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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Sometimes I wonder how adept we are at evaluating true value and enjoyment and how much we are influenced by culture, peer pressure and just the act of spending money. I've noticed that things often loose their appeal or value as soon as they become free.

For example, yesterday I went tobogganing with my youngest daughter and we had the hill to ourselves. Ottawa has several free public toboggan hills. When I lived in Vancouver, where we would have to drive for about 40 minutes and pay $6.00 per person there was such a line-up that you'd have to spend as much time waiting as tobogganing. Or do you remember being younger and pouring quarters into Packman machines? Now I have a little device for the TV and I get bored after 2 games. Or who do we give the gifts to at Christmas? - the volunteer coach or scout leader, or the relatively well-paid teacher?

Now I realize that there could be other reasons for some of these things -- maybe the availability of toboggan hills means that Ottawa residents can participate more often during the week and perhaps I've just outgrown Packman, but I'm convinced that value is often warped by price, what seems "cool", or what the celebrities are currently doing. I know that when my mother sees an item marked "40% off" that she suddenly looses the ability to evaluate the item's worth at the sale price and convinces herself that she is getting a great bargain (something I'm sure that retailers are well aware of). I do realize that sometimes value is related to cost -- I guess our job is to evaluate the rationale for the spending and how much value we are actually getting. I'm sure at some point most of us have had an expensive meal and thought, "I could get a better meal for 12 bucks at the restaurant in my neighborhood".

- So what free or low cost activities do you find to be a great "bargain"?

- What high priced items or activities do you consider to be a bargain? (I believe there are some, but it is very individual.)

- What items or activities do you feel are not anywhere near worthy of the price people pay for them?
 

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Sometimes I wonder how adept we are at evaluating true value and enjoyment and how much we are influenced by culture, peer pressure and just the act of spending money. I've noticed that things often loose their appeal or value as soon as they become free.

For example, yesterday I went tobogganing with my youngest daughter and we had the hill to ourselves. Ottawa has several free public toboggan hills. When I lived in Vancouver, where we would have to drive for about 40 minutes and pay $6.00 per person there was such a line-up that you'd have to spend as much time waiting as tobogganing. Or do you remember being younger and pouring quarters into Packman machines? Now I have a little device for the TV and I get bored after 2 games. Or who do we give the gifts to at Christmas? - the volunteer coach or scout leader, or the relatively well-paid teacher?

Now I realize that there could be other reasons for some of these things -- maybe the availability of toboggan hills means that Ottawa residents can participate more often during the week and perhaps I've just outgrown Packman, but I'm convinced that value is often warped by price, what seems "cool", or what the celebrities are currently doing. I know that when my mother sees an item marked "40% off" that she suddenly looses the ability to evaluate the item's worth at the sale price and convinces herself that she is getting a great bargain (something I'm sure that retailers are well aware of). I do realize that sometimes value is related to cost -- I guess our job is to evaluate the rationale for the spending and how much value we are actually getting. I'm sure at some point most of us have had an expensive meal and thought, "I could get a better meal for 12 bucks at the restaurant in my neighborhood".

1) So what free or low cost activities do you find to be a great "bargain"?

2) What high priced items or activities do you consider to be a bargain? (I believe there are some, but it is very individual.)

3) What items or activities do you feel are not anywhere near worthy of the price people pay for them?
1) I enjoy hiking and outdoor skating (ice hockey) a lot. As these are free (except for gas costs to get there and equipment), they are a tremendous value to me.

2) I pay about $700 a year to play ice hockey, about $1100 a year if I splurge and decide to play over summer as well. However, I really love playing so it's a price I'm willing to pay.

3) downhill skiing definitely tops this list for me. I live in Calgary, so I have some good skiing quite close; however, I can't bring myself to spend $80+food+gas+equipment rental to go stand in line at the chair lift. In fact, it boggles my mind that so many people are willing to do it. I remember as a kid my parents took me skiing quite often, and it was always fun.. But evidently not fun enough to spend my own money on it!
 

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So what free or low cost activities do you find to be a great "bargain"?
My wife and I jog together. The cost involves running shoes (every 6 months or so) and winter wear.

What high priced items or activities do you consider to be a bargain? (I believe there are some, but it is very individual.)
My wife and I enjoy relaxing on cruise ships. This year we're in the Mediterranean with a focus on Spain and Italy. I think we pay in the ballpark of $6K per cruise. I'm sure we could find something cheaper, but it would probably involve more screaming kids or drunken college students. It is only a 'bargain' because we enjoy it. If we didn't enjoy that kind of thing, I'm sure it wouldn't be a 'bargain'.

