4.27.2011

Bigger is Better, Especially if it's Free

The last few mornings, I've really enjoyed listening to the birds outside. Man, I'm getting old real fast.

Americans are funny people. I mean, not to say that people from other countries aren't funny - because they definitely are (and maybe I'll share some stories about this in the future) - but Americans are just especially peculiar. We like things the way they are, and if someone tries to fix things, change things, or even suggest that we might be wrong in the way we do something, we throw a fit, call a lawyer, or vote someone out of office. I happen to be one of those funny Americans...

If there's one thing that we Americans love, it is television. It is the strangest thing, really. Think about it! We gaze into this shiny box, hoping it will enlighten us, or at the very least, entertain us. Sometimes we stare at it for hours on end, hoping to numb ourselves from the world outside of the box or to momentarily replace reality with a show based on reality. 


Just imagine how strange we probably seem to our pets. Our dogs, cats, and kangaroos follow us around all day, hoping for attention, and when they finally catch up with us as we sit down to relax, we shoo them away to stare at a box. I'm sure they're thinking, "What's the big deal? I've got a box too! So what if mine smells funny? Why don't we stare at that all day? And WHY AREN'T YOU PETTING ME?"

You get the gist.

But like I said, I'm a funny American, too. Not that I'm funny. I'm mostly just American and funny by association. However, I am funny in the way that I like television. I enjoy watching TV - I pretty much do it everyday. I guess I'm imperfect in that regard. However, I'm funny about paying for cable. I refuse to let someone gouge my eye out every month the bill rolls around - I only have so many eyes to go around, and I think Kalyn is rather fond of hers, so that's out of the question. Instead, we only pay $5/month for the super basic cable that companies don't advertise, and we have Netflix. Oh, Netflix...

Naturally, then, as a funny American who likes to watch television, I'm infused with this natural tendency toward something that most (if not all) Americans understand: "Bigger is better." Especially if bigger means less strain on my eyes and more movie nights at my house. However, I'm not one to keep up with the Joneses, so I don't feel the need to blow my scholarship money on the newest 3D TV - I'm holding out for 4D. 

Instead, I tend to be rather picky about how much money I spend on electronics and appliances. I don't like to buy things new, and I almost never buy them from retail stores. I guess I'm just cheap and enjoy finding a good deal when I have the time. And this year, I decided that I had the time. That is why one of my goals for the year was to get a bigger TV... without losing a single penny.

Sounds crazy, right? I figured it was plausible when I made the goal. Actually doing it was another thing, though.

At the beginning of the year, we owned a 26" SOYO LCD TV. Never heard of SOYO? No worries - I hadn't either. And in case you're wondering, they're out of business.


I didn't mind our old TV, and honestly, I'd be fine if we still had it. However, I'm not one to set a goal and then completely ignore it, so I at least had to try and figure this out. 

The first step in the process was finding a bigger TV at a cheap enough price. If I found a bigger TV, but it cost $400, I wasn't going to be able to cover it by selling the SOYO. Thus, I searched, and searched, and searched.... and searched. And it took a while, but I eventually landed on a pretty good deal on Amazon. Someone was selling a used TCL 32" LCD TV for $240.97. Never heard of TCL? Me either, but I figured I would chance it after having read about a gazillion reviews.


Thankfully, I didn't need to cover every single penny of the $240.97. At some point around this time, LivingSocial (an online coupon/deal site), had a sale on Amazon gift cards. You could purchase $20 for $10. And as soon as I saw the deal, I was all over it. I didn't know what I would use it for, but I knew that free money was free money. Thus, the total of the TV decreased $10 to $230.97.

Next was the hard part. I had to sell the SOYO for a reasonable amount of money. I preferred to cover all of the $230.97 by selling it, but if it didn't work out, I knew I could find other ways to make up for the loss. So I did what any responsible college student would do - I put the TV on Craigslist.

Now mind you, the Craigslist in Manhattan, KS is, in a word, poop. Everyone on it is a college student, doesn't have enough money to buy anything, wants to charge full price for what they're selling, and won't pay full price for what they're buying. It's a strange world, but it works. 

So I proceeded to post the TV, and a couple of weeks passed with very little response. I figured the asking price was too high (I had originally listed it at $250), so I lowered it to $225. Then people started knocking. I eventually got someone who agreed to purchase the TV for $215, so we made it happen. A few hours later, I was inches away from meeting my goal - I just had to cover the last $15.97. 

Now how on earth was I supposed to do this? Sell something else? I considered it, but couldn't really come up with anything. And then it dawned on me: I still have an account with ChaCha.

Yup, you heard me right. ChaCha. 

You know, the company that claims to have all the answers, but really just sends you bologna when you want to know something important.

Yeah, that ChaCha.

Thus, I proceeded to work my face off for the last $15.97 to make this goal happen. Answering questions at about $0.12/question is tedious, monotonous, and straight up annoying. Oh, and it takes forever. Thankfully, though, I survived and managed to rack up the cash to cover every last penny of this deal... and then some! 

So I did it. It seemed impossible, but I did it. Now I just wonder if I'll be able to do it again next year...
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Do you have any goals in your life that seem "impossible" or just don't make sense? What's something you dream of doing (big or little) that doesn't add up on paper, but makes sense in your heart? 

  I wanna hear from YOU about these things! Leave a comment or e-mail me at awaller1990@gmail.com!

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4 comments:

Heather said...

Ha! I had never heard of that ChaCha site until now.

scarlett said...

epic. epic. epic. i will have to see this new TV. (: and you have to exclude your mother on the "pets just want to be petted when we are watching TV." mom does it all the time (:

Laura said...

Culture can teach us to measure the "good life", all of our "stuff", instead of love, kindness and community. OR is the basis of nature coorperation and democracy or are the people who believe this a product of culture? We tend to believe we cannot live without TV and cable , but we can and it doesn't have to be the biggest and the best. Hope you find what you want!!

Alicia said...

LOL. I love your post! Very responsible, innovative and frugal on your part. Enjoy your new TV. I bet you will enjoy your new TV even more because of what you did to earn it.

Kangaroos? LOL! :)

By the way, I use Swagbucks to earn Amazon $. For every 450 points I earn a $5 gift card. Basically, I earn the points from doing normal internet searches that I would do anyway. I highly recommend it!

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