Intelligent shoppers buy value to save huge amounts of money. Less sophisticated shoppers buy based on price.
Do you ever find it odd that once a new car’s tires hit the road outside the car lot that the value drops immediately? What changed? It’s the same car. The miles are the same. It doesn’t even need an oil change yet, but if you wanted to buy it used from a third party, it would be thousands cheaper.
What happened to the value?
I’m proposing that the full value was never actually there, only the perception of value. Here’s another example: I went to buy a nail gun from a guy on craigslist. I showed up and he was an average, younger dude. The guy was selling it for $30. It was still in the box. He even had the receipt. It had just been bought it just three months earlier and he told me that he had barely used it.
He paid $120 (It was a cheaper model) but he was literally selling it to me for 75% off. A light bulb went on in my head as I suddenly learned the real resale value of most items is less than half of the new price.
How to Save Money on All of Your Big Purchases
Since I’m not even a haggler, I don’t usually try to chip away at the price with the seller. Sometimes, I’ll simply submit an offer online and then offer to pick it up at their convenience.
It’s really that simple. So why do people insist on driving to the store where they’ll pay the highest price? They could literally have someone meet them in the parking lot of that same store for 75% off!
It’s the perception of value, fear of uncertainty, comfort of a familiar system, and it’s the entire point of marketing. Manufacturers create a perceived value that is 3-20 times higher than their cost to produce the item, and then simply tell people what the item is worth. For most items people believe them, simply because it’s weird to stop and say, ‘Will this even be worth this amount in one year?’
There’s nothing wrong with someone making a profit, but there’s also nothing wrong with someone getting a great deal!
11 time-tested ways to save your hard earned cash
Below is a list of 11, time-tested ways to save your hard earned cash and still buy some things you want/need.
Before you read the list below, I should say that there are TWO basic strategies for getting the deal. You can either be fast, that is, try to be the first one to the deal, OR you can be patient and play the waiting game.
Someone who wants $50 for an item will probably take an offer of $30 if it’s been a month and they haven’t been able to sell it. Especially if you make it easy for them. Be polite, offer to pick up around their schedule, etc. This is the method I prefer because it’s more appropriate for most items.
Hot deals on electronics, phones, cars, and such often times are better suited for the quick draw school of bargain hunting. Get there first as soon as the person will be available! Call them don’t email them, but still be polite and accommodating. If it’s the type of thing that sells everyday you’ll have a harder time getting it for less. If it’s a bed frame or armoire, it’s probably going to be sitting a lot longer since the market is flooded with items like these.
Here are the best strategies I’ve used to save big on everyday items:
1) Thrift Stores!
Before you turn your nose up, go to a few and check it out. It only takes one good store to save you hundreds of dollars in a single visit. Many thrift stores simply carry overpriced junk, but many others carry awesome gems that they are practically giving away. I’ve literally stuffed bags full of modern, name-brand shirts, pants, jackets, and shoes, and walked out feeling like I robbed the place. Be patient and enjoy the process. Some days you won’t find anything; others you’ll find the cheapest deals around, simply because there’s a class stigma attached to “thrift stores”. Don’t get sucked into this mindset.
2) Craigslist and offerup.com
For most day to day items, there are not as many people looking for them as you would think. Not even in the city of five-million people where I live. I’ve responded to 30-day-old ads only to find that, you guessed it, it’s still available and the seller just wants it gone.
3) Ebay (used, best offers)
You can filter results to show only listings that will accept best offers. Ebay listings are often sitting on there for months. Over time, many sellers mentally lower the price they’re willing to accept on that jacket that they bought last winter. Submit an offer and see what they say.
4) Used Building-Supply Stores.
Did I mention that I once remodeled my kitchen cabinets for $24? That’s not a typo. I dug through a selection of high-quality cabinet doors until I found some that matched my measurements. They were $1 each. The hinges were included. I took my time and painted them to match the color I wanted. The spray paint and primer were an additional $12. All-in-all it was a huge improvement, especially when you consider the price.
5) Liquidation Stores
Have you ever returned an item that you opened or took out of the box? Ever wonder where stuff like that goes? Well often times stores will simply put it on a pallet along with 300 other returned items and sell it to a liquidation store. The liquidation store them sells it to you for 50-70% off. Just take an extra minute to inspect the thing you’re buying. Most places will let you test electronic items before buying.
6) Amazon – Look under the used section as well.
Occasionally on amazon, the buy button price is not the lowest, especially if you’re okay with having a used version. Select “all offers” and see if there is a hefty chunk of cash you can save.
7) Yard Sales
I’m convinced that a lot of the time, people’s primary motivation for having a yard sale is not to make money, but to get stuff they no longer want out of their garages. Some of the best deals you’ll ever get are the ones with the least amount of advertising, and a yard sale is no exception. Find one where the person selling isn’t emotionally attached to letting go of their items, offer them a bulk price on several items, and try to ignore the guilt that sometimes accompanies a deal so good it feels like stealing.
8) Helping Friends Move.
I’m not saying this should be your primary motivation for helping out a friend, but there are usually a few items that they want gone and are happy to give the person who helped them move all day. It’s a win/win situation.
9) Rent One-Time-Use Tools Instead of Buying
Your local home store (Home Depot) rents things you may have thought you had to buy, from nail guns to chainsaws. If you’re only going to use it once, see if it doesn’t make sense to just rent it once. You could also try borrowing one from a friend.
10) Ebay Coupons.
This might not be the first place you think of when you search for coupons, but eBay is definitely one of the easiest places to find coupons for just about everything. On your next big purchase, consider taking five minutes to search eBay to see if you can save some money.
11) Buy Discounted Gift Cards on Craigslist.
A few years ago, I needed to buy an expensive plane ticket. I found a guy on craigslist who had won an airline gift card worth $1000. He had agreed to sell it to me for $650. Then I realized that I could get the same type of deal like this on Home Depot cards, Target cards, or whatever. One word of caution on deals like this. There are scammers out there, so verify the amount on the card first by calling it into the company, or just meet at the parking lot of the store the card is issued by and go in together to verify the amount. Do that and you can easily save 25% on top of any discounts the store is already offering.