Ever since I read a few books on frugality a few years ago, I realized that I was such a sucker if I went to the retail store and purchased something at full price. I was never reckless with my money. I mean, I didn’t just go out and spend $500 at a time without thinking about it. I also wasn’t a piddler. Some people buy little trinkets here and there, or maybe it’s just buying candy or going out to eat, but they spend about $20 every time they leave the house. This just wasn’t me, but by paying retail prices, I was still a sucker.
Where Did You Get That?
At this point in my life, when I tell a story about buying something, if I am asked, “Where did you get that? I love it!”, my response is almost always, “Craigslist”. 🙂 I don’t buy anything unless it is severely discounted.
Can’t You Afford the New Stuff?
When I respond with my Craigslist answer, some people feel sorry for me because they think that I can’t afford the good stuff at the retail store. I assure them that that is not the case (whether they believe me or not, I really don’t care), but that I prefer to spend my money wisely and I have found that Craigslist is a great way to do that. Here’s a recent example:
I wanted to buy a fake Christmas tree this year because I’m a little tired of picking up needles in March, long after the tree has left my house. So, I headed out to one of my most favorite stores, Big Lots. This is a great store for finding deals because even their retail price is marked far lower than a typical retail store. If you can find a savings off from their “retail”, chances are you are finding a bargain. But, while I am a fan of Big Lots, that does not mean that I will just purchase an item without thinking about its actual value (meaning, the price that I think I can get it for elsewhere).
So there I was, standing in Big Lots, staring at a 7.5′, pre-lit tree with 550 lights already attached. The price tag? Regular price $130, marked down to $100. A reasonable deal considering these trees at other stores would sell for at least $150, and sometimes even upwards of $200! But, while standing there, I just thought to myself, “I wonder what Christmas trees are going for on Craigslist. I whipped out my smartphone and did a quick search. Someone had just recently posted a pre-lit tree that was very similar to the one I was standing in front of, except it
was 8′ tall, appeared wider, and had 1,200 lights on it! Their asking price: $75. Sounded like a deal to me! It was $25 cheaper, was in my area, and was by far a better tree.
I called the owner, got the address and headed over there immediately. While I was in route, he quickly set it up to show me everything worked, which it did. I offered him $70 (just to feel like I got a little bit of a deal), he gladly accepted, and I was on my way back home with a gorgeous tree.
You may be thinking, “Big whoop, you saved $30,” but keep in mind that this tree cost $250 brand new. Regardless, even if I only saved $30, that is still $30 that I can use elsewhere. I could invest it, put it toward a future vacation, or use it to pay down some debts. Whatever the case may be, I just increased my purchasing power without doing anything dramatic.
Have you found yourself a deal recently? Tell me about it in the comment area below!
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.