Friday, May 29, 2009

Patience Shall Be Rewarded

There is nothing costlier than instant gratification. Once in a while, you might get lucky and have a killer deal fall in your lap just when you need it, but generally speaking, whenever you go for the quick and easy option, you're probably getting ripped off. There is now a gourmet coffee shop on every corner in most cities, but it's the most expensive way to get your java. Buying concert tickets online and having them mailed to you could cost up to $30 in extra "convenience charges" versus going directly to the venue box office to purchase them. The local pizza shop gladly offers "free delivery", but you will pay full price for that pie, and you'll have to tip the delivery guy, too.

Those are just a few trivial examples of what I'm talking about. I come from a long line of serious bargain hunters, and we can be as patient as a spider in its web, just waiting to pounce when the right opportunity comes along. Eew! Sorry, that's a creepy analogy when I read it back! But hopefully, you get my point. I'll give you a couple more examples.

Last year, I decided to buy myself a really nice keyboard and get serious about playing piano. However, being a full time bassist, I couldn't really justify the $3500 cost of a state-of-the-art new keyboard. Rather than settle for a mediocre new instrument in my price range, I just started scanning the classifieds for a bargain on a great used one. And scanning.....and scanning....and scanning some more. Real bargains don't come along every day, but I had decided on my budget (between $500-$1000), and I was willing to wait. Finally, after a few months of searching, I found exactly the keyboard that I wanted, in excellent condition, for only $800. I already had the cash on hand, and I scooped it up on the same day the ad was posted. Cha-ching! That's $2700 I saved right there.

I have lots of friends who go to new car dealers to trade in their old vehicle and pick up a new car with "no hassle, no haggle". That is the quick and easy way to buy a car. It is also the sucker's way! A dealer will be happy to make your experience quick and painless, as long as he is giving you a lowball price for your trade-in, getting the maximum price for the new car, and probably shaking you down on the financing deal as well. No matter what kind of car you're looking at, you could save thousands of dollars, often $10,000 or more, by holding out for a bargain on a good used, low mileage vehicle of the same model. But you must be willing to wait, wait, wait, and scan, scan, scan. And also be willing to walk away from a lot of deals before finding your bargain.

Be careful not to get stuck in an emergency situation where you must buy that car today because you waited until your old car died on you, or you have to run to the overpriced local music store right before your gig, because you have completely run out of drumsticks. Without a little advance planning, you won't be in a position to hold out for bargains, so plan ahead for purchases. Then sit back and wait for the opportunities to come along.


JAG said...

That's really great advice.

Evan said...

That's good advice, but I think there is such a thing as going too far with watching for deals. You can get to the point where you're combing the classifieds for good deals on things you don't need. Even good deals cost money, so unless you're turning around and flipping what you buy for profit, it's good to exercise some self control.

Chantelle Tibbs said...

This is so true...And you know the saying. "Wealth Is A Long Term Strategy."