Perseverance Pays Off

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2014 • all rights reserved

Perseverence Pays Off

Last week, the seal on our freezer just disintegrated (read about how to prolong the life of seals and gaskets – too late for this one, but hopefully we saved others). Obviously we were going to have to get a new one.

And while this post is about that, it’s really about how we’ve bought a number of things for the boat.

On one hand, it was pretty easy to find a new gasket – just Google the brand, model and part number. Well, at least one company hoped that I’d want to do it quickly. The first listing I found wanted $99.99 (plus shipping) for one. That just seemed outrageous to me.  . . . so I kept looking.

I next found several listed at $74 . . . better, but still high. Then I found one at $49. Getting closer to a price I’d consider . . .

Why is it that Google listings seem to bury the sites with the lowest price for an item? Oh well, I figured that if going to page 5 of Google cut the price in half, there was nothing to lose by going further. Besides, I still had a cup of coffee in the Thermos.

And finally, on page 12, I found it. An Ebay listing that had a decimal in the middle of the part number, so it wasn’t a perfect match according to Google (but it really was exactly what I wanted). For $32.50 and just $5.50 for shipping. I looked a little further, but that was the best price that I found.

So, for about 45 minutes of “work” I saved over $70, including shipping and taxes. Not bad “pay” for my time.

I’ll be honest . . . I usually start with Amazon for general items and Defender for things that have to be marine. But I’ve learned to check West Marine, too – they are actually the cheapest on some items. They custom-made cables for wiring our new shore power charger for less than I could find pre-made ones!

Armed with these prices as a baseline, I may just go ahead and buy the item if the price seems reasonable, particularly if it’s not something expensive.

If they don’t carry it, it’s something expensive where savings could be substantial or the price just seems outrageous (as can sometimes happen with third-party sellers on Amazon), I then branch out with Google and see what else I can find.

  • Be sure to check shipping – what can seem like a good deal can have high shipping charges.
  • Also check package size — for example, Defender only carried quarts of the dewaxer we needed for our bottom job, but we were going to need a gallon. Jamestown Distributors carried it in gallons, and even with separate shipping it was a much better price.

When we bought Que Tal, both Dave and I tended to think that we needed “marine” grade of almost everything we bought. No longer. We still want high quality items that will stand up to the realities of life on a boat; that doesn’t necessarily mean that they have to be labeled “marine.” Lots of our gear is actually designed for RVers; others simply household. Reading product descriptions and user reviews takes some time but we have saved a lot of money.

Other times, yes, there actually is only one supplier for needed gear. Virtually all parts for our engine drive leg have to come from the company in England. No other sources. I don’t even bother to try to find them.

I don’t want to sound like a total cheapskate here – and we aren’t. We simply don’t like to overpay and want to reward companies that work to keep their prices down. And that also means that we can have a few more luxuries aboard, such as our favorite beers instead of whatever’s cheapest.

And yes, I’m on a metered data connection — Verizon — and this one savings paid for almost all our data for the month (read more about how much data we’re using). Since I’ve saved on numerous other items by comparison shopping over the month, I think a liberal data allowance is worth it and trying to stick to a tiny data package can be false economy.

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  1. what did we do before online shopping!

  2. Don’t forget that West Marine will match prices from places like Defender and Jamestown so you can still get the deal AND save on shipping. Also, talk to your broker, you can probably use their Port Supply account and get some pretty good deals.

  3. I wonder about our ability to access internet and to find cell service. We will be going to Mexico, Galapagos, And possibly on to French Polynesia. I have found WiFi everywhere is password protected and paying for it doesn’t guarantee speed enough to do anything besides send an email. We use ATT and haven’t hit 10 g yet. We also use the SAT phone xgate 500 rollover minutes , for weather and boat related issues.

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