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Managing Your Money

Shop smart to save the elusive shilling

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It is human nature to make a saving in every financial commitment or transaction. Thus it was refreshing to hear two women in a restaurant, a few days ago, discuss the best ways to get a deal in everything.

The first one got very cross with the other one for suggesting that they go look for school bags for their school going children for this first term and gave her a few financial tips, which I freely share here.

Never buy anything when everyone else is buying the same item. One, the seller will go for the kill so your bargaining will land on deaf ears. Secondly, you have no choice but get that item at whatever price the seller bills it.

Even if you walk away, the seller will get another buyer. At this point, demand is higher than supply. It is the seller's paradise. The best time to buy bags, the friend said, is mid-December when everyone else's interest is elsewhere, buying items for Christmas.

When they focus on uniforms and school books in January, it is time for the smart shopper to buy clothes. Indeed clothes that were going for a fortune just before Christmas and the New Year sell at sometimes less than half the festive price. The clothes are still fashionable.

Do not fear pushing a seller to get the best deal. The seller cannot sell below his or her profit margin. When you walk away to indicate that you can only give the price you offered and the seller calls you back and the transaction is complete, do not think you have exploited him; it is only that you have bought it at slightly lower the profit margin he had set.

 But if you walk away and the seller does not call you back, then it is a pointer that you cannot buy the item at the price you offered; that its actual cost is slightly higher than your estimate.

When buying, do not show desperation. Neither should you expressly show that you love the item of interest and you have to have it. When the seller notices this (and they quickly do), they will place a premium on the item. But if you show disinterest, you are likely to get a deal.

Avoid making purchases of items whose prices fluctuate in the festive seasons. This month, for example, is the best time to buy goats, chicken and other commodities that were unaffordable just a few weeks ago.

 If you have some piece of land, you can keep these for fattening for future festivities. In the process, you will get additions such as eggs and kids. Most sellers at this point are parents trying to raise school fees. They are desperate sellers and you will get a good deal from the purchase.

In a buying and selling contract, inhibitions such as buying from a relative should not discourage you from getting something you really want. As an investor, your vision should be how to make profit and expand or diversify your investments.

An uncle who was selling prime land in an urban centre gave the nephew the first opportunity to buy. The nephew was uncomfortable, thinking that his cousins might in future turn against him when the property appreciates and say he 'conned' the uncle to selling him at throwaway. He hesitated.

The uncle sold the property to someone else. What is the point? These fears drag people down. Just overcome them. If you do not buy another will take up the offer.

Buy and sell when necessary – after it has appreciated- make your profit and move on. It is not a must that you buy property for keeps. Many wealthy people buy and sell land – they have no attachment. It is a commodity that earns them extra money and moves them to another investment level.

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