Over at the Biblical Womanhood blog, Crystal is talking about how networking can save money. I strongly agree and figured I'd thro win my two cents and experience.
My biggest network in this area would have to be our church. Especially since having a baby, I have saved so much money because of the kindness of people in our church. In particular, some of us moms decided that since baby clothes are hardly ever worn out, we would share them. Each mom that wants to participate writes her initials on the tag of the clothes with permanent marker and then passes them on to the next mom "in line." My daughter was born within a year and a half of two other girls in our church so we received more clothing than she could ever possibly wear! I, too, marked some of our clothes and passed them on to a mom who had a daughter about 10 months after me. I hold on to anything I would be upset if I never saw again (Easter dress, ect.), but now that I'm pregnant again, I know where those clothes are and know that I can get them back whenever I need them. What helps is that our church is on the smaller side (100 or less), but I imagine it could work with larger churches as well. Moms groups and friends could also do the same thing. Obviously, gender and season can play a big role, but we love knowing that our baby's clothes are blessing others when not in use!
A few months ago I wanted to share all the couponing information I'd been learning, so I did a class at our church and I have already heard a few stories of people starting to catch on and being blessed by the excitement of saving money! Since the class, we have been keeping a coupn box at church where everyone puts their unwanted coupons and others can help themselves. I have been so excited to see people jumping in and helping eachother. Also, when my husband and I were married, almost everone in our church was involved, from D.J.ing and playing the keyboard to even making the rehearsal dinner. Our church has it's problems and is far from being perfect, but we've always made it a point to try to be a family as much as possible. It's a real blessing to know that when my new baby comes, someone from the church is near by to watch her if we need. We never have trouble finding a babysitter and there's an endless supply of advice, both on a personal level, as well as a professional level. It's my heart's desire to see this emphasized even more (especially in a practical, everyday living way) and I know someday it will be. I hope to someday see more mentoring and practical life training, especially with new wives and moms, to teach them how to save money and be the best wives and mothers they can. As I've posted before, it is good for the older women to pour their experience and wisdom out into the younger (as in Titus 2) and I greatly look forward to seeing this come to pass more and more. Until then, I am so thankful for my church family as it is now and the WONDERFUL source of information and inspiration that I have found blogging to be. I hope you find it helpful as well!