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Saving Money By Planning Ahead

Posted by on Nov 19, 2008 in Money | 0 comments

Fresh Vegetables, Fruits and other foodstuffs. Sho

In my local town, most of the stores have set sales days. The closest grocery store has sales every Tuesday and Sunday. If you shop Sunday, you also get a coupon for 5% off valid on Tuesday. Now a lot of people tend not too worry about such small savings. But over time, these small consistent savings add up to large amounts of money. Not only the money we directly save on groceries, but also the money we save in gas and time.

As you can see, only being able to shop two days a week, or sometimes only once does take a little more planning. Not only planning out our meals, but also planning out where we will store it (our refrigerator is tiny). It will however, save you time overall since you will spend less time in the store and less time going back and forth. Creating a list of the items you need for a set period of time will also help you from buying things you don’t really need. Helping both your wallet and your diet.

Another great way to save money is to buy at the end of the season. If it is something you know you will be using again next season, then purchasing it at the end of the season is one of the best savings you can make. Most holiday items will go on sale from 50-70% off once the holiday is over. If we could make that kind of money in the stock market, we would all be rich by now. Sure you will need to store it for a while, but you also get to purchase it when everyone is already done with their buying.

Additional tips

  • Keep records of the prices you are paying. Just because it says “SALE” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good buy
  • When you find something you use on a regular basis really cheap, buy as much as you can store
  • When possible and reasonable, buy in bulk to save extra.

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Getting What You Want by Being Difficult

Posted by on Oct 27, 2008 in Money, Time management | 2 comments

In general I try to make things as simple as possible. If I am purchasing something, I want the transaction to go as smoothly and quickly as possible. That way both myself and the other party gets the best value. However, there are times when being politely difficult is the only way to get a fair price. I find this particularly true for utilities and any company that you need to call to get customer service (phone, internet, online banking, cable and satellite, gas and electric, water, etc.). Below are a few tips I use to not get cheated or have to pay any additional fees.


  1. Choose a time when you have lots of time- If you have time you will be less likely to get fed up and take the bad deal.
  2. Make them call you back- you don’t want to pay for the phone call
  3. Ask them to explain everything they tell you- If you still don’t understand ask them to explain again
  4. Be polite, but difficult- If you are a good customer, tell them so. Ask them why they are treating you unfairly (if they are doing so).
  5. Ask for a higher authority- This saves you being on hold and you are more likely to get a better outcome. The higher the authority the more the more the time costs them.
  6. Be willing to make suggestions and compromise- Being difficult is the means to get an outcome. Don’t forget what you are aiming for. If they offer you a good deal or something different (but equal and fair) consider taking it.
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Saving Money by Getting a Better Deal

Posted by on Oct 25, 2008 in Money | 0 comments

After giving up my life in Tokyo and moving to the tropical island of Miyakojima, I have had a whole new household of items. Since I may be planning to move again after a year, Keeping everything to a minimum budget has been the main goal. Below are two of the methods that I have used to get better prices and save money. Using these methods I was able to buy a brand new car (2006 ford focus) and then sell it at $1000 under the blue book price a year later and still make $2000 on the sale.

One very easy way to save money is to NOT pay the marked price for products. Of course it is always best to purchase items that are on sale whenever possible. However, there are many items you have to purchase that may never go on sale. After working higher end sales for over 7 years (scuba diving store selling expensive equipment) and through my own purchasing, I have found that people who ask for discounts and better deals usually get a better price. But the thing that surprised me the most, is that it was usually the people who had a lot of money who would want a better deal. There are a number of ways to negotiate price, but two that I have found work very well, the sympathy method and the direct method.

The Sympathy Method

In order to make the sympathy method work you must spend a little more time with the salesperson and try and create a bond or relationship. Try to get all the information about the product and seem interested, but hesitant to purchase. Try to make your hesitation obvious by looking at the price, sighing, and by being silent for long periods of time. Let the salesperson know that you are interested, but that you hadn’t planned to spend that much money. At the same time try to be friendly and kind so the salesperson wants to help you.

The ideal situation is for the salesperson to offer you a better price. If he doesn’t, then ask if he can give you a better deal. Let him/her know you want to buy. Lastly, be willing to walk away. The ability to walk away gives you a lot of bargaining power. Especially if you have spent a lot of time with the salesperson, they will be more likely to offer you a better deal rather than lose the time they have spent.


The Direct Method

The direct method is a way to try and get the best deal while at the same time saving your time. The direct method works well for places that sell in high volume and especially where the salespeople are paid on commission. There are certain types of businesses (automobiles, furniture, etc) that plan on the customer bargaining for a better price. They may mark there products at full price or sometimes higher, but generally have a set percentage or price they are allowed to drop the price to. The trick is to find that mark. I generally recommend that you do the research to find out what other people are paying for the same or similar product.

