Some people straight up know how to get stuff. They get the best deals, know where to research, and never settle. I strive to reach this status, to know everything about everything. I want to be a wealth of knowledge and to share that information with all of you!
That being said, most of us don’t have the luxury of knowing everything about everything, so we turn to experts when we need help. If we know these people, we suddenly have someone we can turn to in a time of need and who can potentially help us save a lot of time, money, and stress.
I often say that “I have a guy” for many projects. I have a guy who does great web design, I have a guy that handles viruses, and yet another that knows where to get super cheap exercise videos. You don’t have to know everything yourself, but if you know someone in a bunch of different industries than can give you advice about your expertise, isn’t that just as good (if not better)?
Here’s my top 5 list of people it’s best to know:
#5. Lawyer – They won’t represent you for free, but if you’re good friends with someone who can give you a quick opinion about your rights or recommend someone specific to you rather than rolling the dice with the guy from the big ad in the yellow pages (do those still exist?), you can be confident that the person you do get will be a good fit for you. When our car was totaled (and we needed a reliable personal injury attorney), we got a recommendation from a family member, and it was great to know we could trust the person we were working with, especially at a stressful time.
#4. Doctor – When your kid isn’t feeling well or when you want to know whether the weird symptoms are something you need to worry about, what’s better than walking across the street for a quick opinion? This could save you the time of going to the doctor’s office, waiting in the lobby, and coming home on those false alarms, as well as the co-payments and deductibles that nibble away at our savings.
#3. Accountant – Few things are more frustrating than sitting down to do your taxes in April and realizing you have no idea what you’re doing. While there are some free tax resources out there, the IRS tax code isn’t the easiest reading and what you see isn’t always what you get. Sure, if your tax situation is simple, you can go with TurboTax or another online tax preparer. But if you take itemized deductions or have some weird exception, you can get your friend to quickly answer your question and save yourself the trip to H&R Block, and you won’t have to worry about getting audited instead of getting your refund! Plus, they can help you develop the best plan for the future to help optimize your tax situation.
#2. Computer Expert – When you get a virus or can’t get your DVD player to load right, who doesn’t like having a tech-savvy teenager around? Other than kicking you out of your chair and muttering something under their breath about how you need to enter the 21st century, they really are great to have around. Having your neighbor come over and fix your problem in a pinch can save you big bucks, because your alternative is hiring the Geek Squad to come to your house. Besides, I remember myself as a teenager; I was awesome and knew everything.
#1. Travel Agent – (Just kidding, do THESE even exist anymore? Just go to Kayak.com, Southwest.com and Jetblue.com you’ll have all your options.)
The Real #1: Mechanic – This is a big one because when something happens to your car, there’s nothing worse that not knowing what the problem is and putting your car and money in the hands of a complete stranger. Just knowing the issues and the expected cost from someone who isn’t trying to rip you off can leave you prepared for what can be an expensive trip to the body shop.
Update: I was thinking that maybe someone at the Apple Store would be a great contact to have. Anytime you drop your phone, they can hook you up with a new one. One less (important) thing to worry about, and when you want to be the coolest kid in the room with the newest iPhone, I’m sure they can make sure you get one without having to wait weeks.
Readers, who do you know that you can count on to save you money? What ‘services’ do you provide to people that makes you feel better about asking for some help next time you need it?