Several years ago, I was homeless. I had absolutely nothing, except a 5 dollar bill in my pocket and the clothes on me and my kids back’s. They only let you stay a certain amount of time in the particular women’s shelter I was in, and so I moved out of there, into my first apartment, with absolutely NO job and NO income. Yeah…God is good!
I didn’t have a couch, a dining table…I didn’t even have silverware. I’m talking nothing. It happened to be summer and in order to get the things I needed, I started driving around picking up free yard sale leftovers and curb alerts I’d find on Craigslist. Since I didn’t have a computer, I’d go down to the lobby of the apartment complex at least once a day and scour the internet to find things I needed, but couldn’t afford to buy.
Little by little, I started accumulating things. The things that were nice that I couldn’t use, I started selling to be able to buy the other things I needed that weren’t free.
One day, I came across a yard sale leftover for clothing and there were a good 20 – 50 gallon bags of women’s clothing. I didn’t know anything about brands at the time, but I had a computer and internet at the time and searched my way through them. I ended up learning which brands went for more money and put some things on eBay. The rest, I sold on Craigslist (by size in huge lots). I took that money and eventually, started buying $1 jeans at yard sales that I knew were good brands. I’d pay chump change for them and end up making $80 on ONE pair of jeans on eBay….shipping them in a Priority Mail flat rate envelope (hey- they say anything you can fit in there! LOL) and making good money.
I was able to make enough to be with my kids and barely scrape by.
Why am I telling you this story?
Because this story is how I LEARNED how to NOT pay retail! I learned how to get what I wanted (to stay home with my kids) and do it on the most littlest of incomes you can imagine…at the time, $700/month (here’s my ridiculously detailed post of how I did all that).
Why You Should Never Pay Retail
Living on so little, I learned exactly what I needed and what I didn’t. I learned how to buy the things I needed, but not pay what everyone else was paying. It literally opened up a whole new world to me. One in which, no matter how much I make now, I’d never go back to paying retail again!
I recently moved to my dream house. I never thought it would happen, but it did. I FINALLY, after about 7 years of praying to get it..it happened. You know when you get something you’ve wanted for SO long and you totally have the money in the bank to go wild and just buy everything for this new home. Or maybe you have a credit card with a low balance and you think to yourself, “I deserve it.” I WANT this and that and this and that for my new home.
Well, that was me (except I don’t own a credit card).
The entry to this beautiful dream home has pillars on each side and they just really need two beautiful topiary’s there. I also need one for in front of my garage. Doesn’t everybody? 🙂
But, as I was researching prices, the topiary’s at their lowest price are $100 each (Tuesday Morning had them cheapest). I’d need 3, so that’s $300.
Of course, what’s a topiary without a pot and the pots they come with are just…BLAH. So, I’d need 3 beautiful matching pots. I found the pots the cheapest at a local hardware store for $20 each on sale.
So, all in all, just to decorate the outside of my home with 3 topiary’s, I’m looking at $360.
As much as I wanted to decorate and have my new and beautiful house more beautiful, and trust me, there was a point, I was going to Amazon every day to look at them online and see if they were magically half off or something, I just couldn’t pull the trigger.
I could NOT, would NOT pay $360 for topiary’s.
So, I kept on praying. I told God how silly it was that I wanted them. That I knew how expensive they are and that it’s NOT a need. I committed to Him that I would not pay that much. I couldn’t spend HIS money like that. Yes, it’s something I want very badly, as silly as it may seem, and yes, I have the money in savings and it wouldn’t even make a dent in there, but it’s just too much money to pay.
The day before I’d find topiary’s at a yard sale, I prayed again that I would find them.
What astounded me is that I DID find them! Not three like I wanted, but two. Not the best quality in the world, not near what I would have chosen, but yes, beautiful topiary’s for the front porch.
What makes this story even more incredible is that I paid $10 for BOTH of them. Yes, ten dollars, no typo there. Just thinking about it makes me want to cry. Not only did God answer my prayer, but He literally gave them to me.
Some months later, I happened to be in Tuesday Morning (yes, it’s one of my favorite stores!) and saw two topiaries on sale for 50% off. These particular ones didn’t need pots, and you better believe I went and grabbed a cart and put them in there so fast it would make your head spin. I literally paid $100 for two topiaries and they are GORGEOUS, brand new and still look great on my front porch! 🙂
But that’s not the end of it. Not even close.
I took the topiaries that I paid $10 for both and sold them for $40 on a local Facebook group. I had someone come within a couple hours of posting the ad and I made a profit of $30 on that sale.
So, if you’re keeping tabs, I paid $106 total for the new topiaries (including tax) minus the $30 profit from the first set, and I literally paid $76 to decorate the outside of my home for something that would have cost me at least $240 for.
