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How to Pay Less Than 30% for Almost Anything

How to Pay Less Than 30% for Almost Anything

I’m going to show you a super easy, step-by-step process for ensuring that you never pay more than half price for any new book (even if it’s an absolute best-seller that everyone is trying to buy) or product.

I’m not talking about wasting hours scouring discount and deal sites for great prices either. Amazon already does a great job of offering low prices across a range of items so getting a good price is a given.

Fortunately, with only a tiny bit of extra effort you will be able to squeeze far more out of your shopping budget. Here’s how you do it.

1. Getting Started

We’ve all shopped on Amazon, right? Here’s a typical buying page for a really popular best-seller by Elon Musk:

Amazon Product Buying Page

    There are a couple of important things to notice about this page that will help you save more cash in the coming steps:

    • The List Price is $29.99 but we can buy it now for $17.84
    • It is also available New from $13.69
    • It is available Used from $11.22

    So, right here, right now we can buy a $30 book for about $14. That’s a little under half price already. So far so good.

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    2. Price Tracking & Alerts

    The Amazon marketplace is extremely fluid and volatile. Prices for products can change on an hourly basis, as Amazon competes with other sellers to offer the best prices. This is where we can gain a bit of extra advantage over other shoppers.

    Instead of spending time checking back each day to see what the new price is, we can use an accurate price tracking service that will notify us of price drops (and increases – these will be important later on) in virtual real-time.

    Set up a price alert watchlist of all the items you want to buy for both price drops and increases.

    Here’s a screenshot of the sales and price changes for the aforementioned book using RankTracer – an extremely accurate tracking service that updates hourly so you are never more than a few minutes behind the latest price changes:

    Sales & Price Chart

      Chart showing hourly sales & price changes Amazon book (Tesla, SpaceX …). Courtesy of RankTracer – Amazon Sales & Price Tracker[1]

      Not all products have the same pricing profile, however. It’s important to note that some items swing wildly from day to day, or even hour to hour. Here’s a price chart showing changes for a popular entrepreneurship book entitled ‘The Third Wave‘:

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      Sales & Price Chart for Amazon Book

        Chart showing hourly sales & price changes for Amazon book (The Third Wave). Courtesy of RankTracer – Amazon Sales & Price Tracker

        As you can see, that is a bit more volatile, and prone to changing price more often, and in this instance becoming consistently cheaper. Each product will, of course, be different. The important thing here is to know when the price drops and when it increases. Once you know that, we can take the next step – buying low.

        3. Buy Low

        Looking at the charts above you can see that there are better (and worse) times to buy than others. But, with your price alerts coming in via email, you’ll be able to buy the items you want at the best possible prices.

        I was thinking of buying a new notebook recently, so I tracked a few to see their prices over time. Here’s one for the Samsung Chromebook:

        Chart of Samsung Chromebook

          Clearly buying any time between December 3rd and December 7th would have been ideal, as it would have resulted in an additional saving (on top of the best price you might find shopping on a random day) of just under $250.

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          So we can save money by buying low. Great.

          Unfortunately, buying low is where most people stop going. After all, doing things like this will mean you save plenty of cash on the Christmas shopping. But, if you really want to ensure you pay less there’s one more step to take.

          4. Sell High

          Once you’ve finished reading your book (or no longer need the item purchased), it’s time to sell it back via Amazon.

          Becoming an Amazon seller is quick and easy, and you can get started over at Amazon’s Seller Central website. If you are going to sell less than 40 items, then it is completely free to sign up – although there are small charges per item sold. Selling more than 40 items will require a paid plan that should cost about $39.99 per month, although you can explore the different types of seller accounts at their pricing page.[2]

          With your seller account set up, it is now possible to re-list the products you bought – most likely listing them in Used condition.

          At this point our price tracking comes in handy because it can tell us when prices are high so we can sneak in with a slightly lower offer in order to radically improve the chances of making a sale.

          Take a look at the original screenshot of the Elon Musk book sales page and notice that there were used copies being sold from $11.22. Given that we could have purchased it for $13.69 (according to RankTracer’s price data), and we can sell it back for $11.22, we have effectively bought it brand new for the grand total price of $2.47.

