The Mindset: Are you one of the few, the frugal?

For quite a while, friends and family asked me how I get all those deals. I never thought of myself as a deal whisperer, but they do, and they urged me to reveal my “secrets.”

There really aren’t secrets here, exactly, any more than there are secrets to good plumbing. If you’re a plumber, you figure out the best and fastests ways to…plumb. It’s what you do. It’s who you are.

I hadn’t thought much about it, but for me, savings is a game, a puzzle. A head-to-head battle vs merchants, to see if there’s a lower price out there (and there always is).

Of course, the web is full of guidance for living a sensible financial life: minimize debt, budget carefully, spend accordingly, max out your 401k, that kind of thing. This site isn’t about that; it’s about finding a few more % off on the things you’re going to buy anyway, without real effort. For some of that broader – and certainly valuable – advice, check out Get Rich Slowly or Money Under 30 (whether you’re under 30 or not).

Not for everyone

Disclaimer: a body of research suggests that excessive saving is a variant of obsessive-compulsive behavior – a personality disorder. I’m not advocating you adopt an aberrant lifestyle. At least I don’t think I am.

So, if all this feels like too much, get yourself a nice cash back credit card and leave it at that. That’s as easy as it gets. A great candidate to consider is Citi Double Cash Card, which (with some funky provisions) provides 2% back on every purchase. That’s basically the gold standard for simple savings on credit card purchases.

But that’s kid stuff. Let’s get started on real savings.