Monday, March 19, 2007

Eavesdropping on Frugal Conversations

Sometimes it doesn't pay to mind your own business. For example, today I picked up a few tips on frugal living by eavesdropping. I overheard this cell phone conversation in the elevator of my building.


  • A 20-something, fashionably dressed young woman (Elevator Girl) and her cell phone.
  • Me and my BOGO half-off pair of Reeboks
Elevator Girl: (speaking walkie-talkie style into her cell phone. She's saving minutes by using this feature.) I'll pick you up. Now you know, my car has no air conditioning [in hot, hot South Florida] and the passenger window doesn't roll down. But, hey, it'll get you from point A to point B."

She smiles and steps off the elevator. I marvel at her no-nonsense embrace of a Basic Transportation car. She seems proud of her auto and makes no apologies for driving a clunker. In contrast, I've seen people go into big-time debt to lease the latest status symbol car.

Scenario # 2

The Scene: I'm in line forever at a national chain store. The man in front of me is checking, checking, checking the flyer and then smiles triumphantly. The cashier nods in agreement. I am too curious to get into a faster paced line. I move closer to hear the conversation.

Tall Man: See! That was worth it. I saved a lot of money.
Cashier: (Nods as Tall Man walks away).
Me: What was that about? What did he save?
Cashier: $3.98 on Saline solution. He thought he had the coupon and then he finally found it in the flyer. It was a big savings.

Lessons I learned:

1. Keep your coupons and promotional discounts organized. Time is money.
2. Be persistent. Don't be intimidated by impatient cashiers or fellow shoppers. Hold out for your savings.
3. Know your sales.

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