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How to Spot a Real Bargain

by Colleen P Moyne (Colmo) (follow)
I'm a freelance writer living in the beautiful river town of Mannum in SA, dreaming of the day I can retire from the 9-5 to write full time.
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Sale Signs in Shop Window
Image from Wikipedia


When is a bargain not a bargain? No, itís not a riddle, itís a serious question. How do you know when you have bagged yourself a true, money-saving bargain?

Well, the simple answer might be that anytime you find an item you want at a reduced price, you could consider it a bargain.

But the longer answer is this:

If you have thought long and hard about an item before buying it
If you really need or want it
If you canít use something else in its place
If you canít make it, borrow it or trade for it
If you can't purchase it second-hand
If you can find it at a price that is less than anyone else is selling it for
Ė then yes, you have a bargain.

So letís look at an example:

Last year I decided to buy a yoghurt-maker in order to save money.



Sale Signs in Shop Window
image from flicker


It cost me $24 for the maker (not a bad price) and $4.45 for a sachet that makes one kilo of flavoured yoghurt.

Now, if I think about how often I eat yoghurt (100 grams a day or less,) and the fact that I live alone, that means that a kilo of yoghurt would take me at least ten days to get through, and since it only stays fresh and viable for about three days, I was throwing over two-thirds of it away or eating much more than I should.

If I donít count the cost of the yoghurt-maker but count enough sachets to last a month, and if I throw away two thirds of what I make, itís costing me $44.50 for a month to make my own.



Sale Signs in Shop Window
Image from Wikipedia


At Coles© I can buy a 170 gram yoghurt for $2.40 that lasts me two days. That means Iím spending $1.20 per day on fresh yoghurt. In a month I have spent just $36.

The point Iím trying to make here (in my long-winded way) is that by making my own yoghurt I was wasting money Ė and time.



Sale Signs in Shop Window
Image from Wikipedia

Of course if you can find the yoghurt-maker on special and grow your own culture (I couldn't) and if you can get through a kilo in three days, then maybe you have a bargain.

I've made the same mistake with buying bulk fruit on special and having to feed half of it to the chickens or buying a cheap brand of coffee that tasted awful and was thrown out.

So the next time youíre considering a purchase, think carefully first about the dot points listed above.


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