You’re past the cash register and have in hand your latest object of desire. Had any fringers witnessed your purchase, they’d be crestfallen over the flagrant sacrifice of innocent dollars. But don’t worry about that. Because you’ve used the preceding—MOOOOOO!!!—strategies, you’ve found a solid product at a great price. However, as any frugalist would tell you: don’t let up too early. Protect yourself from future losses with these post-purchase tactics.
□ 7.7.1 Confirm the Terms of Sale
When you buy at a store, before you leave the premises look at the receipt and confirm its accuracy. Make sure you have the correct item—the right model, size, color, etc.—and that you haven’t been overcharged. When you take a delivery, run all these checks before the truck leaves your driveway.
□ 7.7.2 Inspect for Imperfections
When you unpack your purchase, look for defects, malfunctions, scratches, and dents.
□ 7.7.3 Register With the Manufacturer
Do this to receive notice of recalls and product updates. Hint: you don’t have to answer survey questions about your income.
□ 7.7.4 Retain Receipts, Packaging, and Manuals
Keep sales slips and boxes in case of a possible return. File away manuals for future reference.
□ 7.7.5 Monitor Price Drops
For a month or so after buying, monitor ads and websites for lower prices. Many sellers match any price drops that occur within a few weeks after purchase. Some credit cards offer similar protection (see Chapter 49).
□ 7.7.6 Visit Chat Rooms
After you buy, chat rooms provide useful tips about items big (vehicles, appliances, computers) and small (computer peripherals, software). After I bought a used Toyota RAV4, I discovered it had the worst designed cup holders ever—so oversized that all but the biggest cups jostled about. At a RAV4 chat room, several posters recommended some after-market inserts. I bought them and can now drink and drive—nonalcoholic beverages only, of course.
□ 7.7.7 If You Really Love It, Buy Duplicates
If it’s a great product, perhaps you should buy extras. This protects you in case the manufacturer ceases business or halts production.
□ 7.7.8 Make the Item Last
Follow manufacturer guidelines and common sense in operation, storage, cleaning, maintenance, and repair.
□ 7.7.9 Keep Motivated With a “Checklist Savings Log”
Finally, each time you complete a purchase, enter your savings into a “checklist savings log” that tracks your progress and reinforces your SLN! habit. After all, you’ve just stashed away money that most consumers would have willingly surrendered. It’s time to celebrate with a modest use of metrics. For details about logs and other motivational tools, read Chapter 47.
* * *
That’s it! In seven chapters, you’ve learned to operate a checklist that guides you through any purchase of merchandise. A compact summary of the entire system appears in Appendix 1. Feel free to make a copy and take it with you whenever you shop. It’s more sedate than most fringers, and it still delivers big savings.
STRATEGY NO. 7: FOLLOW UP
□ 7.7.1 confirm terms of sale
[check receipt, shipping manifest]
□ 7.7.2 inspect for imperfections
[dings, defects, malfunctions]
□ 7.7.3 register with manufacturer
[for recalls, upgrades, news]
□ 7.7.4 retain receipts, packaging, manuals
[returns, resale, taxes]
□ 7.7.5 monitor price drops
[seller or credit card might match]
□ 7.7.6 visit chat rooms
[vehicles, appliances, software]
□ 7.7.7 buy duplicates
[if item discontinued]
□ 7.7.8 make the item last
[know rules for operation, upkeep]
□ 7.7.9 keep a “checklist savings log”
[see Chapter 47]