CAN YOU BE TOO THRIFTY?

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10.0 CAN YOU BE TOO THRIFTY? - CONSUMER CULTURE ARTICLES, FROM SAVVY-DISCOUNTS.com NEWSLETTER

In the early 1950's there was a time when gasoline was very cheap and there were even price wars between competing gas stations. In the summer, when I drove with my Dad from Connecticut to his house on Cape Cod, we traveled through Providence, Rhode Island where the gas wars were at their most intense. My Dad would drive through the city looking for the very cheapest gas on our route through town. The further we went, the more the price dropped. It went from 22 cents a gallon to 16 cents a gallon. After several more miles of driving, it looked like 16 cents was the cheapest he was going to find so he finally stopped and filled up. My Dad was very pleased with himself.

We got back into the car, rounded the corner and low and behold, there was a station with regular gas for 15 cents a gallon. My Dad was devastated and in a bad mood for the next couple of hours. Now 15 cents was the very cheapest that we saw, but nevertheless he felt that he had failed.

My father, who taught me how to live in a sensible but frugal manner, could go too far at times. By shopping carefully for gas he had saved himself 6 cents a gallon or more than 25%. He was smart to know that he would find the lowest price at a city along the way, instead of filling up earlier along the route. However, he had missed the very lowest price, costing him about 6%.


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Sometimes in an emergency or when I am pressed for time, I am forced to buy transmission fluid from a convenience store or an over-the-counter allergy medicine from a "discount drug store" and know that I am paying way too much. Other times, I have bought a large item like a computer only to see another similar one on sale a month later for $100 less.

Should I kick myself for not getting the lowest price? Obviously, not. There is no way that I can always get the lowest price. If you can, you are a genius.

Paying as little as possible is my goal and the goal of this newsletter. But we have to be realistic and realize that while we are going to pay a lot less than the average consumer, saving every last dime is impossible.


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