Personal Finances: How much are you letting slip through the cracks?IB
I'm a frugal guy, and I'm addicted to getting a good deal. I can't say I cut coupons, exactly, but I've always wondered how much money you can save doing so. I do spend a few minutes a day checking various deal sites to see if there's anything I want, and I rarely make a big purchase (let's say over $200) without making sure that I am not getting ripped off.
Just the other day I picked up a subscription to The Economist for $40 for an entire year, an absolutely stellar buy given that the student rate is a whopping $99. Love getting extra value for my $.
But more and more frequently, I am amazed at the fact that people often pay full-price for items without batting an eye. I know people who buy the $4.99 version of The Economist at Barnes & Noble every single week and for whatever crazy reason will not spring for a subscription even though it's $150 a year list-price.
When I was in college, I was living on a budget, just like everyone else. I had a few campus jobs and good financial aid, so I generally had a good bit of disposable cash, but my checking account didn't really contain anything noteworthy. Often times, I would go shopping with some friends -- maybe to pick up some clothes, for example -- and I was always that guy who would try a few things on, think about it for a few minutes, and remember that I could get the same pair of jeans or shoes from a discount retailer online for half the price. Why on earth would I pay double? Beats me, but so many people do!
One friend I have in particular, who mind you does not come from a wealthy family by any stretch of the imagination, goes to Saks to buy jeans and is perfectly comfortable paying $200 for an item that can be bought online for $70. Maybe there is some inherent prestige with shopping at a place like Saks, but I'll be damned if I ever pay a premium that large to walk through the check-out area and "feel" like I'm a boss because I'm at a store like Saks buying some exorbitantly overpriced items.
Even when I was making a lot of money in the software business, I still always hunted for the best possible deal. It didn't take much time or effort, and it did save me a lot of money on a lot of different items. No matter how I try to rationalize it, I simply cannot understand why people overpay for items, yet there are always a thousand people at the Apple store and the Ralph Lauren store is always completely packed -- do any of these people know that you can buy all their crap online for less? Do they just not care?
Some of you guys out there make a lot of money. Do you watch your spending? Do you look for better deals when you're in the market for a particular item? Or is it simply more convenient to pay whatever price you find first, and then go on about your business?
"An intellectual is a man who takes more words than necessary to tell more than he knows."
- Dwight D. Eisenhower