Frugal Living 

There Is Always A Deal

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Barcelona Produce MarketI bet you work hard for the dollars in your wallet, I know I do. You don’t spend hours away from your family or your favorite pursuits because you like work more than them, you do it because works pays you money so that you can support yourself and yours and do the things you want to do with your free time. I’m the same way. That’s why whenever I do the paying, I make sure I get the most out of the purchase. I believe there is always a deal to be made and those deals have saved me many hours of work in the process.

I believe that whenever you make a purchase of any kind, there is always a deal to be made or found.

Why Look For A Deal?

I think part of the reason is my upbringing. My parents were frugal because they valued being able to fly us all home to Taiwan, from New York, as often as possible to visit our family there. Airfare for a family of four to the other side of the globe is very expensive. We found deals because without a deal, we couldn’t afford to do many of the other things we valued more.

Another reason I look for deals is because it validates how badly I want something. Let’s say it’s a piece of electronic equipment. I will do hours of research to make sure I get the best product for the best price from the most reputable dealer. If I’m not willing to do the work, how badly do I want it? If I don’t want it that badly, then I shouldn’t be buying it in the first place.

Finally, it’s a challenge! MSRP stands for manufacturer’s suggested retail price. When I see MSRP I smile because in that number I see a challenge. There is always a sale, always a coupon, always a vendor willing to sell it for less… there is always a deal out there and the fun is in finding it. Maybe you find a $10 off $100 coupon, couple it with a rebate and find some pencils to get you over the $100 hump. Maybe you find a manufacturer’s rebate and a vendor rebate to get it to you for free. Maybe you find a rebranded version that is identical except for the logo… there are so many possibilities!

Turn Deal Hunting Into A Game

Deal hunting on the internet is a lot easier than deal hunting in person. The art of negotiation is invaluable whenever you are dealing with a person face to face. If you don’t think this happens often, think again. While you might not negotiate with a clerk at a retail store very often, you do whenever you get someone to give you a quote for work on your house or car.

The one lesson you have to learn, above any other negotiation lesson is that there is always a deal. Always. Whether it’s through a coupon or through negotiation, the list price is just where the game starts. Read the rules of what makes Indians successful negotiators and try to remember them. Rule #2 is my favorite – “Try for 70% off — Don’t accept less than 30%.” What is more awkward, overpaying or negotiating a little?

You’ll find that you can save a ton of money just by following a couple of the seven rules on Ferriss’ list and remembering there is always a deal.

(Photo: jasmic)

{ 14 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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14 Responses to “There Is Always A Deal”

  1. Julio says:

    I make it a point to always search for the best ‘deal’ and the internet makes it so easy to find the best product at the best price, even when you don’t intent to buy it online. One of my favorite sites to search out deals is This site does the ‘hunting’ for you and then shows you the best deals, even when factoring in tax and shipping. A nice feature of the site is that is shows you a historical snapshot of the price for the item you are looking for, so you can see the price trends. And if you register, you can even have the site email you when the item you want hits your target price. Check it out..

  2. Anonymous says:

    I am also a bargain hunter, and I often don’t buy something if I can’t get some kind of sale on it. But, while I find it fun to shop online and search for the best deal, I try to remind myself that it is probably not the best use of my time. Marketers understand our preference for sales, and they know how to take advantage of it. I’m undecided about whether it’s better to look for something quality that you’re willing to pay full price for, or to always look for “the deal.”

  3. In the Money says:

    I totally agree, I love negotiating for a deal and there is always someone out there willing to give it to you. I always like to go into a negotiation with the mentality that I don’t necessarily need the item. It helps me to easily walk away if I don’t get the deal I want. I actually find it really fun and a challenge to try to get the best deal possible.

  4. Deal-hunting as a ‘game’ makes sense to me. Sometimes the savings are so small, it’s not worth the time or effort.

    But if you consider it a game that can be ‘won’ – then playing the game makes the search enjoyable.

  5. I think deal-hunting, with the premise of “this deal is too good to pass up”, can become a dangerous game to play. I got myself in huge amount of debt by buying all sorts of stuff from land, condo, cars, stuff of eBay, etc. Even though they were all sweet buys, I would get desperate when the bills came piling in, and would sell them off at a loss. I think it’s wise to remember that there is always a deal and not over extend yourself just to grab the “best” deal.

  6. zapeta says:

    Thank you for the link to the rules on what makes Indians successful negotiators. Very handy for striking a bargain!

  7. eric says:

    I thought that Indian bit was for sure written by Ramit…lol 😀

  8. Great post!

    Sometimes the deal is only there for those who ask! There is a pizza place near us that charges $9.99 for a large (a really good deal for really good pizza), but if you mention the “coupon” price you get it for $6.99 Mon-Thu.

    Itnever hurts to ask . . .

  9. Patrick says:

    I rarely pay retail price for anything I buy. There is always a deal to be had and just takes a little bit of research and patience. It’s fairly easy to negotiate a better price when buying large purchases like cars or mattresses.

  10. I think I have taken the game mentality to finding a great deal a little too far in the past. I’ve definitely purchased things simply because the deal was just too great to pass up. Unfortunately all those “great deals” have cost me quite a bit.

  11. Gwen Jones says:

    Great post. The savings add up and, as an earlier commenter said, it never hurts to ask. They can only say no. –Gwen

  12. Chris says:

    I turned buying anything into a game of sorts. I must find someway of getting a discount or I will not buy it, or at least delay it.

  13. hoht says:

    Gotta agree with Chris, makes it a lot more interesting.

  14. lglique says:

    I don’t approach bargain hunting as a “game” I approach it with the same dedication I did my former job with UPS. I rarely pay anything approaching MSRP or “full” price. I have saved more money staying home with this mentality than I made working. Absolutely everything including your mortgage, insurance and daily bills CAN be pared down with NO loss of “lifestyle” if you approach it correctly. I spend about 20 hours per week looking for deals. Certainly less time than I spent working and it has increased our “spendable cash” on the monthly average of 18% ( this is the 2011 figure so far. Yes I track expenses so I can verify). I basically paid my own salary by staying home and bargain hunting. It can be done if you actually work at it as opposed to treating it like a game.

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