Don’t Pay Full Price For Anything

dont pay full price for anything

No one should pay full price for anything these days. There are so many opportunities to save money on items ranging from real estate to dinner. I’ve used Excel to keep track of my monthly expenses for the last several years and recently, I noticed that I receive some kind of discount on every single category except for one. All of these money saving opportunities are available for any consumer to take advantage of.

In the table below, I break down the fair value of each my monthly expenses compared the discounted amount (amount I pay). Afterwards, I will describe how you too can save money on everything.

Housing –> 26%

Housing should be the number one expense for anybody that does not have their home paid off in full. For the last few years, the dismal housing market has provided some fantastic opportunities for people interested in buying a home.

Foreclosures and short sells are so abundant that there’s no reason to buy anything else right now. If you absolutely love the area that a home is in, you can almost guarantee that a foreclosure is available in that same area. Even of you have to put some money into the home to get it just the way you want it, your price will still remain far below market value. Often times, you can find a foreclosure in great condition and no repairs will be required.

HOA –> 52%

Besides the discounted price, the desperation of the seller will enable you to acquire additional benefits covered by the seller such as closing fees or HOA dues.  In my case, I was able to negotiate for the seller to pay closing fees and to cover one full year of HOA dues – a total value of $8,600. In the chart above, I spread this discount out over 5 years (the maximum period I plan on staying in the condo before I rent it out).

Electricity –> 4%

I first glance, I didn’t think I received a discount on my electric bill, but I do after all. The power company has installed peak load regulators on each of my AC units. Their purpose is to prevent the AC units of every home in the area from activating at the same time. The peak usage cap prevents the power company from being forced to increase their capacity in order handle the spike in demand. They pass this savings to the customer and credit me $30 per unit each summer.

Cable / Internet –> 100%

This in an easy category for me because I choose not to have cable. Now, don’t think I’m crazy – I do watch TV. With a digital antenna from a site like Newegg, I can watch 20 channels with popular ones (ABC, NBC, FOX) airing in HD. When I had 500+ channels, I would only watch a few anyways. Netflix is also a great alternative to cable at $7.99 per month for unlimited streaming.

Internet is provided through my HOA, but if it were not, I would still be able to access the web for free. I won’t go into the process here, but you can easily root your cellphone and enable free wi-fi tethering for up to six devices. LTE and 4G speeds have become extremely fast and are adequate enough for a home connection.

Cellphone –>  25%

Through my employer, I receive a volume discount on my bill. The more people that join this program, the larger the discount becomes. Most employers offer discounts like this for select carriers. You can also purchase your phone at a warehouse club like Costco to be eligible for a volume discount. Incidentally, I like Costco, they have really excellent returns policies, great opening hours and good automotive services.

In addition to the volume discount, I pay my cellphone bill with a rewards credit card. This adds another 2% in savings.

Auto / Home Insurance –> 10%

You can combine your auto and home insurance to receive a multiple policy discounts. Also, you may be eligible for a discount as an alumni of certain universities. I’m eligible for a 5% discount on my entire bill simply for being an alumni of a local college.

Groceries –> 5%

As I mentioned before, I use a rewards credit card to purchase groceries as well. Being an executive member of a warehouse club also entitles me to 2% cash back.

Gasoline –> 5%

The rewards credit card I use actually returns more for the gasoline category. I receive this 5% discount at any station I visit.

Dinner / Extracurricular Activities –> 25%

Coupons are abundant in both of these categories. On a daily basis, you can access discounts from Groupon, Half Off Depot, Living Social, Google Offers, etc. Why would you pay full price at a restaurant when the one next door has an outstanding Groupon for 50% off?

The same goes for just about any leisurely activity including golf, painting, massages and more.

Merchandise / Fun Stuff –> 14%

Just because I like to save money doesn’t mean I don’t have some grown-up toys. I have the typical 3D TV, tablet, ultrabook, high-end golf clubs, etc. Just like other expenses, I will never pay full price for these goods. There’s a reason that retailers like Best Buy are being referred to as “show rooms”. Purchasing an item online not only lowers the cost of the item, but you can avoid paying state sales tax as well.

I also use a credit card to make purchases in this category.

Water –> 0%

I include water last because it is the only item I pay full price for. I suppose that says something about the building block of life.

Conclusion

Some of these discounts may seem minuscule on their own, but when combined, the savings are immense. Each month, I save approximately $744 (not including merchandise) by refusing to pay full price for anything. Once the economy gets back on track, finding deals will become more difficult so I suggest saving what you can now.

Disclaimer: I mentioned that I use a rewards credit card to purchase many eligible items. It should go without saying, but you must pay your balance off in full each month to avoid interest charges. Using a credit card and paying interest negates cash reward benefits.

Readers: Do you have any money saving tips to share? Do you have a recurring expense that you do not receive a discount on? Share it here and maybe we can find a way to save.

Comments

  1. I use a rain barrel I put together for less than $40 to water my plants, wash the dogs, and other outdoor uses. I’m not sure what percentage it saves me on my water bill but it’s greater than zero!

    • That’s a great idea for outdoor activities. I have an uncle who lives in HI and uses rain water for practically everything.

  2. I’ve gotten rid of cable and use Roku instead. I am saving over $100 per month just with that simple change.

    • That’s a great savings Shilpan. I’m familiar with Hulu, Netflix and other streaming services, but it seems that Roku is different from those and more like Google TV. What would you compare it to?

  3. I’m not suggesting anyone exploit their employer, but like you mentioned with the cellphone discount, there are many employee perks that often go under-utilized; simply because employees do not know about them.

    I just recently found out that my employer gives out free tickets to hockey, and baseball games (but they don’t advertise this!). This can make for a very good weekend activity at minimal costs. You may even be able to save on personal airfare, hotel, car rentals, etc. Lots of benefits to be unearthed outside your typical healthcare / dental. You just have to check the company website and ask around.

    • I discovered the same type of benefits from my employer. They offer discounts on anything from Six Flags tickets to JoS. A. Bank clothing. As you said FI, you just have to ask around.

  4. I love Netflix, I’m thinking about cutting off cable myself. Comcast keeps raising that price every year

    • Netflix is great for catching up on older shows. They have some decent movies as well.

      I find myself not watching near as much TV without cable. It’s one of those things that’s hard to imagine being without, but not so bad when you cut the cord.

  5. This article helped me to realize that my employer offers a cell phone discount if you use your phone for any type of work related activities. I only use mine now and then, but it still qualifies to save me $25 a month!

  6. Excellent info. Sometimes people ignore small ways to save money, but add them up at the end of the year!

    • Yes, people ignore them because they seem so small by themselves. It takes a small amount of effort to initialize some kind of discount and then you start saving automatically.

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