By being patient, waiting it out, using my reselling skills, and shopping around, I was able to save $164 on that ONE deal.
Just in case you think that’s a one time thing….I literally do this with EVERYTHING I own.
Let me just start off by saying that once you have an iPhone, you can never go back to another type of phone again. You know EXACTLY what all the fuss is about and you are thankful you have one. Such was the case with my current phone. I had an outdated one and my phone carrier was making me upgrade….ugh. There was no way around it AT ALL. Even if I went with another carrier, it was just obsolete.
The iPhone 6 had just come out and boy were they shiny, but they were also $600…
I found a few coupons I could stack and ended up getting the last years’ model for $350. Almost half the price of the 6 version. While it’s not the newest version out, it doesn’t really matter to me personally. As long as it’s a working iPhone, I’m good, and I saved $250 on that deal.
Related: How to Create an Elegant Home on Less
My Spa Day
Last week, I went to the spa for the very first time in my life…ever. I know, I know. I’m horrible. Just never really spend money on myself; I’ve always been pretty low-key. But I’ve been working so hard and wanted to get a few things done that I’ve heard are possible. But they are PRETTY expensive. Thankfully, the awesome girl helping me decide what to do, told me about some discounts. You know me, I love my discounts! If I purchased by the end of the month (literally within the next two days), I could save 50%! That’s huge right there.
So, I went home and thought it over (no rash decisions here!) and decided to go for it. Went back to the spa and pre-paid to get my discount and I start next week. I’m really excited and I saved a boatload of money.
My point is that it’s not just the physical stuff you buy that you don’t have to pay retail on…it’s services too. Discounts are everywhere. All you have to do is ask. If you want something, figure out a way to get it on your own pricing terms. Just about everything in life is a haggling opportunity, believe me! And in that case, I didn’t even HAVE TO haggle! But just in case you’re not good at haggling, here’s how I do it successfully ALL THE TIME!
What it comes down to
Listen, I could sit here and give you a thousand more examples of how I live the GOOD life on the cheap, but by now you get it. The trick is shopping around and waiting. You have to be patient, you have to research and do your homework.
Don’t just pay retail. Don’t just pay whatever they say you HAVE TO pay, because I’m telling you right now, YOU DON’T!
YOU’RE the one with the cash! YOU’RE the one with the control. You don’t have to pay retail!
What I’m NOT saying
I’m NOT saying if your little one needs shoes, to send them to school without shoes because you are waiting. But what I AM saying is that many times we CAN wait, but chose not to and that gets us into a ton of trouble. My own personal rule for myself is if it’s over $100, I wait 24 to purchase. Just to make SURE I really want it and it’s worth it to me. To be honest, most of the time, I decide not to buy whatever it is I’m waiting 24 hours for. Sometimes I do, but I ALWAYS know that I’m spending wisely and honoring God with HIS money.
This is how I live my life. I do NOT rush out and buy whatever it is I need or want. I wait. I wait for God to provide it cheaper. I commit myself and my money to Him. After all, it is His money anyway.
I REFUSE to pay retail on just about everything. In fact, there are very few things I pay retail for….things like toilet paper I do pay for, obviously. You can’t really get around that, though the frugal side of me is still thinking of ways! 🙂
But my household products are free (here’s a post on how I get those all free including pull ups/baby wipes), my health and my essential oils that I use as medicines are free, my makeup and beauty supplies are free.
I go to the dentist and get my teeth whitener for free (I go to a dentist where they give a free whitener with each cleaning, which is what drew me to them in the first place and I LOVE that office! They are the best dentist in the world.) They give my kids new toothbrushes/toothpaste for free. I have so many toothbrushes now, I use them for cleaning. I get my cleaning products free (through Glove Collective and my essential oils company).
Even my kids clothes are free (here’s a post on how I do that; again, it’s the same principle: buying low, selling when they are done, putting the money aside to buy again…it all evens out to be free). There are literally 15 things I do NOT spend money on at all. Then, when I DO buy something, I use my Paypal debit card and earn cash back along with going through Ebates to earn cash back as well.
My ink for my printer is super cheap as well because I use the Staples Rewards program and turn in my empty ink cartridges and then use the money they give for that on new ink.
After all my free stuff and deals, it is rare I ever pay retail on anything…again, I’m not willing to buy used toilet paper, so there ya go. 🙂 This is how I live my life. It’s how I provide for my family and live on little, even though we make more. It’s not that I’m cheap (okay, maybe a little), it’s that I decided a long time ago I was going to spend God’s money wisely out of necessity really, and those principles still apply to me today.