It helps to have friends who own their own business; not only are they an inspiration watching them successfully run a business, often they can help save money on special services and items as well. Recently, my husband and I had the need for an outdoor sun shade. Given that our patio faces west and we really enjoy spending time on it during the warmer months, we also knew that come mid-May, the brutal sun would be blazing in through our patio door heating up the rest of the apartment. The solution called for an outdoor sun shade.

Sun Screen Blind
Sun Screen Blind

Thankfully, though our patio is on the top floor, we have a pergola above our patio allowing us to anchor lights and sturdy enough to anchor a shade. But we didn’t just want any shade, we wanted the nicest one we could get without spending a fortune. We intend to live here a few years, so the shade needed to be durable, it also needed to withstand the beating sun 4-months out of the year and a little wind. The solution called for a commercial-grade sun shade. One that we could roll up neatly inside a protective casing and store when we weren’t using it and one that we could anchor when it was completely rolled down so it wouldn’t act as a sail on windy days.

We were in luck that a good friend of ours owns a franchised blind business. He was able to show us some fabric samples and colors and quote us wholesale pricing which saved us 2/3 of the retail price. Now, our patio is perfectly shaded from the western sun, our apartment stays 40% cooler, and we even have little privacy in the evenings when we want to kick back and not stare down into the neighboring building. Even one of our cats can come out and join us now that the shade blocks his view of the “outdoors”! (Our other two cats are too squirrely and would quickly figure out they were “outside”. 😉 )

Have you benefited from friends saving you money?


  1. Nice – considering how expensive these things can get! Now I would like a good auto mechanic as a friend! 🙂

  2. Your friends are part of your network! Networking should be common, but we don’t think of it that way. I am sure you asked one of your friends for the name of a good plumber. That is networking.

  3. Paula @ Reply

    My boyfriend used to run a solar energy company that designed and installed solar systems for homes. He put systems on both his mom’s house and his dad’s house (his parents are divorced) for ONLY the cost of materials, plus an extra $1000 for labor (he hired two of his friends and paid each person $500 for 1 – 1.5 days work).

  4. Amanda L Grossman Reply

    It’s great when you can offer savings to your friends and family and receive them in return. I have a great friend at work–we bonded over frugality and coupons! I get to get to free pre-screenings as a “press” person with the Chronicle, and they are all the newest kids movies. So every so often we get to see the latest and greatest films (like Rio!)–my friend has a 7 year old son, so this works out perfectly. We each clip coupons for products we both know the other uses, and my friend has let us borrow great tools during the renovation projects of our home–like her steamer for wallpaper, and her mouse sander. She also recently signed up for a Triple AAA membership and added me on for free!

  5. You know, the best part of working at a mall in high school was getting to know the people in the other stores and swapping discounts come christmas time. Networking is key.

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