lowest price http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/1728/all en-US Ruthless Frugality http://www.wisebread.com/ruthless-frugality <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ruthless-frugality" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/arctic-mountains.jpg" alt="Arctic Mountains" title="Arctic Mountains" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are many strategies for frugality: Don't buy stuff you don't need. Stock up when you get a good price. Make smart decisions about when to pay up for quality and when to get the cheap stuff. Then there's what I call ruthless frugality: Always getting the best price.</p> <p>I'm not talking about stupid frugality &mdash; buying the cheapest shoes you can find even though they hurt your feet. Nor am I talking about shopping around, using coupons, and so on. Rather, I'm talking about getting the best price you can <strong>without regard for what's behind the great price</strong>.</p> <p>At the extreme, of course, there's criminal frugality &mdash; buying stolen goods and pretending to believe that they fell off the back of a truck. But short of that, there are all sorts of things that enter the general stream of commerce at prices that embed lots of bad practices &mdash; stuff made in sweatshops by children or prisoners or slaves, stuff made in ways that poison the workers or trash the environment.</p> <p>Most people delegate to the government the job of policing how things are produced. There are, for example, laws about how farm animals have to be treated, and most people hope that those laws are strict enough that the food produced is safe and the animals' suffering is minimized.</p> <p>But it's worth thinking about the costs of ruthless frugality. One good reason to pay more than you need to is to be a good neighbor, such as by buying locally. Patronizing local shops often costs more, but part of the reason the big box stores are cheaper is because they've got competition. Let all the local stores die and you can expect to see prices rise at the chain stores. More important, money spent in local stores tends to stay in town &mdash; possibly getting spent on stuff that you make or services that you provide. Perhaps more important yet, local production is often more ethical and more sustainable.</p> <p>I talk about voluntary simplicity as being an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/voluntary-simplicity-as-hedonism">essentially hedonistic lifestyle</a>, because a high overall level of frugality frees up resources that can go to those specific areas of your life where paying more makes a difference that matters to you. The upside of frugality is more of what you care about.</p> <p>I think a little hedonism is great, when it is enabled by thoughtful choices about priorities. But I think a similar amount of thinking ought to go into where really cheap stuff comes from &mdash; and whether your values can support the ruthlessness built into the price.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ruthless-frugality" class="sharethis-link" title="Ruthless Frugality " rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Frugal Living frugality lowest price Fri, 22 Jan 2010 14:00:04 +0000 Philip Brewer 4785 at http://www.wisebread.com How I Got Over My Haggling Hatred http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-got-over-my-haggling-hatred <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/haggle_small.jpg" alt=" " width="270" height="150" /></p> <p>I used to really hate haggling. That vain, self-conscious part of me that doesn&#39;t want to appear cheap, or worse, <em>stingy</em>, has always had an aversion to haggling. As I&#39;ve gotten older, though, I&#39;ve come to realize that it&#39;s a necessary evil, and who doesn&#39;t love a little bit of evil?</p> <p>A few years ago, I briefly dated a young man from Kenya. Because he looked like a bit of a beach bum with his dreadlocks and baggy pants and silver earrings, he got away with bargaining in places that I wouldn&#39;t THINK of bargaining. Like electronics shops, or bakeries. The guy had no shame! He would never hesitate to ask for an additional 20% off of anything - and he almost always got at least 10% off. He was like a discount savvy pirate, and I HATED shopping with him because of it.</p> <p>But I eventually saw the light. After living in China, <a href="http://www.beijingtraveltips.com/tips/shopping_1/bargaining_howto.htm">where you bargain for EVERYTHING</a>, from crisps to coats, I&#39;ve found that bargaining has lost some of its stigma. First of all, I had to get over my shame of appearing cheap, which meant that I had to GET OVER MYSELF. Hard to do, when you&#39;re vain and thin-skinned, but it helps. Second, I learned that no one was going to lose money on me, the customer. Salespeople, no matter what they say, are not going to pay out of their pocket to give you a good deal (and if they do, it&#39;s time they found a new job). Lastly, I learned to be really nice. This is hard for me, because I&#39;m naturally kind of... well, not snobby, exactly, but I&#39;m just not the smiley type. But a smile and some kindness really go a long way in life, and if you&#39;re like me and you have to ration your friendliness, you might as well use it when you can save a buck or two.</p> <p>Go ahead, call me a cynic.</p> <p>Asking for additional discounts isn&#39;t easy at first, because no one wants to be the <a href="http://www.craigslist.org/about/best/nyc/118154762.html">subject of a craigslist rant</a>, but really, it never hurts to ask. I&#39;m not suggesting you really dig in your heels with your babysitter or the kid that mows your lawn, but businesses that care to cultivate good customer relationships will be willing to make a deal. It&#39;s cheaper for a business to turn you into a repeat customer than it is for them to gain new customers, so remember that your patronage is highly sought-after.</p> <p>I recently had to put my bargaining skills to the test when purchasing Pergo floors for my basement - and it worked! I saved $200 by simply being firm in my price range and very friendly. There&#39;s always a little wiggle room, so give it a shot! The worst that can happen is the salesperson saying &quot;No&quot;, right?</p> <h4>Tips for Haggling</h4> <p>The basic rundown goes like this: Be polite, but firm. Don&#39;t be ashamed. Don&#39;t flash any bling. </p> <p><a href="http://www.howtohaggle.com/">Howtohaggle.com</a> gives you a simple breakdown of why you can and should haggle, and simple mistakes to avoid.</p> <p><a href="http://nymag.com/nymetro/shopping/sales/salesguide/15553/">New York Magazine</a> gives you the most basic list of bargaining &quot;Do&#39;s&quot;.</p> <p>Lifehacker recently linked to a <a href="http://www.rd.com/content/openContent.do?contentId=15096">good article through Reader&#39;s Digest</a>. </p> <p>Bankrate.com has an <a href="http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/special/19991001.asp">oddly mixed haggling article</a> for both buyers and sellers, mostly pertaining to houses. I&#39;ve often used the &quot;Invoke a Higher Power&quot; tactic when bargaining, and I dig that salespeople are encouraged to &quot;flinch&quot; whenever you make an offer. </p> <p>Get Rich Slowly has <a href="http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2006/07/11/how-to-save-money-by-haggling/">some good haggling tips</a>, as well, and ones that I employ include being polite, shopping at the end of the month, and not being afraid to walk away.</p> <p><a href="http://www.askmen.com/fashion/how_to/12_how_to.html">AskMen.com</a> points out that you can ALWAYS get an article of clothing cheaper if there is something slightly wrong with it. Defective details mean an automatic 10-20% off of an article of clothing at my local Target.</p> <p>Real Simple reminds you that there&#39;s <a href="http://www.realsimple.com/realsimple/content/organize/0,21770,681054,00.html">nothing wrong with bargaining at a tag sale</a> (garage/yard sale).</p> <p>If you really want to go hardcore, there&#39;s always something to be learned from Haggle Gran.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-got-over-my-haggling-hatred" class="sharethis-link" title="How I Got Over My Haggling Hatred" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping ask bargain cheapskate competitors customer service discount haggle haggling lowest price price Mon, 05 Mar 2007 20:38:36 +0000 Andrea Karim 322 at http://www.wisebread.com