Are You Getting a Good Deal?: How to Find the Best Prices

Often times, we will need to make a purchase and will want to pay as little money as possible. Our families sometimes teach us different skills when it comes to looking for good deals. One known tactic by grocery stores is to put the more expensive items on the shelf that is either most convenient or eye-level. Even though we learn many ways to find ourselves a really good deal, we need to ask ourselves deep down inside: Is this really a good deal? Below are some things that we tend to overlook and wind up either overpaying for or are discontent with what we bought. Whether it’s an oil change or a car, this is a good read.

Oil Changes

Most of us just want a quick $20 oil change from the local Jiffy Lube, Midas, or Oil Can Henry’s. We go through their spiel of how this or that is about to go out in our car based on our miles. We listen to them try to sell us other products and whatnot. But did you know that you sometimes get much more than you bargained for? I’m going to detract from oil changes for a moment to explain this. Some lube shops will tell you to consider changing your air filter when, in fact, it may not need to be changed at all. One great way to avoid this is to find a local place that won’t overcharge you while giving you the service you’d like without the hardcore sales. The best way to get a good deal on oil changes, however, is to do it yourself. For the price of a regular oil change, you could get synthetic oil and a filter. This service is usually somewhere between $50 – $70. All less for $30.

Wedding/Engagement Pictures

My wife is a photographer and she always finds this one annoying thing in the forums and Facebook posts: Some hot shot without experience undercutting everybody else and charging $20 for weddings/engagement shoots. We’ve looked at their work as well as heard experiences from people who went the cheap route. If you’re not married yet, don’t use one of these photographers unless they know what they’re doing. Some pictures didn’t seem to come out right. Others were a little awkward looking because maybe the photographer hadn’t made people do a certain pose before. Editing issues arose. We were told by people who went the cheap route that they had major regrets. Our wedding photographer gave us a discount because we knew her. But it was most definitely not an underpayment like $20. My wife normally charges $500 for weddings. While some of you who are planning weddings and reading this in shock, let me tell you that this is a normal rate. We have no regrets with our wedding photos and neither should you. In any case, don’t assume that cheap is good. Treat your wedding photographer choice like the choice of someone who will perform surgery on you.

Bulk Items

Costco and Sam’s Club have done very well selling items in bulk. But is bulk always the way to go? Hardly. To be honest, there are things that are just best bought at Walmart or Amazon. Costco dominated with their dish soap. 135 oz for $8.79! In case you’re wondering, my wife and I bought it in January. Toilet paper is a toss up between brands. Amazon has a good deal on 40 rolls of Angel Soft for $17.74, but that’s if you like Angel Soft. My wife and I don’t like Angel Soft. Around the same price is Kirkland Signature, Costco brand, toilet paper. This usually comes with around 30 rolls or so, but it lasts a long time. The Angel Soft my wife and I bought with 12 rolls didn’t even last half of a semester! The Costco brand, however, did last half the semester. And yes, we did use it often. If you have one in your area, Cash and Carry is an amazing place to shop as well. It may seem like their prices are high. But once you compare them to buying at another place like Fred Meyer, they instantly become a magical wonderland. The thing to do is to shop around for the best prices in town. Try Costco, Winco, Amazon and Walmart. Make a list. Buy certain items in bulk. You’ll be glad you did.

New Cars vs. Used Cars

Some our parents might have told us about buying a car. Either way, this is definitely a must read if you’re in the market. If you’re not, just read for fun. When I bought my first car, I got a screamin’ deal. In April 2013, I had bought a 2012 Nissan Versa (hatchback) with 11,000 miles on it for $16,000. My monthly payments are $232 per month and my loan is for five years. If you know the car you’re going to attempt to purchase, look at what the new one costs. Some of these used car dealers will try to swindle you. Some people feel like they can’t afford the new car because the interest will be higher or whatever you might have been told.

Many of these money saving techniques are actually quite common. The only problem is that not everybody has the same education. I’m sure that there’s many more ways to find good deals and save money. What are some of your favorite ways to find deals and save money?


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