Lessons from Grandma: Shopping Around

Hello Readers and Happy Valentine’s Day!  I hope the day goes off without a hitch for many of you and that your families have a great day.  I know many of you are eager to learn of my own grandmother’s situation following her mastectomy yesterday, and I will discuss it on Friday.  But for now, and since I have Grandma on the mind, let’s talk about some of the lessons from my grandma.

Now, I had two grandmothers I was very close to during my childhood: Grandma Lee and Nammi.  Grandma Lee was my step dad’s mother, and she was born back east in 1923 to a well-to-do family.  Her father was a banker, and they lived a very rich lifestyle until the Great Depression of the 1930’s when they lost it all.  My other grandmother, Nammi, was born in 1935 in Montrose, Colorado, near her own grandmother’s farm.  Her family was not very well off: her maternal grandparents were farmers-her grandpa a poor Irishman and her grandma a Boston Blueblood that had been cast out after marrying an Irishman.  Nammi’s mother, Grandma Jo, had only been married to her third husband-a Mr. Williams-for a couple of years before Nammi’s birth, and they divorced a couple of years after she was born.  And Mr. Williams moved on, and he was never a part of Nammi’s life.

Grandma Jo married her fourth husband, Mr. C, when he was in Grand Junction with his pharmacy, before they moved to Reno, Nevada, and then eventually to my hometown in northeast Nevada.  However, they didn’t marry until Nammi was nearly ten, and by then she had picked up a lot of Depression-era tips and tricks from her poor grandparents and, then, single mom.  And many of those tips became lifelong habits that have influence me in my life.  One of those tips was to shop around.

Now, I know a lot of us like to think we are money-savvy people.  We read a lot of blog posts and lists of what to buy and where.  And these are great tips to save some money.  But we often can suffer from still spending too much because we tend to suffer from impatience.  We live in a very high tech world where anything can be purchased online and mailed directly to your front door, and you can even have it there the next day!  We are all extremely privileged for having this convenience in our lives, and we pay for it.  If we don’t pay monetarily for our goods, we have to pay another way.  And that other way is with our time.

Now, you know that I am starting to give you tips each month on what’s on sale that month.  I explain what produce is in season, and I also include an area to tell you what sales may be occurring, what goods are about to lower in price, or what clearance goods to stock up on.  Most of you probably go to the big sales like the one we should have this coming weekend for President’s Day, but you probably ignore other sales on goods during down times and whatnot.  But this can actually be harmful to your pocket.  Allow me to explain using myself as an example.

Now, our apartment complex doesn’t provide us with a washer and dryer in our apartment, but there are connections for our own devices if we want them.  When we moved in we didn’t have any appliances, but we had a family member with a set in storage that they gave to us.  It was an older set, but it was still very functional.  However, our dryer has been having issues lately, and we know we will need a new one soon.  So, I do have a couple of options available to me to get a better deal.  First, I can try during the President’s Day Sales to get a good deal on a new dryer or a new set.  I can hold out for the Memorial Day sales in May for a possibly better deal.  I can try for July-a common sales month-to score a good deal.  Or I could wait until October when home appliances are typically priced at their lowest point.  Or, I could even hold out for November and the Black Friday sales.  For me, two sales look the most promising: Memorial Day sales or October.

That may sound crazy to you to wait almost a year for a good deal, but I do have a reason for this and for choosing dates later than other ones.  First of all, my current set works although our dryer is getting down to its last leg.  However, I know that it will still work for at least six months, possibly even for another year.  And while we have done some repairs to it, we know it’s nearing the end of its lifetime.  So, I don’t need to rush down to Sears for a new set next week.  Secondly, choosing a date like late May, which is three and a half months away, gives me time to save up some cash for a new set.  This means that in May I can walk into Sears and offer them cash for a new set, possibly getting a discount or bartering for a lower price than what’s advertised, and I won’t have any payments to make.  No creditor.  No hassle.  Just pay for it in cash and leave.  This will ensure that I get a basic model or slightly upgraded one for a good price.

But, if I want that higher end model, shooting for October is my best bet.  That gives me about eight months to save up for a set.  If I save two hundred dollars a month from now until then, or one hundred per paycheck, I can walk into Sears and buy a high end set with cash.  To add to that, I could probably knock off a couple hundred from that price tag.  So, a set that would cost me $1,600.00 plus interest and tax could wind up costing me close to $1,200 in less than a year.  That’s a difference of $400 and then some.  So, my time and patience will have paid off, and I could get a nicer set than what I can get today.

This logic applies with everything.  I often watch products that I want for weeks or months to get the best price.  Not only do I score on some great deals, I also avoid impulse buying because I will often choose to not buy something after a couple of weeks.  So, I highly recommend that you shop around, be patient, and wait for the deals to come to you.  After all, you can’t go wrong with lessons from Grandma!

Until next time,

-BBM

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