FPU Week 8: That's Not Good Enough!

We've passed the half-way point in the class and better than 3/4 are set to graduate. All in all, we've had very good attendance. Looking forward, we're planning a class in the fall. We have to look at the calendar, but the goal is to get a class in before the holiday season, then start again in 2010 with a 'New Year's Resolution" class.

The wild card is the teen class, Generation Change. As the folks in our class see more and more progress, we get more and more questions about facilitation the teen class in our church. We may have a plan to get it going, but still have to work out some details before announcing anything.

The week 8 class is all about Buying. Big. Bargains. So much talk about personal finance these days talks about spending less, buy less, save more, stop shopping..... which is fine. All valid discussions. But Dave Ramsey knows that sooner or later, you'll be buying something - furniture, electronics, appliances, clothing, food, lawn and garden products - and you need to know how to get a deal on that purchase. Be it large or small.

In the lesson, Dave gives three keys to getting a big bargain. Now he also gives lots of other information on this subject for which I recommend you find a class near you. But for now, here are the three keys.

  1. Learn to negotiate everything - In other cultures, negotiating is assumed. Here, it is nearly taboo. Stop assuming that you are going to pay retail for everything and start looking for deals - They're out there. Sometimes you just have to ask.
  2. You must have patience - If this were easy, then everyone would do it. Sometimes finding a place willing to work on the price or the negotiation itself will take time. That's ok. Take your time - take the salesman's time. One of you is going to fold.
  3. You must know where to find deals - Dave gives the example of hunting for crawdads in a creek. Given a little experience, you'll know which rocks are setting just right to have one underneath, and which ones won't.
Now a quick example of this in action. The Mrs. has been overhauling her garden which has meant lots of projects for me. We've leveled and measured the garden. Added raised beds and walking paths in between. Lots of info for another post. Those beds, btw, don't fill themselves. And though I've been waiting for that dead tree out front to burst into mulch, it hasn't happened yet. So we needed truckloads of soil, aged manure, and compost. Not to mention the truckloads of mulch for the paths in between. Did I mention that our garden is over 3000 square feet?

The Mrs. started with Craigslist and Freecycle, eventually finding someone looking to move large amounts of aged horse manure, as well as someone willing to load it. Several calls and a few days later, she did. 20 bucks and a day of shoveling and we were well on our way.

The Mrs. had also heard that home improvement stores discount torn bags in the garden center. Could this be true? With the two big dogs in town and another not far away, we were going to find out.
  • Home Depot - After being somewhat mislead by one associate, another who clearly knew what she was talking about, informed us that they "used to do that, but quit." Now they won't discount them unless there are no 'good' bags left. They had enough 'good' bags to last all summer. We took our cash and promptly left.
  • Lowes - Lowes absolutely does this. Not only will they discount the damaged bags that you collect from the garden center, but the also have palates of them outside the garden center. All 50% off! We've hit it twice with plans to return.
  • Menards - We have a guy at Menards that we typically work with. He was overjoyed when we asked about discounted bags. The 'bargain bin' is the bain of his existance his responsibility, and willing to slash prices to get it to move. We bought a pickup truck load - well below half-price.
So what did we really do here? We wanted/needed a deal, so we ASKED. We had the patience to hunt for the deals and wait while clerks confirmed store policies with their managers. Now, with a bit of experience, we know where to go and who to talk to.

This may seem small, but we've saved hundreds already. We're dying to know: What was the last big bargain you negotiated?


Angie said...

It's not any 50% off like your deal, but when I was looking for a china hutch a couple of months ago I fell in love with one at a used furniture store. After eyeing it for almost 2 months, I asked if they could lower the price because I knew it had been there for a while. He knocked 10% off the price which allowed me to buy it under budget.

Thanks for the info about Lowe's damaged bags. That will come in very handy as I (slowly) expand the size of my garden.

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