i've heard you refer to me as "cheap", "frugal", or a "bargain shopper" several times in my life, and to be honest, you're absolutely right. ever since i was little, i was taught to seek out sales and to buy cheap-- although not at the expense of quality. it was one of the family traits that i carried on well. even my mom thinks i'm too frugal sometimes...and that's saying something. it boggles me sometimes when i witness non-frugal shopping, or watch as amateurs buy yard-sale items at asking price. but i think i've come to realize that it's not their fault. they just don't know any better. that's why i've decided to give out a few tips on getting the biggest "bang for your buck" (i have to admit that phrase is somewhat disturbing to me)
1. the 80% rule: so you're at target and you see a pair of jeans and you think "hmmm, i bet the original price for those jeans is about 30 bucks". naturally, the only acceptable price to pay would be 6$ or less. and don't let the original price on the tag fool you...if your gut says they're worth 30 bucks, then that's what they're worth. end of story.
2. yard sales: don't be afraid of being ridiculous. this is a yard sale, not goodwill. when the seller says 5$, say "how about 2?"...chances are some negotiation will ensue, at which point you'll agree on 3$...which, for a dining room set, isn't bad.
3. always be alert: sales don't come looking for you. if anything, they hide away in little corners, or stay out for only hours at a time. always be prepared to take advantage of a 2$ pair of shoes--who cares if they're bright yellow, us bargain buyers can find a way to use them.
a. avoid compulsion: bargain buyers tend to be prone to buying on a whim. though good deals are usually ideal to take advantage of, sometimes, you just don't need it. step away from the 2$ bag of 8 lbs of sunflower seeds...even if it causes you to shed a tear or two.
4. don't give in: i think this is one of the most important aspects of bargain shopping. once you've committed to buying cheap, there's no turning back. there are times when you'll be tempted to pay full price, when there seem to be no other options...DON'T DO IT. be strong. you can live without food for at least a week. be willing to make the sacrifice.
bargain-shopping is not for the weak of heart or mind. it is a life-long commitment to frugality and everlasting sale-seeking. accept it if you will.