Was $22…

Cheaper than dirt, coupons, discounts, and bargains. Are any of these buying methods useful to reach your prosperity goals?

Why do we view people that are professional discount hunters with such high regard? Where does that come from? Let’s explore it.

I think a lot of the reasons Christians are so motivated to be discount hunters is that they believe this is the true meaning of “biblical stewardship.” What does that mean, you might ask?

The concept of biblical stewardship is this: All resources belong to God, who is the owner of all things. He has temporarily entrusted some resources to me. Eventually, I will have to give an account to God for how I use his resources.

From this, most people think that the practical application would mean to really “stretch” the dollars you have. Don’t waste a penny. See how far you can make it go. Right?

I understand this concept, and I can see how one can believe it. It does make sense, after all. If you’re going to account for what money you’ve been given by God, he’s going to want to see what you’ve bought with it. Did you get a large collection of stuff?

I once heard a statement that went like this: “Do you want a 20% raise in your income? That’s easy, just buy everything at a 20% discount.” When I first heard this, I thought it was some wonderful wisdom. It certainly makes sense.

But what is the underlying thread that runs through this phrase? How about: getting something for nothing. But it could be more than that though; it is getting something more than what you’ve earned. If you come to expect it on all your transactions, then I would simply call this: “greed.”

For example, when I go out specifically-looking for the bargain sale, I’ve crossed the line from being a good steward to being greedy. Does that make sense to you?

You can’t create a good deed in one area if you have to commit a bad deed in another.

Yesterday, as I was reading my bible, this verse struck me:

A stingy man is eager to get rich
and is unaware that poverty awaits him. Proverbs 28:22 (NIV)

This verse got me to think of my own customers. I thought about the ones that came to me that I could tell were looking to buy stuff at a cheaper than dirt discount. What were the common traits of these people?

First of all, they were all “pains in the neck.” The customer that asks for a discount is never satisfied with what they receive. For some reason, whatever they get always has a flaw and they want additional restitution. They complain loudly and often. And they are eager to share their complaints with others on forums and chat rooms.

Second, their purchases tend to be on the small side. They want just one or two inexpensive items, where the profit margins are minuscule.

Third, and I can’t prove this 100%, but their buying patterns hint at this. I believe that they are mostly in the lower income levels. And that is really the whole point of this article. They are stuck in the hole of low income, and they don’t realize that they are going to stay there a long time.

The stingy discount hunter that is looking for cheaper than dirt prices, is by definition: greedy. But why does poverty await him, as it says in the bible?

My first observation is that stingy discount hunters spend a lot of time and energy going after the discount. The bigger the discount, the more time they’ll spend searching for it. They want something for nothing. But the cost they pay is in their “time.”

Rich people view “time” as one of their most important resources. They know that they only have so many ticks of the clock available in their life, so they are not going to waste them on the search for a few pennies in savings. If they make $50 an hour in wages, it would be wasteful to spend an hour to save $10 on a purchase. They overpaid by an additional $40 on the purchase because of the value of their time.

Second, the rich person is not likely to be friends with the person that is looking for cheaper than dirt prices. Why? Because they tend to see these people as having a pessimistic view of the world, and they don’t want to be around that.

The discount hunter is not someone that thinks they’ll be paid higher in the future than they are paid today. They don’t see many opportunities surrounding them that will allow them to earn a lot more next week or next year. Whether you agree or not, I see it manifested as an attitude of pessimism that permeates their life.

In addition, the discount hunter sees no problem transferring “financial loss” to someone else. “If they are willing to sell at a discount, then they must be able to afford the loss in income. And besides, I am poorer than they are, and therefore I need the money more than they do.”

Who Cares?

Ask yourself, if you were a rich person , would you want to be around those kind of people? Really?

You might be asking yourself, “Who cares? Why would I want to be friends with rich people?”

Because rich people have more wisdom than poor people. Do you think they got rich because they were stupid? Or do you think you might learn something from them if you could get close to them?

It goes both ways, you know. If you want to be friends with a rich person in order to learn from them, they also have to want to be friends with you. If they see you as someone that is only going to “use” them or drain them of energy because of pessimism, they won’t waste their time on you. In that case, you’ll never get into the inner circle where real wealth-building wisdom is at. You’ll always be on the “outside” of all the “insider secrets.”

Finally, and I think this is the most important reason that the stingy person that is constantly looking for cheaper than dirt prices is destined for poverty is that they are frittering away that precious commodity of “time.”

Where does wealth flow from?

I believe that money flows to the person that is solving problems for other people. This is apparent in the bible from verses like:

A generous man will prosper;
he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. Proverbs 11:25 (NIV)

If you are spending your time on “you,” such as searching for the best discount, then you have lost the “time” that could have been used on someone else’s problem. You’re not investing your time in other people. You’re investing your time in your own selfish motivations, “I want the bigger discount for ‘me.'”

You really have to grasp and believe this simple concept: “Money flows to the person that solves problems for other people.” Once you truly understand this, then wealth is easier – just look for problems to solve, and spend your time solving them. It follows that your value to others goes way up. And once you start making $50 per hour, you’ll see that spending an hour of time for a $10 discount really means that you’ve overpaid by $40.

Biblical stewardship means more than stretching your dollars. When you are called to account for the talents that God has given you, it isn’t for how far you stretched your dollars that you’ll be rewarded. It is for how you’ve invested your talents, and what kind of return you’ve made on them (see Matthew 25: 14-28). If all you’ve accomplished is that you’ve saved a pile of money by being stingy, that means you’ve wasted a lot of opportunities to help others.

Be Fruitful. That means to help others; solve their problems. It is the way to make money — God’s way.


Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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  • http://www.AprilBraswell.com Dating After 40 Expert

    Hi Tim,

    I love the “cheaper than dirt” discount as you talk about it. Indeed, being stingy is always a poverty mentality.

    Isn’t it interesting in how that comes out in dating behavior, typically it is obvious within the first 4 dates in both the woman and the man even when he pays for the date.

    Excellent points, as ever!

    Happy Dating and Relationships,

    April Braswell
    Dating After 40 Expert

  • Austin

    This is well-said on subject of a guy who would go around town gathering ketchup packets then go to use them – Opening each one up individually – then filling up a ketchup bottle with them. Did someone ask him to do this in this manner? If someone did, OK but a suggestion to just buy Ketchup for $1.49 (Or whatever low price) and use the time to do something else in a long route is more prosperous. Does an illusion (to those who subscribe to it) piss opportunity away to nothing?

  • Austin

    Hey, A thought came to me today: Usually, If an employee ends up getting put up higher in a corporation are they or are they not demoting themselves in a way by serving more people? They have to lower their pride and throw it away to go higher, yes?