We live in the most materialistic age ever on planet Earth, and it just keeps getting worse. If you like spending money hand over fist, to accumulate stuff to keep up with the Joneses, then probably you don't have to think about deals and bargains. But if you don't particularly like spending money, take heart - there are always bargains to be found, and great deals to be had, as long as you know, how and where to look.
First, do your homework and find out as much as you can about the object, that you're in the market for. Before you can spot a good deal on something, you have to know the ongoing rate for it in the marketplace, and if there are different versions of it, you need to know what is it exactly that you want.
Sometimes being willing to sacrifice or compromise, can result in forking over less money for pretty much the same amount of enjoyment. Thanks to the Internet, the competition for buyers has become particularly intense, and with the wealth of information available online, it becomes all the more difficult for him to choose.
The ever-increasing array of online stores still startles some people, because pretty much anything you can buy locally can also be found online, and usually cheaper. But some items are harder to buy online, such as clothing and shoes, and online stores don't have markdown racks at the end of every season.
Clothing always runs in cycles, so you can get bargains on clothing at the local shop, just as the season ends. And for women's clothing in particular, buying locally can be thriftier than buying online, depending on where you shop. Because women tend to change out their clothing much more often than men, thrift stores and consignment shops are always stocked with trendy, well-preserved clothing for a fraction of what new outfits cost.
Vacations may seem daunting because of the inherent costs of entertainment away from home, and especially now that prices at the pump continue to go up. One of the nation's foremost experts on penny-pinching, talk radio host Clark Howard, says that the ever-increasing price of gasoline doesn't mean you have to forgo a vacation altogether.
Howard, known as the "shoestring millionaire," once spotted a deal for a $10 ticket to Washington, D.C. and snatched it up. Even though he had no plans to visit the nation's capital, he saw a bargain and grabbed it, then started planning what to do once he got there. "My rule is simple", Howard says. "Never pick the destination. Buy the bargain and then figure out why you want to go to that place."
For regular household items, don't hesitate to check out one of those cookie-cutter dollar stores. Some of the items inside may not be to your taste, but many things will serve you just fine for much less than you'd pay at Wal-Mart.
Things like envelopes, paper plates, candies, party items, toys, and disposables are much cheaper in dollar stores. You may be surprised to learn that many such stores also carry nice picture frames, clothing, hardware, kitchen appliances, and even furniture. You have nothing to lose by checking them out, and you might be lucky enough to discover a regular spot to save money.
Finally, be a smart shopper. Just because something is on sale for a great price doesn't mean you have to buy ten of them if you only need one. And with today's gasoline prices, be careful not to be "penny wise and pound foolish," as the old saying goes. If you drive to the other side of town to save 25 cents on a 6-pack of soda, and it takes a gallon of gas to make the drive, then you're spending money, not saving it.
And although the big warehouse stores such as Sam's Club and B.J.'s offer great savings when you buy things in bulk, they also sell items in quantities and sizes that are remarkably different from those sold in other stores. You may need to take a calculator with you and calculate the price per ounce, or per packet/carton/can, to be sure you really are getting a good deal.
Although our society is the most materialistic ever, we also have more choices than ever - and more ways than ever to save money and get a great bargain, on just about anything.