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Thursday, July 11, 2013
A few months ago the family’s chief financial officer called a meeting.
It was a small meeting.
Her, and me.
She held credit card bills.
“What did you buy at Sportsman’s Warehouse on March 27th for $47.23?” she wondered.
“Fishing lures, probably,” I said.
“Thirty-five sixty-seven at Gander Mountain the next day?”
“Hmmm … I think those were turkey calls.”
“The $94.76 on April 3 wasn’t more turkey calls, was it?” she asked. “How many turkey calls do you need, anyway?”
I’m pretty sure it wasn’t turkey calls.
“I think it was shotgun shells,” I replied. “And lures.
“Oh, and a big pack of Twizzlers. You know how much I love Twizzlers.”
To me, this stuff clearly seemed in the “needs” category.
The CFO, who is the sensible one, thought otherwise. It was time to do some belt-tightening.
Fortunately, there are options for the frugal outdoorsman who can’t cut back on consumption but must cut back on spending.
Craigslist is one possibility, but that world can be a little tough to navigate.
For one reason, while this may come as a shock, not everyone who advertises on Craigslist is on the up and up.
For another, the volume of ads, because they are free, can be mind-numbing.
But Craigslist is searchable and, because of the volume of ads, can offer some good deals for bargain shoppers who are up for adventure.
And, by good deal, I’m talking about paying no more than half of what it would cost brand new.
Those who have been on the selling side know this is a pretty accurate rule of thumb.
An outdoors-related item — other than firearms, which are a different story and aren’t advertised on Craigslist anyway — pretty much depreciates by at least half the second it goes from new to used.
Sorry, but that ladder stand you bought for $200 in 2006 isn’t worth $175 today. I don’t care if it still is in the box.
If we know what we are doing, or know how to use the Internet, it’s pretty easy to determine if the asking price is in the ballpark.
As for those prices that seem too good to be true, well, you know the deal.
A lot of outdoors gear ends up on yard sales tables.
Yard sales usually are a buyer’s market.
That’s largely because those tables are the final stop before the trash.
This means that plenty of the stuff is not a lot better than trash. Plenty of it is trash.
But there are exceptions, which is why it’s worth looking.
If you get there early and get lucky, you might find a tackle box full of beautiful bass crankbaits for $3.
A nice rod and reel combo for $5.
Or a vintage Bear recurve bow for $25.
I once found a great little jonboat for $80 at a yard sale. I didn’t need it, but for $80 what are you going to do?
Unfortunately — or, depending on your perspective, fortunately — I was told it had already sold.
There are times when yard sales won’t yield such fantastic bargains, because some hunters and anglers tend to grossly overprice their gear.
That’s largely because they really don’t want to get rid of it in the first place. And partly because they sometimes have some kind of sentimental attachment to said gear.
That $5 price on the faded jerkbait with rusty hooks? It’s not a misprint.
“That’s a great lure,” the guy will say. “I caught a 4-pound smallmouth bass on that thing one time.”
“I can buy a new one for six bucks,” you’ll say.
And the guy will say, “So go buy a new one.”
Which you will do,
Because even when you’re in belt-tightening mode, you have to make exceptions for lures that catch 4-pound smallmouth bass.
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