires more legwork, research and time but saves money and extends the reach of your efforts.

Regardless of your career or your current needs, take stock of your surroundings and be prepared to forge relationships that could prove beneficial in the future.

Think of what you may be able to do in return too to pay the favor back (i.e. can you fix their car, plumbing, make something, cook something, watch their kids/pets, etc.). Now the next time you need some help, make a list of who may be willing to assist. You’ll be surprised with the responses you may get!

    What have you done to leverage your resources?
    Have you been able to stretch a small budget with a large project?
    Tell us about what you have been able to accomplish.

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