A Modern Man's Guide to Bargaining: How to Haggle and Get the Best Price...without Acting Like A Jerk
Everyone loves to save their hard-earned cash. So spending as little as possible while getting the most value is always the best way to go. But how can you make that happen without acting like a jerk in the process? Here are a few tried-and-true tips.
Last night I was in a conversation with some friends about wallets because we all remembered being in junior high, and the duct tape wallet was a pretty big fad... for eighth graders. None of us had the time, cash, or skills (most likely) to create awesome leather wallets like we might have liked, but I always was a fan of the DIY ethos, especially when it comes to such a personal item I tend to use everyday.
If you've ever been mugged (or accidentally lost your wallet in a river like I've actually done, TWICE), you know the insane pain it can be to replace everything. While there's a good case to be made for why you should immediately photocopy the contents of your wallet, there are lots of other great ways to reduce the fat wad in your pocket and streamline your life with redundancies to spare.
While proper tipping is a sign of a good manners, knowing how much- and when to- is one of those life skills I think I was supposed to pick up by osmosis. Generally speaking I’ve done my best to lean on the generous side, but I’ve definitely guessed my way through a handful of social situations. Thankfully, this long-form article written by an academic - and former waiter - takes a look at some of the large-scale statistics on tipping in different situations across America.
When it comes to getting the most from an everyone-has-a limited clothing budget, the two most helpful questions to think about are "what's the best men's style value in terms of long-lasting quality vs. price" and "on what should I save, and on what should I invest?"
In the first half of the 20th century, the average U.S. citizen spent about 12-14% on clothing. Today, we spend only 3%, and yet we own about 5x the amount of clothes. In the vein of fast food, economists are calling this "fast fashion," and like that extra value meal, it's not very good for us.
Like many things, the world of spirits and liquor is a spectrum. On one end, there's the only-there-for-ABV stuff that college kids drink, on the other, the collections and high-end bottles of fine connoisseurs, with plenty of options in between. And while there are the days when something special is the only way to go, there are also plenty of time when you want a budget bottle that works: something for mixing, something to bring to a party, or a good-enough bottle to share with guests.
Just before the month began, I detailed my household's plans to not buy anything during the month of October. You can read the whole scenario here, but the summary is, simply: we wanted to take a break from consumerism, and attempted to use money only on bills, fixed costs, and two highly organized grocery trips. And, we did it. Except when we didn't. Here's how it went:
Starting next Tuesday, October 1st, my household will not be buying any stuff. For the following thirty-one days, we won't be purchasing a single, non-consumable item.
After spending some time interviewing Helaine Olen, author of Pound Foolish, Harold Pollack distilled her thoughts - basically, a summary of the entire self-help personal finance industry - into a short series of maxims, all of which are available for free from your local library. And the whole thing fits on a single index card.
I mentioned last week that I'd traveled to my hometown for my grandmother's funeral, and to help begin the process of cleaning and organizing her home where she'd lived for the last fifty-two years. I found all sorts of interesting stuff (more to come soon), most of which was still as functional as when my grandparents bought it decades ago, with only a bit of dust or rust to show.
So, when I stumbled across this old booklet in a filing cabinet, I was particularly drawn to the quote on the back, which begins, "It's unwise to pay too much...but it it's worse to pay too little."
Though the quality and integrity of handmade selvedge jeans made of raw denim is apparent to anyone who actually owns a pair, their steep initial investment price can hold many of us back. Including...me. I've got my eyes on a few different styles from a variety of makers, but that initial $250-350 can be
Sometimes, a man just needs to look like a million bucks. But, of course, no one can actually afford to spend a million bucks, nor for most of us, a thousand bucks. But, like with all things, some smart shopping can net you a very sharp suit for around $300, while looking like you spent ten times as much.
On ManMade, we've always made the argument to buy high-quality goods made with reliable materials, even if it means you ultimately end up being able to afford less. This applies to men's clothing and style items, which will last longer and be more versatile, and all kinds of quality goods created by skilled workers and artists.
But beyond the ethical and aesthetic reasons, spending a little mre also makes financial sense as well, and will most often end up saving you money in
When I was a kid, I loved nearly everything about Ducktales - the myth and culture-based plotlines, that guy that could count everything really fast then turn into a robot, to the oh-so-evil and impossibly named Flintheart Glomgold. But, even as a five-year-old, I was a skeptic about the famous Moneybin. I even remember asking my dad how it was possible to land on a giant pile of coins and sinking in, instead of just going splat on the surface. I even got out a jar of pennies and jammed them with my fist to see if I could break through.
For years, ladies have had their unbelievably priced items of high design and haute couture: million dollar dresses worn to awards ceremonies ("on loan," of course), or jewel encrusted handbags sewn together with unicorn hair and phoenix feathers. Or something.
Now, the fellows have a chance to own a super, unbelievably expensive high-end product: the Iridium razor by Zafirro, which clocks in at a cool $100,000.
How's it get to cost twice as much as the yearly income of the average U.S. citizen?
Integration with smart phone cases be damned, there's a reason that standard wallet design hasn't changed in at least a century.
It can't really be improved upon.
Sure, I imagine that the credit card slots have been standardized, and clear spots for photo IDs are probably a later addition, and, of course, keeping photos in wallets wasn't really an option until those were affordable, but the basic wallet design is here to stay.
So, I guess we should all probably learn how to make one.