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The Stress of Shopping Around

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We all like to get a good deal and have our money go as far as possible. Especially in these tough economic times, stretching our dollars is a big concern. The problem is that finding the best deal can be very stressful, and since I’m here to help you relieve stress I would like to point out the obvious: the cash price of something is not the total cost.

I used to go to great lengths to make sure I was getting the best deal, especially when it came to buying computer goodies. I would search the Internet for the item, comparing various sites for price INCLUDING tax and shipping. Some sites didn’t charge tax because they were out of state and weren’t required to. Some sites offered free shipping. Sometimes the site with the best price was out of stock and I would have to wait. I spent hours, gnashing my teeth and feeling the pressure caused by the loss of all that time. I finally realized what I was doing and took a minute to figure out what all that time saved me in terms of the final purchase price. It came to about $10.00. Was that the best use of that time? I hope not!! Sure, do some browsing, make a choice, AND MOVE ON!

I used to have a neighbor that was extremely conservative financially. Thrifty. Money conscious. Okay, he was cheap! But what surprised me most was the lengths that he would go to save money. Living in a mountain community, sometimes we have to go down to the flatlands to buy things: 45 minutes each way. He would make that drive to save $5.00. Let's think about that. The gas alone nearly wipes out the savings, not to mention his time.

Here’s the topper: lines of folks waiting to save money on gasoline. I’m sorry, I just don’t get it. Every now and then a gas station will roll back prices or a radio station will do a promotion; the result is a line of cars that goes down the street and around the corner. When interviewed for the local news the drivers are proud to say that they spent 2 hours (or more) in line to save 15 or 20 cents per gallon. TWO HOURS? Think about it: if they purchased 15 gallons and saved 20 cents per gallon, they saved $3.00 by waiting in line.

Add a Comment2 Comments


Thanks for sharing your story.

Over the years, you may indeed have saved a significant amount, but I have to wonder how much it cost you to save that significant amount. You, however, get value out of the hunt, so that price (in terms of time) will be less significant than it would for those of us that hate doing it but feel that we must!

September 10, 2009 - 1:07pm

Ha ha. Right before I read your post I was researching the best price for a mini cheesecake pan. :P

I agree, sometimes the price isn't really that much of a difference but I don't find doing the research stressful at all. As a matter of fact, I sort of get a rush out of finding a better price than the MSRP.
Now, don't get me wrong, I don't obsess over prices for days, weeks, or months for 1 item. But I do it for EVERYTHING. So although it may seem like I only saved $5 on that cheesecake pan, when you add everything I have saved throughout the years, it's a significant amount.

September 10, 2009 - 12:10pm
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