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          Take into account other costs, like Amazon charges, and you are probably still going to get away with paying less than $4. For a book listed at $29.99, that works out to less than 15% of the list price.

          You can squeeze as little or as much out of this process by waiting for the lowest low prices and selling at the highest high prices. But, on average, spending between 10% and 30% of the asking price should make anyone very happy.

          This trick works for any product that can be sold used. Obviously, consumables like food and drink probably won’t fetch a reasonable price in used condition. Simply watch your price alerts, wait for the right time to buy and sell, and start saving money big time.

          I’d love to hear how much money this saves you in the long run. Drop a comment here and share your huge savings stories to make the rest of us jealous.

          Featured photo credit: Roderick Eime via flickr.com

          Reference

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          Last Updated on June 26, 2020

          25 Easy Tips on How to Save Money Fast

          25 Easy Tips on How to Save Money Fast

          “How to save money fast?” This is the question asked by all of us not in the top 1% of rich people.

          If you are looking for ways to drastically reduce your expenses immediately, first look at what you need to spend money on every week. And I mean really need.

          You don’t really need to order in food. You don’t really need to buy expensive perfume.

          Building from that, you can work out how your regular expenses can be reduced.

          As for irregular expenses, they can also be deceptively costly in the long run. Once-off buys can also be tackled with some prudent planning and a little extra research.

          And remember: a budgeted lifestyle does not mean a bad or boring one!

          But first, understand what budget you can cut down on daily:

          • Regular expenses for the average adult (can be trimmed but not eliminated):
            • food
            • rent/mortgage
            • cell phone
            • insurance
            • socializing/entertainment
            • transportation
            • hygiene products
            • household bills
          • Irregular expenses for the average adult (can be eliminated or cut down a lot):
            • travel
            • clothing
            • medication (*depends)
            • grooming (hair, nails etc.)
            • gifts

          Now, let’s dive right into the 25 ways to save money fast:

          Save Money on Food

          1. Bring a stock of food to the office/work

          Instead of popping out for an overpriced salad and a smoothie, leave a set of basic utensils at the office as well as a stock of non-perishable goods such as tinned fruit, tuna, rice crackers and so on (try to avoid the junk food and this can turn into a pretty great diet!).

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          Stocking up means you won’t forget or say “I didn’t have the time” when you rushed out to work in the morning.

          2. Buy the store-brand version

          Many basic foods, such as bread and milk, will taste exactly the same as their branded alternatives. Go for stuff with minimal additives and preservatives. Meat in a tube is probably insanely unhealthy!

          3. Eat cheaper cuts of meat

          Learn how to tenderize and flavour cheaper meat and fish, and save on the (typically) most expensive item on your grocery bill.

          4. Have group dinners

          If 10 friends put $5 each in the kitty, it’s pretty easy to make a giant lasagne and get refreshments, as well as hang out with your favourite people.

          Save Money in Transport

          5. Get a bicycle

          Save on gas money and bus/metro fares with this underrated mode of transport.

          6. Use public transport and/or don’t get taxis

          Some places can only be reached by car. But as a good practise, check your public transport website and see if any routes pass nearby where you need to get to. Walk as much as you can.

          7. Find the cheapest gas

          Regularly check out where the cheapest gas can be bought.

          Save Money in General Shopping

          8. Shop online

          Not only will you save on the gas or transport fares from going to the shopping mall but you will also find better deals

          9. Sell your old stuff

          Get your unwanted belongings up on eBay ASAP and earn a few dollars.

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          Here’re more ideas for you: 25 Things to Sell to Make a Lot of Money

          10. Bulk buying stores

          For regular non-perishable/slow perishable purchases such as toilet paper, cat food, pasta, washing powder and so on, do an epic stocking-up trip to a co-op or equivalent (my mum used to go to a place that restaurants buy from).

          Be wary of supermarket “deals”, as some have been found to be fraudulent after working out a simple calculation.

          11. Become a flea market/car boot sale/street market guru

          You can find original gifts and develop good negotiation skills at these places.

