The Consumer Queen, an online resource for those looking to save money in the recession, gives great advice with regards to retail transactions, but our lives are so much more complicated than just coupons and checkout lines.
I’m the main breadwinner for a family of four, and I also help cover the expenses of another family. I’ll show you how to black-line your way through the following expenses: day care, car, home, and personal care through the power of networking.
Day care can be maddening: One of my managers reported to me how his day care dropped the phone calls and picked up on expenses. They charged him 50 bucks for being 5 minutes late. He should have either placed his son with a trustworthy friend or he should have had a pick-up network arranged and started the phone tree. The Consumer Queen espouses the virtue of free products; the way to achieve free day care is to trade day care days with co-workers and friends. The ultimate fee-buster is to have fellow co-workers pick up the kids slightly before your day care closing time and bring them to you. Also consider doing this with other parents that attend the same day care. For retail workers, this can be easily achieved, but it is recommended that you thoroughly get to know all care givers and perform background checks as well.
Car care expenses are mostly preventative and repairs can be costly. Some repair centers have gotten clever with their advertising and offer a “rebate” on customers’ deductible. For those who don’t own cars, a deductible is the amount that you share in repair costs before insurance kicks in, typically ranging between 500 and 2,000 dollars. In a move that the Consumer Queen would envy, I beat the costs of a $1,000 deductible – I have buddies who own shops in the local area and one of them agreed to take my check for $1,000 and cut me one for $1,000 in return for a little advertising. I posted a sign on my window and the deal was done.
As for home repair, you can also start a toolkit exchange through your network of neighbors and friends. Another way to beat the costs of repair is to host a party barbecue in return for free labor, much like an Amish barn raising. The Consumer Queen recommends partnering up for savings, and this is the ultimate way. My uncle enlisted the aid of ten friends and saved over $100,000 in labor costs while building his half-million-dollar home.
Consumer Queen fans should also consider the following 5 personal care tips:
1. Laser treatments remove unwanted hair on a long-term basis and provide an alternative to painful nicks, cuts, and scrapes from razor use. It’s a great personal care solution for disabled people who want one less arduous personal care task on their plates.
2. Permanent makeup is the ultimate way to save money, but it’s considered extreme because it is hard to change looks and there is little room for mistakes – once the ink is in, it’s there forever.
3. Therapy-by-the-group. Churches offer great classes, sometimes free of charge, that teach members how to cope with the hard times that life can put us all through. If you’re too embarrassed to pipe up publicly, consider sending an e-mail to the leader of the group for future discussion.
4. Skip the gym and take a hike. The photography opportunities are endless, and you can make gift & greeting cards from the photographs. I have photographed the azure-blue skies of Round Rock, TX and the silent snowfall in Albany, NY while dropping pounds and burning calories. Plus, you could earn money through royalty rights on any photos you take.
5. Education pays. The Consumer Queen makes money through her website while educating the public. some people have also started How-to classes with a steal of a tuition – the price of cheap makeup. Avon and Mary Kay resellers have been doing education-based seminars for decades, and their advice can even enhance your career because the good looks of a salesperson can sometimes help make a sale.
As a mommy of two, I sometimes struggle with the bills, but I always have that inner Consumer Queen calling the shots. Keep in mind that there is a way to save on all aspects of your life, even if it’s just time, so take the magnifying glass out and see how YOU can network your way to Consumer Queen success!