When looking into our family’s financial crystal ball, truth be told, it can look a little murky at best. But just like the crazy mood swings at home, I've got to look beyond the swirling malestrom that currently prevails and into the clearer skies upon the horizon. So when my husband throws in a notion like upgrades and updating furniture, whoa, then I've really got to study budgets, bargains and needs versus must-haves. Lucky for our family, as a mother of four, I am an honorary Queen of the budget-friendly domains, so in addition to savings, I keep my eyes peeled for form and functional pieces as well. If you too are in the market for great savings, then I've got a few tips that are easy to use and guaranteed to stretch that family dollar.
Here are some of my favorites to share for those who are also balancing budgets and family-friendly options:
Yes, online classifieds and flea markets can be great sources of savings. Of course, they’re not always ideal; after all, we’ve all heard of the creepy Craigslist killer and who hasn't had to wade through an entire Saturday, driving, parking and fighting with every other penny-pincher only to find castoffs that even you wouldn’t pay a nickel for. But if you are studious, determined and persistent, every now and then you can glean that little hidden gem of savings. Go online for locations in your own home town.
I admit it; there have been times when the entire house is sleeping, uncommonly calm and peaceful, that you can find me and some other panicked insomniacs, attempting to outbid each other into the wee hours. All to find myself not only punching a giant hole in that bottom-line but ending up empty-handed as well. I’ve ‘won’ on some occasions, finding items that were not only under budget but received damage-free and with excessively prompt shipping times but use caution here, too. Namely, never count on auction sites as guarantee low price options. They’re good to look at when starting out on your new budget to see what options are out there and what your dollar could possibly get, but don’t forget the down side, too. Especially those sellers with lower star ratings and/or scathing customer reviews. It may seem initially that you’re getting a great deal only to find yourself still waiting for that item weeks after your auction ended.
These are great for not only shopping after hours but also unlike trying to track down sellers from flea markets and anonymous online auction sites you can communicate with a live person if ever the need arises. There is generally a nominal fee to join, but the savings you accrue from your purchases more than make up for that initial cost. One of my personal favorites is Direct Savings Club, I have found their selections not only of higher quality but the accrued savings can be put towards other family funds, namely clothes, food and that all important vacation.
Yes, at the end of the day, we could all use a little extra pocket change and it you’re trying to upgrade existing pieces, remodel or just starting to accrue more ‘grownup’ furniture then there is no reason you need to pay top dollar for it. Remember, try to keep within your budgetary means, be patient and above all, be realistic in your expectations. Good things come to those who wait—and keep their eyes on the bottom line.