The Art of Spottin’ Deals

by David Bakke

great bargainAnother talent that I have picked up during my days of frugal living is the ability to “spot” a deal and take advantage of it.

I’ll give you a great example. I was walking thru my local hardware store today, searching for some supplies for a small plumbing repair job that I needed to do.

Well, on the way, I spotted a 10 pack of some household scrub pads for $1 apiece. It just so happened that they were the exact scrub pads that I use in my kitchen, they were just packaged under some other brand name.

Well, having bought these religiously in the past, I knew that I usually paid about 25 cents apiece. Obviously, this was a great deal. I snatched up three packs of them, added them to my other purchases and was on my way.

It then occurred to me that this talent goes a long way in impacting your finances. Obviously, this is a small example in the grand scheme of things, but I wouldn’t have been able to identify this as a deal were it not for several skills that I have picked up over the years.

First, you’ve got to know what you pay for stuff. I would imagine that most of us buy about 80% of the same stuff during our weekly trips to the grocery store. Meaning, we always get milk, we always get strawberries, we always get dish detergent. The question is: do you know what you actually pay for these items, or do you just blindly throw them into your cart?

Second, you’ve got to pay attention. When you’re out and about, pay attention to what’s going on around you. If you’ve read this blog before, you’ll know that just because there is a sign next to something saying it’s on sale, does not necessarily mean that it’s a great price. You’ve got to know yourself what is a great price and what isn’t. Who would have expected to find household scrub pads at a hardware store? Not me. But I did, and I got them for about 60% off what I normally pay.

Third, you’ve got to have your finances in order enough to be able to invest in things for the future like this in order to save more. If you only have enough each week to put food on the table for your family and that’s it, you really wouldn’t’ have enough money to do this type of stuff. Get your finances in order so you can revamp the way you shop.

Again, this is a very minor example, but what if it were something that normally cost me $30 and I found it for $10? And what if it were something that I buy every week? The annual savings would be over $1000 annually. You probably won’t find an example like this, but if you look at it like that, you’ll realize the impact it can have.

Other items that this technique seems to apply to for me are batteries (they’re always on sale, but are they at a great price?), deodorant, laundry detergent, etc.
Know what you pay for stuff, pay attention whenever you’re at a store, and have the ability to buy extra of an item when you find it at a killer price.

As always, your comments and feedback are greatly appreciated. Think I’m crazy for writing about scrub pads? Found a good deal of your own you’d like to share? Let us know about it below.


1 Jackie February 25, 2010 at 7:49 pm

I agree, paying attention and knowing what you pay for things is key. I love stocking up on stuff like that when I come across a good deal.
.-= Jackie´s last blog ..What Will You Do With Your Tax Refund? =-.

2 David Bakke February 26, 2010 at 4:13 am

Stocking up is a beautiful thing, especially when its at a great price.

Thanks for stopping by.

3 Hugging the Coast Cooking Blog February 27, 2010 at 5:21 am

I find that keeping a list of commonly purchased items, their prices, and the stores where I usually get them on my PDA really make comparison shopping and saving money much easier.

Spot checking for bargains at the local dollar stores, thrift shops, and on Craigslist is helpful too.

Additionally, Freecycle.Org is also a great place to find some great free stuff being given away by people in your area (as well as off things you don’t want that are in good condition).

I’ve gotten some useful storage cabinets, bookcases, a dvd player, and a treadmill from there in the past.
.-= Hugging the Coast Cooking Blog´s last blog ..Salt Crusted Fingerling Potatoes Recipe (Party Appetizer Recipes) =-.

4 David/Yourfinances101 February 27, 2010 at 10:11 am

Hey there,

Now that’s really taking it to another level!

I love all those ideas. I’ve known people who use Freecycle to give stuff away, never really though of it as an outlet to get stuff.

Thanks for all the tips!
.-= David/Yourfinances101´s last blog ..Enter for a Chance to Win an iPad =-.

5 Daddy Paul February 27, 2010 at 7:40 pm

I like your style. I seldom buy a name brand canned food item. You can tell by the can if the store brand came from the same place as a name brand item. I found this out from a guy who was part of a canning co-op. They would can their vegetables and put the label on it after they were purchased.
After working for a vacuum cleaner manufacturer I can tell you many of the vacuum cleaners out there are the same except a few of the plastic parts.
.-= Daddy Paul´s last blog ..How to invest and get better returns without getting into the stock market: =-.

6 David/yourfinances101 February 28, 2010 at 12:40 am

Daddy Paul:

That’s some good information–but I had a sneaking suspicion that it was true.

Eye-opening stuff about the vacuums too!

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: