Advice For Those Soon To Be Married

I’ve seen a number of my favorite personal finance bloggers recently announce their engagements and weddings.  Many have detailed various things regarding the planning of their weddings in their blogs, which makes perfect sense since weddings are often expensive and are inevitably going to involve many things related to finance, including the cost of the wedding itself, the merge and handling of finances, etc. etc. etc.

I heard something in passing the other day that I thought I’d share as a perspective that we should always keep during the hustle and bustle of planning a wedding.  I thought it was fitting given that this is typically around the start of the ‘busy’ wedding season.  I’m paraphrasing but it goes something like this:

“Are you going to put the same effort and enthusiasm into your marriage as you are into the planning of your wedding?”

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The Most Important Shopping Tip To Remember

There are a million tips and tricks that you can remember to keep in mind when you set of shopping.  Don’t forget your coupons.  Shop around.  Offer a lower price.  Wait before purchasing big items to ensure you need it.

These are all great ideas and there are many, many more.  However, I think the most important one to remember is simple:

Don’t be afraid to walk away.

This one sounds simple, but it’s something you should always remember.  Think about this: Until you hand over your money (or sign a contract), you still have the ability to walk away.  Don’t be afraid to!

If there’s something that makes you feel uncomfortable, if you don’t like the terms or conditions, if you’re not convinced you’re getting the value you’re looking for, if you’re not satisfied with the product you’re getting: Don’t be afraid.  Walk away.

I think many times people, myself included, get locked into something.  People who are in the business to sell you things have a knack at picking up on this, and guess what?  They’re going to use this to their advantage, which is often your disadvantage.

Original Image by brocco_lee

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  •  Consider your audience and know when you have leverage. If you have someone behind you willing to buy the product at the price offered, you probably don’t have much leverage.  So, standing in line for your iPad and then trying to talk the salesperson down probably isn’t a good use of anybody’s time.
  • Refine your approach on how to let it be known that you would consider walking away.  Often times, you never even have to utter the words.  It can be as simple as a pause in the right place, or stepping away to ‘make a phone call’.
  • Don’t overplay your hand – In addition to ‘sniffing out blood’, salespeople also will lose interest and detach themselves from you if they don’t feel you’re a serious buyer.  If you bluff when you really do intend to purchase the product, be careful that you don’t let this backfire.
  • Know what you want.  If you don’t have a clear objective, you will probably never feel comfortable with your potential purchase.  Know what is making you uncomfortable and what it would take to get you into your comfort zone.  If it’s price, fine.  Know the price you need and be honest as to whether getting to that price would make you happy.  There’s a fine line between dickering and being wishy-washy.  Stay on the right side of the line.
  • Understand your options – Sometimes a threat to walk away will work and you’ll talk the salesperson into better terms.  However, many times you won’t.  For whatever reason, the salesperson might be willing (or obligated) to let you walk away.  Know beforehand if you really will walk away or if you will then accept the terms of the sale.

Bottom line, don’t ever forget that you are the customer and to use this to your advantage before letting that salesperson close the sale.

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On The Road Today

Money Reasons is a great blog that I’ve been an avid reader of lately.  He has graciously agreed to host today’s article as a guest post.  Please head over there to read today’s post called “Are You Tracking Your Cash Flow?  You’d Better Be!


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How I Maximize What Our Library Has To Offer

I love going to the library.  Even as a little kid, I loved to read books, and the library was a great place for me to go and browse and find new things.

I still love to read and I still love to go to the library.  Our city is lucky enough to have a pretty great library, and in the couple of years I’ve lived here, my wife and I have found a few resources (and tricks) that have made the library an increasingly valuable asset to us.  And, since a good chunk of our property tax bill goes to funding the library, we’re paying for it anyways, right?

Check these ideas out:

  • Going beyond books – Our library has a great book selection but they also have lots and lots of CDs and DVDs, many of which you normally pay.  I get CDs all the time, and we’ve gotten a couple of DVDs as well.  I’m not ready to drop our Netflix subscription, simply because many of the popular titles that the library has are three-day only rentals (as opposed to one-week rentals) and since we only average one trip a week to the library, we’ve found that this is something to supplement our Netflix subscription rather than replace it.
  • RSS feeds – When browsing our library website, I stumbled upon a ‘new releases’ section and found that you could subscribe to RSS feeds for new fiction, new DVDs, and new CDs.  So, anytime something comes in, I automatically know that it’s there.  They also have other categories for kids and teens books, which hopefully will come in handy for Baby Beagle someday!
  • Holds – If an item is reserved, you can place a hold on it.  When the item comes back in, the next person in line gets it placed on hold for them and has up to five days to pick it up.  Once I see an item is in stock, especially if it’s a popular item, I can place a hold on it and wait.  You cal also suspend and re-activate holds at your leisure, so that if you’ve already got a few books checked out or you’re not going to be at the library for awhile, it will pass you up (but still keep your place in line, which is awesome!)
  • Linked accounts – My wife and I both have cards.  Since I read more than my wife, but my wife goes to the library more than I do (see below), we inquired and were able to link our accounts so that she can check out an item that I’ve placed on hold.  So, often I’ll see something come in via my RSS feed, log in and place a hold on it, get it reserved, and have my wife pick it up, bring it home, and later on return it for me.  It doesn’t get much easier than that!
  • Kids programs – My wife takes Baby Beagle to a once per week story time program that she found in the library newsletter.  He isn’t really ‘into’ it yet, as he’d much rather crawl around and explore, but we agree that it’s setting a good foundation for him nonetheless to get used to going to the library.

I have also seen that there are other resources that I’m not even using (yet).  Namely, our city is part of a county / state system where we have access to electronic resources, including eBooks and the like.  There’s also a feature where, if I want a particular book and my library doesn’t have it, you can search within other libraries across the state, and they can send it over to my library for me to loan.  How sweet is that?  Right now, I’ve been keeping plenty busy with the books and such from my own library where I haven’t had to use either of these features, but it’s great to know that they are there.

All in all, I think I’ve found some pretty great tricks that have helped me make the most out of our library and have gotten many hours of entertainment and enjoyment at the same time.  If you regularly use resources that your library offers, take a look and see if any of these (or other) ideas might help.  You can save some significant money in the process by borrowing instead of buying!


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