Bargain Hunting

I’ve always tried my best to stretch my dollars. There are many items that I get in the course of life that I’m thankful for that don’t cost me much in terms of dollars- as I provide value in terms of writing reviews or interviewing bands for the music I receive. Tonight while shopping at a book store for instance my wife found a great bargain on a 300 page journal book. Normally priced at $16, it originally had a 50% off sticker. Imagine my surprise when the actually price came up at the register as $4- a 75% off deal!

What are some items I’m willing to pay full price on my life versus looking for deals? I know when it comes to my music purchases, I do enjoy the browsing aspect of going to actual record stores. The drawback will be the prices these retailers charge in comparison to online or mail order companies that can buy titles in bulk and afford to pass on their lower prices to the consumers. I’ve learned that my local music store usually puts a lot of the independent albums I seek on sale the first week these releases hit the shelves, so I plan my fun budget accordingly and also pay close attention to release dates to know I can get the most bang for my dollar. You may think- what’s the difference in paying $14-$16 for a full CD a week later versus the $10-$12 now? Over the course of a year this probably allows me to buy an extra 12-15 CD’s.

Books- I have a membership card to Barnes and Noble. The discounts help me when it comes to newer releases, and I also tend to look at the remainder aisles where they will often put 2-3 year old books out for 75% off the cover price. To me a used book will contain the same information as a new book- so scouring amazon.com has also helped me save hundreds of dollars through the years.

Bowling equipment- when I was building my equipment for tournaments, finding gently used equipment that I could re-plug and re-drill saved me 40-50% off of new equipment costs. Some of this equipment helped me win tournament money and also roll some serious honor scores, so I believe you can get some good deals out there. You have to find dealers and people you can trust, get accurate pictures of the equipment so you can make the best decisions and a willingness to research as much as you can about the bowling balls you desire.

Clothes- I look for sales at outlets like TJ Maxx, JCPenney’s and I also feel lucky that we have a series of gentle worn second hand outlets called Savers that you can get some really good deals on. Clothing is one of those areas where I try to get the best quality fabrics for the more reasonable price. You can always buy the cheapest pants and shirts, but if they only last 4-5 washes and you have to replace them, in essence you’ve wasted money.

Food- I’m willing to pay more for organic products. My health matters to me, so I also strive to get the best I can with vitamins and supplements. My wife and I will browse the circulars from week to week, see which stores have the items we desire on sale and stock up on non-perishables if we can.

Automotive repair- I’m willing to pay for good service, the hardest part through the years has been finding someone I trust. I would say in 20+ years of having cars, I’ve only trusted 2 mechanics… and sitting at 10% with my trustworthiness rating isn’t cool in my book. Luckily my current mechanic is one of the two good service mechanics I’ve encountered in my lifetime, so I plan on staying with him. He give me estimates, explains everything in full detail, gives me time frames that are fair and makes me feel like I have the final say on what happens to my vehicles.

So there you have a little insight into my purchasing mannerisms. What are you willing to pay full price for and what do you search around for the best deal on? What factors into your purchasing decisions? I would love your feedback on this one…

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