Once you know the price you would like to pay (and that they can sell for), let the salesperson know. Say that you would like to save both of your time and help them make a quick sale. Ask them directly what’s the best price they are willing to give you. Always do this first since they may give you a better price than you will ask for. If they give you a higher price, then make an offer lower than what you had planned to achieve (you may get it). If you don’t, then it gives you some negotiating room to get your price. And the same as before, be willing to walk away. You can always go to their competitor and ask them to beat the price you were offered.

Additional tips

  1. Look at overall value- If it’s a product that requires service or someplace where you shop often, then consider the knowledge and quality of service.

  2. Do your research- A few hours of research on the internet can save you thousands of dollars and hours of time. This is especially true for cars.

  3. Practice on small things to improve your skills and work your way up to large things

  4. Buy before you need it- This makes it much easier to walk away and find a better deal

  5. Set your budget- Salespeople are pros and getting you to upgrade. Setting your budget helps keep you from purchasing something you can’t afford. Either get a lower price or a better product at the same price.

  6. Ask for things not for sell or display units. They will often go for cheap. I was able to purchase a brand new sofa for $50 by using this method.

  7. Know when the sales and seasons are- why buy a swim outfit at the end of spring when it will be 60% off at the end of summer. Think ahead as much as possible.

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Wealth and Riches part 2

Posted by on Jul 24, 2008 in Money | 3 comments

In part one I talked about measuring wealth in time and freedom. In part two I will be discussing 5 ways to get started. As a quick note, I would like to mention I wrote this post on my itouch while commuting on the Tokyo metro.


1. Assess your bills and eliminate

Learn to live with less. Look over your expenses and eliminate anything that is not a necessity. When you think necessity, think stranded on an island and what you need to survive. You can always add things back later, but after some time without most things you will find they really aren’t that important.

2. Use cash/get rid of credit cards

Some people might disagree with this so let me explain. Credit cards allow you to spend money you don’t have. Stop carrying them with you. Set a monthly budget including lunch, gas, and spending money. Pull this amount out and don’t go over it. If it helps, only keep the daily amount in your pocket.

3. Create a want/dream list

Figuring out what you want and how much it costs will not only help you set some saving goals and focus your efforts, it also brings to light the things you purchase that aren’t important. Check out The Four Hour work Week for a dreamline template.

4. Make your money make money

There are a lot of things to invest in. Find something that interests you and learn about it. Talk to successful people who are investing in the fields you are interested in and learn from them. And don’t forget, one the best investments you can make is in yourself and your own education

5. Find cheap fun

Learn to enjoy life and have fun without spending money. You can find one list on cheap fun here. But don’t limit yourself to that list. Find something you enjoy and then find a way to do it cheaply. Or better yet get paid for it.

Sit back and watch your money grow! It seems difficult at first, but after you do it for a month then it gets much easier…and eventually fun.

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Wealth and riches part 1

Posted by on Jul 20, 2008 in Money | 0 comments

Most people view obtaining wealth and riches as the final goal in life. They feel that if they can get more money then they will be happier and have a more fulfilling life. That with a little extra money the worries will start to disappear and with a lot of money the worries will be gone. i don’t think this is the case. it all depends on how you view wealth and riches.


To me, wealth means freedom. As Robert Kiyosaki discussed in Rich Dad Poor Dad, wealth is measured in time. It is how long you can maintain the lifestyle you want without having to work. I agree with this. Working 40 hours a week, even if you like your job, takes away your freedom.

However, you don’t have to have a lot of money to be wealthy. You can also obtain wealth by reducing your costs and spending. The lower your average cost of living, and the greater your savings, the longer you can live wealthy outside of work. For Example, someone who makes $30,000 a year, and only has an average monthly cost of living (including expenses and spending income) of $1,500 would accumulate an average of 8 months of wealth (8 months maintaining current life style without working) each year. Someone earning $70,000 a year with an average monthly costs of $4000 would only accumulate an average wealth of 5.5 months after one year of working.

$1,500 X 12 months=$18,000 $30,000-$18,000=$12,000 $12,000/$1,500=8 Months

$4,000 X 12 months=$48,000 $70,000-$48,000=$22,000 $22,000/$4,000=5.5 Months

One of the biggest reasons why people never seem to be able to get a head is because there spending increases in proportion (or more) with their increase in earnings. When they get a raise, they buy a more expensive car, a bigger house, a bigger tv, get satellite, and eat out more often at expensive restaurants. No I am not saying that you should save every penny and give up having any fun. What I am recommending is that you decrease your spending overall, and never let your living costs increase by a larger or equal percentage than your increases in salary.

In part two I will cover 5 easy ways to increase your wealth and savings.

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