I received an email asking me how do I live with prices so high. What we do is a lot of creative shopping opting for not necessarily the cheapest priced product, but for the product that will bring the most value to us. I know that sounds a little strange, so let me explain.
A lot of products out here come with bonus prizes – small toys or other things to encourage you to buy them. What I’ve found is that a lot of these things I can resell on auction and it makes purchasing the item free (although it does take time to do this). There are even some campaigns where you can make a good deal of money – items tied to popular movies usually do well.
When we go shopping, we always look for the latest toy campaigns and decide what we think we could sell the toys for. If we think we can break even or make a small profit, then we stock up on those items.
This idea originated from when I was in high school and collected baseball cards. At that time there were a set given out by Lays Potato Chips that were regional only to the Oakland A’s. These were hugely popular with my friends back east and I could trade them for practically anything because they just didn’t have access to them.
Here are some of the things I could find next to my desk that were prizes that I’ve sold before:
(These Pepsi batteries came on 1.5 liter bottles of Pepsi. I don’t think I’ve paid for cola the last 4 years I’ve lived here and we always have extra cases around)
(This was a Coca Cola campaign figure – again, the soda companies do a lot of these keeping us fully stocked)
(This was a campaign for instant curry with these disc cards inside the packages – we ate so much instant curry over the next 6 months that I can’t eat that brand anymore)
(Prizes aren’t only limited to food items. These stickers that came with razor cartridges meant I got free razor blades that lasted 2 years)
While the opportunities for me to do this than those in the US, there are still opportunities to do so as my previous baseball card example shows. In fact, there are a small number of shoppers that actively seek out these Hidden Store Discounts.
It pays to keep your eyes open for these opportunities. While getting items at a good price is great, getting them for free (or even making money off of them) is even better!