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Don’t be afraid to deal and save

When it comes to saving a dollar, there are some budgeting tips that we're happy to embrace and others that are an absolute no-go zone.
Take the discount voucher. Some of us have no problem pulling a swifty at the cash register and claiming some money off. Others would rather listen to fingernails being scraped continuously down a blackboard.
Perhaps you wouldn't be caught in your coffin in second-hand clothes. Or you buck against having a home that smells of eau de vinegar. Or maybe bargaining anywhere other than Bali seems a bridge too far.
The money-saving tips that we accept or reject have a lot to do with how we think our behaviour will be perceived by others.

Cultural influences have a bearing, as do family habits, time and, ultimately, whether we believe the effort is worth the reward.
With that in mind, we asked three people to name a favourite money-saving tip and the point at which they would have to draw the line.
Newcastle University student Heenal Patel, 28, can't get enough of deal websites. As with many deal devotees, she uses them to snap up life's little luxuries, such as discounted haircuts, beauty treatments and restaurant dinners.
This month she hit a new deal-hunting high when she snaffled a new Nissan Almera Ti via the Living Social website.
"It's worth about $23,500, if I go and buy it straight out, and I'm getting it for 40 per cent off," she says. "I don't think I could ask for more. I'm driving a car from the 1980s at the moment."
As a 30-deal veteran, the part-time personal trainer and weight-loss consultant has learnt to do her homework before plonking her money down. A deal for a shellac manicure turned a bit sour when the nail technician went on holidays as the deal was posted and wasn't prepared for the influx of business when she returned.
Patel now looks at how a business is reviewed online, and she doesn't pursue discounts at all costs. When she finds a business she likes, she's happy to return as a full-paying customer.
No-go zone? Patel thinks it's demeaning to ask someone, particularly a health professional, for a discount.
"If a business is offering a service for a price, they've put it there for a reason. If you're not happy with their price, go to someone else who is offering it for less."
Asking for a discount doesn't bother Elizabeth Ball in the slightest. She has a long list of how it has helped keep costs down as she and her partner, Andrew, renovate their two-bedroom bungalow in Melbourne.
Coached by Andrew, who works as a retail manager, she regularly asks retailers for a discount on the last day of the month.
"That is when they have to meet their monthly targets or sometimes it's units they need to shift of a certain category line."

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