What items or activities do you feel are not anywhere near worthy of the price people pay for them?
My guess is that anything that we wouldn't enjoy doing would probably be considered a rip off. Ski resorts, adventure tours, African safaris, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I'll just throw in my own 2 cents worth, since I didn't in the opening post.

So what free or low cost activities do you find to be a great "bargain"?

- Library books, magazines and DVDs. By reserving, I can often get new release DVDs at the same time that they hit the video store shelves. (I'm not sure that publicly funded institutions should be competing with video stores, but since the city takes the money out of my pocket in advance, I might as well make use of it.)
- Public recreation. Local cross country ski trails, toboggan hills, outdoor ice rinks (especially the canal), hiking and mountain biking trails, etc.
- Free concerts, especially on Canada Day. We've had bands like Loverboy, April Wine at the local one and my wife went to see Sarah McLaughlin on Parliament Hill.
- Cycling and rollerblading.
- Kayaking or canoeing. After the purchase of the boat, I've got access to several pristine, scenic, tranquil areas for no cost.

What high priced items or activities do you consider to be a bargain? (I believe there are some, but it is very individual.)

I believe that air travel is a fantastic bargain. I can pay perhaps $800 for a return plane ticket and the next day be walking in a medieval village or castle.

What items or activities do you feel are not anywhere near worthy of the price people pay for them?

- I think that a couple owning a third car almost never makes sense and sometimes even a second car is not necessary.
- Expensive recreational items that the owner can only use a few weeks out of the year such as RVs, sail boats, etc. (It may make sense if the person can use them for most of the year, otherwise they should rent.)
- Sometimes designer label products would never be purchased if they didn't have the label. There are exceptions when the label does indicate quality -- for example Toyota is a label I trust and regarding designer labels, I've found Polo shirts generally last well for years. However, I've often seen $100 jeans that people wouldn't pay $30 for if not for the label.
- Any form of gambling including lottery tickets. (I do admit to buying about 2 per year.)
 

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- Library books, magazines and DVDs. By reserving, I can often get new release DVDs at the same time that they hit the video store shelves.
I second that - tremendous resource.
My family thrives on our local library collection.
This is one resource for which I often don't mind paying the penalty fees when I return something late - it all goes into making this service better and make them acquire even more items.
 

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I second that - tremendous resource.
My family thrives on our local library collection.
This is one resource for which I often don't mind paying the penalty fees when I return something late - it all goes into making this service better and make them acquire even more items.
Libary is great! DVD's, books, magazines, all free. We'll use it even more when the family population increases.

On the items that aren't worth what people pay - outdoor backyard pools in Canada. I've never had one, but it seems like a tremendous amount of money to pay for something you can only use 3 months a year.
 

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Movies and Art

For some sedentary entertainment I sometimes take in a movie here in Ottawa.On Tuesdays many of the up to date movie houses ,like Silver City ,cost four to five dollars.

The Rainbow Cinemas at St.Laurent Shopping Center cost four dollars everyday and two dollars on Tuesday. The screening rooms are not state of the art , but it is still a good deal.

Being an early retiree I can take advantage of these offerings.

Several of the national Museums, like The National Art Gallery have free or reduced admission fees at certain times. Best to check out their web sites to find out when.
 

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Writing another post made me think of this thread.

One thing that I think people value much more if they (the person attending) are paying for it themselves is post secondary university. So this is a case where I think if the person is paying for it, they do value it more.

I remember working my my butt off in university to ensure my GPA was in the top percentile so that I would get university grants and scholarships so that my out of pocket cost was as low as possible each year. This resulted in me really learning a lot, taking it very seriously, and I still had a lot of fun at the same time!

I also remember having friends who's parents paid for their university degree and most of them did not give a you know what about their classes or their grades. Not suggesting everyone is like this, but it sure seemed a lot were.

At the time I thought it unfair of my father to not contribute to my education even though he could have, but now I really thank him for it. We plan on doing the same thing with our kids, should they decide to go to university.
 

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Two great bargains community centers for activities and early years centers for children's activities both free.

Now my family love bargain shops like Value Village and Goodwill but I have found that i can do really well by waiting for sales and using coupons and they stuff is not used and I can try more than one style and size too.

The internet is a great deal too offering hours of entertainment and stock info and news. I used to pay 3$ a day for newspapers not anymore .
 

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lol.. good question.
I want to ride the VIA Rail... It's about $650 for 12 days of non-stop travel..
In 12 days, I can travel from Regina to Halifax , then to Vancouver and back... on the train... all for $650... (it doesn't include meals etc though)

That's a pretty reasonable price for travelling across Canada twice.

- What high priced items or activities do you consider to be a bargain? (I believe there are some, but it is very individual.)
 

