10 Things You Should Never Pay Full Price For
A guest post from Christian PF today:
Usually there’s no such thing as a free lunch, but that doesn’t mean there’s no such thing as a lunch discount. There are a number of things that people tend to pay full price for, but in reality they could get those same items for free or at a greatly reduced price, without having to sacrifice quality. Here are ten things you should have to pay full price for, if you play your cards right.
There’s this really interesting invention you may have heard of – it’s called the library. If you’re a bibliophile, stop paying for deforestation and big-box bookstore marketing schemes. Instead, dust off your library card and rediscover your local public library. At the very least, take advantage of used bookstores, or the used books you can find online at sites such as Amazon and eBay.
2. Cell phones.
If you’re happy with your cell phone provider and want to upgrade your phone, wait until your contract expires and then watch the free phone deals roll in. To keep you as a customer, cell phone providers are very happy to offer you a pretty darn good phone for free or at a deeply discounted rate. All you need to have is a little patience.
If you’re a shop-aholic clothes lover, you can find great deals where you’d least expect it. For starters, thrift shops in classy neighborhoods often receive donations of barely worn designer clothes. By honing your bargain-finding radar, you can often find these gems stuffed in amongst the other faded, sat-in-the-basement-forever thrift store items.
Collect movies? You can have a guilt-free addiction by hitting up yard sales. Usually, DVDs that would normally cost you $10 – $15 can be found at a yard sale for just a buck or two. You might also check your video rental store as they sell what were only recently hot new releases for bargain-bin prices.
This fifth point goes back to those free lunches mentioned at the beginning. During the spring and summer months, hit up local farmers’ markets to get amazing prices on fresh, local produce. What you would pay $5 for in a grocery store will cost only a fraction of the price at the farmers’ market. Since some farmers sell in bulk, go with a friend so you can split the costs and the produce.
6. Other food.
Point six isn’t about restaurant coupons or fast food, but about getting old-fashioned with your food. Save money by making it yourself. It doesn’t take as long as you think, and it’s more rewarding, healthier, and less expensive than buying the store-bought variety.
7. Computers and accessories.
There are a few times per year when a new computer or a computer accessory will go on sale: during the back-to-school months of August, the post-Thanksgiving months, and the whoops-we-stocked-too-many post-Christmas month. Depending upon how retail sales are going, you can often get 30 – 50% discounts on computers, printers, and similar items. I recently took advantage of the back-to-school sales and picked up a one of the best 13 inch laptops I could find at a very nice discount.
Hopefully you already know this about cars – especially used cars: those car salesmen want to make a deal with you. They have no real expectation that you will pay the sticker price for a new or used car, so you shouldn’t have that expectation, either. Do your homework on the car you want to buy, so that you can say with some authority, “That car isn’t worth that much”, then watch the car salesman scramble to offer you a better price.
Although you may be turned off by “sticker shock” when it comes to college prices, don’t be. In fact, private schools these days are offering up to 53.5% off their posted tuition price. Many universities – public and private – make a variety of grants (not loans) and scholarships available to their students. The federal government, too, offers grants for college. Some states, such as Georgia, try to keep their high-achieving high school students at state universities by funding all or part of their higher education. If you have a high school aged kid, ever considered relocating to Atlanta?
Whatever else you spend money on, try not to spend money on fun. Public parks, hiking trails, picnics, and pick-up games are still free. Even if you want something a little more high-brow, many city art museums and science museums offer access to their exhibits for free certain days of the week, or by donation. Take advantage of these programs, and don’t spend more money than you need to while having a nice time.
This article is from Bob who writes for ChristianPF – a personal finance blog from a Christian perspective.