Friday, October 02, 2009

frugal friday: a triumphant return

Today's post is all about living within your means. It seems like a logical thing, but when you look about, you realise how few people actually do. We're in the market for a new car. A NEW car. At the age of 42 it'll be the first time I've ever bought a new car. But the 18-year-old down the road from me? Her first car was a new car... My first car was a 1974 Toyota Corolla.

I was watching Tabatha's Salon Takeover the other night {my new addiction}. She went in to help a struggling business and was amazed that the owner, who had so much debt, had an enormous house, a fridge-full of Kristal, a corvette and a wardrobe filled with $400 shirts and dozens of pairs of jeans.

When we were looking to buy our first place I was amazed at how much the bank's would offer us - a scary sum. But we sat down, worked out what repayment level we could afford on one income {for when I had a baby} and what we could afford if the rates ever climbed to the record high of 18 per cent... So instead of buying the house in Bronte we could afford, we bought a one-bedroom apartment with a sun-room {which had a bay window just the right size for a cot}.

Moving back to Newcastle meant we could afford more, but again we did the sums and kept it within a reasonable level.

You've got to stay within your comfort zone. No matter how much I earn I can't imagine there's anything I'd be prepared to pay full price for - either I buy it on sale, or I haggle a better price. Funnily I used to feel as though that was a 'poor person's' tactic - but it's not - the wealthiest people around will never pay full price. Friends of ours who are much, much better off than us are the perfect example. The husband never pays retail and even ended up taking a month's holiday to paint their enormous house himself because it would cost him less than paying a painter. I won't go that far, but we do paint the handrails on our verandas ourself because it's such a labour-intensive task that'd cost a fortune if anyone else were to do it.

Now as for the car, I've learned a few tricks.
1. Haggle: get all the extras thrown in for nix.
2. Buy on the last day of the month. Dealers have quotas that they must reach. If they're meant to sell 35 cars and have only sold 30 they'll do anything to sell another - even if it's at cost-price.
3. Play dealers off against each other, "Hmmm, it's nice, but I really preferred the silver one we saw down the road..."
4. Walk away if you don't get what you want - you'll find it down the road.

Wish me luck. I know it's the start of the month, but we're just starting to look and test-drive. At the end of the month we'll be looking seriously attractive to the dealers who should be knocking themselves out to sell us a car at a bargain price.


  1. Love Tabatha! Wasn't that episode a doozy? I love her tough love!!

    Great tips ma'lady on the car! Hey, need to take something offline with you - can you drop me an email ? xxx

  2. Completely agree - sometimes it has to be Louis Roderer and not Kristal...

    As for the car well you know we recently went down this road and while the process can be so urgy (the dance over the 'price' in the shitty back office and talk of paint protection - yuck!) the end result is SO worth it! Good luck x

  3. Nah Beth it's Veuve Amiot instead of Kristal!!!!

    But yes, not looking forward to the haggling - but looking forward to the new car!

    And oh Liss, my love for Tabatha is reaching obsession!

  4. You should take my mum with you when you haggle. She's a HOOT! And ruthless and kind of embarassing. She always comes across as this brisque hardarse but really, she always nabs the bargains.

    Good luck with the salespeople too - gosh they suck! I once had a major fight with a used care salesman who pretty much told me I knew nothing about cars because I was a woman. Bah to him!


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