Time vs. Money. Why you should barter.

Time vs. Money. Why you should barter.

When I first went to Thailand I was young and stupid. I remember reading Rich dad, Poor dad, don’t get me wrong, I think it is a great worthwhile read. I also learnt that everything could be bartered.

  • T-shirts
  • Tuk Tuk (Taxi) fares
  • DVDs
  • Drinks at a bar
  • Everything

I also think bartering was a valuable lesson to learn, but I should have also spent some time chasing a lovely young girl named Olga, and when my dad went to a Thai Boxing gym to train one morning, I most definitely should have gone with him. They were two free experiences money will never be able to buy. Although I did not properly immerse myself in Thai culture, and experience everything there was to experience, I did learn that everything is able to be bartered, and I have adopted that attitude ever since.

Now, I no longer advocate getting everything for the cheapest possible price. When I first went to Thailand, when buying some shirts I found out I could get them for almost nothing. I used that knowledge dogmatically on every single deal.

Nowadays if I travel overseas I will barter the merchant down to the lowest possible price, because quite frankly, I enjoy the bartering process. However I also realise this guy has a family to feed, an extra $2 per shirt is very little to me and a lot to him, so I “accidentally” forget my change or something similar and I think everyone wins. I am not as nice with huge corporations, while they provide a valuable service and deserve to make money, it is not my responsibility to just hand over money to them, and they will never do something that is not in their best interest. Always, always barter.

I have said this to people before and they don’t believe me, and a lot just aren’t used to doing it, especially with something like a bank. I know families that are paying loans 1% more than they could be, because they just don’t know how the system works. Now 1% on a $500,000 loan is $5,000 a year, for these people, I’ll stress the point, you could buy a new TV every year just by asking for a discount.

The same applies to existing financial products, such as insurance and loans, after 3-5 years depending on the bank or insurer, they have probably crept your rate up meaning you are paying too much. Call them for a discount, literally that simple, if they are unwilling to help out, or if you just don’t like that sort of thing speak to your broker, they don’t always review your existing products for you because of trail commission, but they should be scared to lose that trail if you go somewhere else, so they will help you out if you ask for it.

“Wise with the penny, a fool with the pound.”

I think that quote really has something about it. I try to tell people I know to be smart with where they put their effort and why, are you obsessing over $0.10/litre in petrol prices, which on a 80 litre tank that you fill up every fortnight is $208 a year, when you could be saving $1,000′s a year with a simple phone call to your bank manager/broker or an alternative insurance company? Getting wealthy means spending more and more time getting the big stuff right, and naturally as you only have so much time in the day, some of the small stuff should fall by the wayside, because unlike the young me in Thailand, don’t spend all your time chasing money, there are better experiences in life to be had.

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