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monty, VIA has not run through Regina since 1990.

But your point is well taken. Only thing is that you'll need to upgrade to some sort of a sleeping accomodation, which will probably put your price up to the $2-3K range. Still a good deal in my opinion when you consider the experience is something on many a bucket list.
 

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- So what free or low cost activities do you find to be a great "bargain"?
DVDs of favourite TV shows like Star Trek, Heartland and Corner Gas.

- What items or activities do you feel are not anywhere near worthy of the price people pay for them?
Cell phones, top notch cable and most other electronic gadgets. Also anything which is marketed for "one low price of only $x per month"...over a year it's quite a bit of money. Better to have the money in my pocket than theirs.
 

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on traveling:

When we have traveled, the most memorable times have not involved expensive hotels or sightseeing destinations (within reason, of course -- I won't stay in a hostel, but neither will I fork over $500 for a five-star hotel, when the point is to get out of the hotel room) (but this also depends on the country and the neighbourhood -- e.g., a different analysis applies to Mexico than it does for Spain).

Our last trip was a couple of years ago and I can consciously recall visiting a number of museums and galleries. Definitely fun and wouldn't *not* do that... But what I remember most vividly are the crazy, random moments. A guy walked past us on the street once -- he appeared to be wearing a shirt with a safety-jacket over top, some sneakers, and no pants. Or underwear (not that I looked that closely). Love it! Or getting caught in a rainstorm. Or visiting the old-school olive presses that had been used for hundreds of years before being overtaken by mechanized factories.

It's a question of comfort level, personal interests, and values, I guess. Some people love resort beaches & swim-up bars, but I go a bit stir-crazy after 48 hours with nothing to learn.

On education: ssimps, preach it!
 

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Hi:

Bargain: Any bicycle at about $500 retail. For this much money, you get a vastly better machine than my old Raleigh Super Record circa 1977 ~ $400. And that piece of junk did about 75,000 km IIRC. A bicycle will outlast you and get you around for next to nothing, not to mention health benefits. Just don't get it stolen, I've lost two.

Not bargain: Electronics, because it goes obsolete so quickly. I get most of my electronic toys used or free. I must have 3 or 4 stereo sets about. The one set in the shop, the amplifier was given to me by my boss circa 1982 and it was old then. I try to stay well behind the curve on computers, but my wife differs here, so money is unfortunately flowing unnecessarily in this direction now.

Oh well, she let me drag home 700 pounds of bandsaw the other day. Give and take.

hboy43
 

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- What items or activities do you feel are not anywhere near worthy of the price people pay for them?
Brand new cars.

(One of the few commonly-purchased items that I can think of which drops thousands of dollars in value the instant you drive it off the lot.)


K.
 

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Brand new cars.

(One of the few commonly-purchased items that I can think of which drops thousands of dollars in value the instant you drive it off the lot.)


K.
This is true, but if you plan to drive the car into the ground, the loss in value isn't quite as important as if you plan to sell the car in a few years. I admit to having bought three new cars in my life (all the rest were used), and I guess the control freak in me likes to know everything that was ever done to my car and how it was driven. It's irrational, but that peace of mind is worth a few thousand dollars to me. So I prefer to buy new, but I keep the new car for at least 10 years. I drove my last new car, a Honda Civic wagon, for 402,000 kilometers before I sold it to a family who drove it another 160,000 km before they sold it on to someone else; I currently drive a Toyota Matrix that I bought new with cash, and am aiming for roughly the same ballpark km before getting rid of it, although the body might rust out first.

I had bad luck with most of my used cars, and eventually calculated that I had spent more (cumulatively) on repairs than I would have spent on a new car.
 

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This is a great thread.
So what free or low cost activities do you find to be a great "bargain"?

Cross country skiing...where I live its flat and open so a person is only limited by their endurance.

The library...I read a lot and am happy to purchase books to build my library but I often read them first from the library before deciding if its something I want to spend $30+ on.



What high priced items or activities do you consider to be a bargain? (I believe there are some, but it is very individual.)


I agree with the person who mentioned air travel...I can get to the coast to visit my Mom on a 2 hour flight with Wesjet. Or, I can suffer through a two day trip by car...my time is definitely worth the cost of an airline ticket!


Also, I'm a perfume nut and think its worth it to spend a lot of money on good perfume...its a source of great pleasure to me and a bottle, properly cared for, lasts years and years.

What items or activities do you feel are not anywhere near worthy of the price people pay for them?

I think people pay way too much money for TV and cell phone service. I was at a friend's place today and she blithely told me they pay about $80/month for their satellite service but they can't get Oprah so they pay another $50/month for cable too. Ouch!:)
 
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