          12. Generic brand medication

          More often than not, the generic version of paracetamol and other basics work the same as the branded version.

          13. Choose deodorant, not perfume

          It blows my mind when someone drops $70 on a bottle of spray. Stick with a nice deodorant, and not only will you smell just fine but you’ll be sweat-free as well!

          Cut Down on Household Expenses

          14. Printing

          Ink is one of the most expensive substances in the office and coloured ink is doubly so. B

          e more efficient and choose black and white, and if your printer doesn’t have a print-both-sides options, just print odd pages first, re-insert the paper and print even pages.

          Expand the margins of what you are printing as often as you can to save on paper.

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          15. Minimize SMS and phone calls

          A combination of a free chat service such as WhatsApp and a free call service such as Skype can reduce your bill to nothing (so long as you have a decent Wifi connection).

          16. Shop around for insurance

          Most people don’t spend enough time searching for the best insurance deal.

          Keep a watchful eye out for deals and new competitors in the market.

          17. Try re-negotiating your rent/mortgage

          If you have built up a good credit history or a good rapport with your landlord, then chances are a frank chat about needing to tighten your spending could result in lowering your payments. You’ve nothing to lose from trying.

          18. Don’t get a TV

          Invest in a computer/laptop and an internet-only package. You can watch more (and often better) entertainment on the web, and skip the advertisements as well.

          19. Pool your internet bill with a neighbour

          My apartment building is basically a big old house split into three apartments. There are five of us in total. We pool the internet bill, making it crazy cheap.

          Save Money in Socializing, Entertainment And Travel

          20. Have house parties

          Instead of paying for overpriced drinks, set up a series of in-house get-togethers with your friends. Everyone takes a turn, so it’s not always your house that needs cleaning.

          For sound insulation, hang heavy drapes on the walls and windows. For music, invest in a good second-hand set of speakers which you can connect to your computer. Let Spotify or Grooveshark playlists do the rest.

          21. Open festivals, meetups and events

          It never fails to surprise me how much underground stuff goes on around me for free or for very cheap. Find out who runs the blogs and websites that list all the less well-known cultural activities.

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          22. Volunteer

          If you can’t pay for a ticket, volunteer and get to be there anyway.

          23. Housesit

          There are multiple housesitting websites offering you the possibility to avoid paying hotels and skip the discomfort of crummy hostels.

          Save Money on Hygiene and Beauty

          24. DIY beauty

          French manicures, pedicures, waxing, eyebrows… pretty much all of these can be achieved at home (and done well) with some practise. There are plenty excellent blogs and YouTube tutorials to help.

          25. Fewer haircuts/volunteer at a trainee hairdresser

          If you can’t bear the risk of a trainee touching your locks, learn more ways to manipulate your hair as it grows and get haircuts sparingly. Women’s haircuts are outrageously priced in many cities.

          Bonus: Effective Money-Saving Tips for Everything

          Here’s a summary of what you can generally do to save more money:

          • Share/pool resources. Organize a neighbourhood sharing scheme, common resources for your apartment block or with your friends. Not everybody needs an individual lawnmower.
          • Buy energy-saving everything. The easiest way to lower your bills – replace those lightbulbs!
          • Buy in bulk. Be sensible about it (i.e. make sure you have space!), and drastically reduce weekly expenditure.
          • DIY. Skill up using YouTube tutorials on plumbing and many other essential services so you never have to pay for simple problems again.
          • Research a lot before making a decision. Most money-wasting is the result of poor preparation and planning. Don’t shirk this part just because you don’t like it!
          • Use your network. Your network is full of resources that can ease the pain of budgeting. Ask for help.
          • Stop and think. Do I really need it?

          Unfortunately, there are some things that require plain ol’ giving up for the time being. This can include high-cost sports such as skiing, the latest versions of some technologies, the finest brands of food/drinks, premier seats at the opera and most other indulgences.

          What is important to remember during lean times is that when you look back on your life, it will be the experiences that stand out, not the extra comforts.

          Living on a budget can teach you a lot about how much you can really get out of your paycheck. We only live one life, so make the most of every penny you earn!

          More Tips for Personal Finance Management

          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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