First Person: Improving Financial Stability Through Family

Yahoo Contributor Network

Family can play an integral role in maintaining financial stability. Parents helping out kids, kids helping out parents, siblings helping out one another, or whatever the situation, such help can be a big cycle of exchange that benefits -- or in some situations hurts -- all those involved.

Our family is a great example of helping one another to become more financially secure through our exchange of goods and services with one another. As my grandfather used to say when losing money playing cards with my grandmother, "At least I'm keeping it in the family."

Bartering Services

Our family is like one big bartering service. The in-laws provide dinner for my moving furniture or cleaning their garage or crawlspace. I provide lawn care, gutter cleaning, or home repairs and maintenance at their house for their childcare services. It all really works out well and ends up saving both sides money. We get to save on things like food and childcare, while they cut the costs of hiring professionals for home maintenance and the likes.

Combined Garage Sales/Resale

Our family tends to have a garage sale at least once a year. We find it's a great way to stay downsized and make a little extra money in the process. However, we don't always have enough stuff of our own to make the sale much of a draw to prospective customers. Therefore, we often pair our sale with our in-laws and/or other family members. This way, we not only increase the amount of stuff we have for sale, but it helps having additional hands on deck to save time and labor, and we can market our sale in the local newspaper as a "multi-family sale", making it more attractive to buyers.

At times, we've combined our resale abilities in other ways. I've helped my mother and mother-in-law sell back old textbooks and other items by way of online resale for cash. I handle the resale efforts (since they don't want or know how to do such things online), packaging, etc. and they cut me in for a portion of the proceeds. This way, they get rid of their old stuff that would just sit unused otherwise, and everyone makes a little money in the process.

Exchanging Leftovers

You wouldn't think that exchanging leftover food would make a big difference, but we've often been able to make at least an extra family meal or two a week out of our in-laws' regular leftovers. At first, I felt bad about taking the food, but after seeing them throw out large portions of these leftovers on regular basis -- and I'm talking good food here -- I felt better about minimizing the waste. And knowing that since they have a large family, they're going to make the same excessive amounts regardless, it makes it even easier.

However, we end up paying them back to an extent, since as a smaller family ourselves, we occasionally overbuy. A 5-lb bag of potatoes or 3-lb bag of onions is much more than we'll need or use, but if it's a really good buy, we'll go ahead and get it and then share the excess with the in-laws. Therefore, some of the leftovers we're taking home were supplied by us in the first place. This ends up decreasing waste on our end, and does the same on their end, while often providing an extra meal or two per week for our family, especially if we can extend such meals with items like rice, potatoes, pasta, or other inexpensive fillers.

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The author is not a licensed financial professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or financial advice. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader's discretion.


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