Opportunities can present themselves at not so opportune times. If you don’t have the means to take advantage of an opportunity you could hurt yourself by trying to take advantage and incurring debt to do so. If you go into debt trying to save some money it will very likely defeat the purpose. There is a simple solution to this dilemma… Enter the cash reserve.
There are a ton of advantages to having a decent sized cash reserve. Keep in mind, my cash reserve is not my emergency fund. Instead, my cash reserve is just a bit of extra money I keep on the sidelines in case an opportunity arises that is just too good to pass up.
Getting a Great Deal
Say I run into someone I’ve done business with before that is in a tight spot and needs cash. They might offer to provide a service or sell some goods at a steep discount that is well below market value. Why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of that if it helps both parties? Granted, you need the cash reserve to do so responsibly.
I had a similar opportunity when I bought my new car a few years ago. I bought when car companies were hurting for sales badly and got a great deal because of it. More recently I ran into one of those opportunities at a home improvement store and I am VERY glad I had the cash reserves available in order to take advantage of the opportunity.
Our Recent Cash Reserve Deal
We recently bought a new house and unfortunately the seller decided that the window treatments, including the curtain rods, were not going to be sold with the house. She did leave the window blinds behind, but we knew we’d eventually want to put curtains up in the windows as well. The sliding glass doors had no coverings whatsoever. We knew we would need to immediately buy curtain rods for the two sliding glass doors in the house so no one could see in our master bedroom and living room at night.
We went to Home Depot and Lowe’s to buy only the curtain rods for our immediate need, our sliding glass doors. The windows weren’t as big of a deal to us and they at least had blinds in them so we figured they could wait. That was until we saw that Home Depot was having a crazy clearance sale on a particular brand of curtain rods!
The longer sliding glass door curtain rods were 67 to 80% off! Granted, we’d never pay retail for them but these discounts were almost too good to be true. We continued looking and saw that regular window curtain rods were 60% off retail as well and at that point we had a decision to make. Should we get the window curtain rods as well or just stick with the sliding glass door curtain rods we had initially planned on getting?
Find Out Why The Deal is Good
First we wanted to figure out why they were so cheap. Anytime something might be too good to be true you should look into it because it just might be! It turns out that Home Depot was going to quit carrying this particular brand and wanted to get rid of their inventory. Sounds like their loss would be my gain!
After discussing the situation with my fiancee, we decided this was exactly what our cash reserves (reminder: not my emergency fund) were for. We went ahead and bought the two sliding glass door curtain rods we intended on buying and saved $80 from retail on those two alone. We then bought all of the curtain rods we liked for the other rooms in our house. Unfortunately that particular store only had 3 left of the design we liked. This saved us 60% off the window curtain rods or about $45 off of retail price.
We didn’t stop there though! There was another Home Depot on our way home so we decided to stop by and see if they happened to be having the same clearance sale… We were in luck because they were AND they had some of the same exact curtain rods we were looking for. We picked up 3 more for another $45 in savings off of retail and called it a night.
Overall, we saved $170 off of retail and only ended up spending only about $90 for curtain rods for most of our house. While we had initially figured that the sliding glass door curtain rods would cost around $50-60 if we found a decent deal, we were glad we had the cash reserves available to take advantage of the deal on all of our curtain rods.
Don’t Buy Just Because It Is a Good Deal
I would like to make a brief clarification on an issue that some people may point out. I personally can’t stand when people say they saved money by spending money that they never planned to spend in the first place. However, I feel this isn’t the case for us because we knew in advance that in the few months we would eventually be buying these curtain rods anyway.
If we were never going to buy the window curtain rods then we would have actually spent an extra $60 and not saved a penny! Don’t buy stuff just because it is on sale, make sure you’re buying it for a purpose or a need that already existed before you knew about the sale.
Have you ever run into a situation and wish you had cash reserves so you could take advantage? Have you ever been able to take advantage of a great deal because of your cash reserve? Or… have you taken advantage of a great deal without a cash reserve and regretted it later on? Let me know in the comments below!