Welcome to our new column that’s all about money and how to make it work for you here in Turkey – and elsewhere.

Welcome to Fethiye Times newest column Money Mutterings brought to you by our contributor John Cash. 

My name is John Cash and I will be writing all about how to make your money go further both locally and farther afield. I have been a keen money saver for many years and it’s for this reason that I am now living in Turkey at a relatively young age. My adage has always been ‘You have to work hard to MAKE money, so it follows that you have to work hard to SAVE money’. But that’s enough introduction from me so let’s move on to my first topic – shopping.

Shopping is almost an everyday occurrence for many of us; whether its buying a paper or our groceries. But when we land in Turkey it suddenly becomes a very different and sometimes difficult experience especially when buying bigger things such as cookers, TV’s and the like! Many people I talk to feel ‘ripped-off’ by local traders, but when I ask why, they say it’s because of the lack of pricing on goods and the requirement to haggle which really isn’t part of Northern European culture. But the thing is haggling is the ‘way’ around here. Shop keepers work on the basic laws of supply and demand. If you want something they will try and get as much as they think you will pay for it. If they see you’re a foreigner or a Turkish person from outside Fethiye they will ask what they think you will pay, and this will normally be higher than a local person might be asked. Many people get upset by this as if it’s a personal slight but it isn’t – it’s business.

Haggling doesn’t have to be difficult and doesn’t have to result in a shouting match. A much more pleasant way is to adopt the skills most of us have brought with us from our  own culture – to shop around. This requires a little more effort in Turkey as there’s no Argos catalogue to check and very few on-line stores to look at. 

So, arm yourself with the shoppers weapon of mass destruction – the pen and note book. Next, visit all or some of the {mosimage}suppliers you think will have the item you want. As they to show you the item, check it, hum and ha, accept the inevitable tea/water and then ask them their best price – “en iyi fiyat”. Write this price and the suppliers name and address in your book and say that you will be looking at other shops to compare prices and if their price isn’t the best price you need to know now otherwise you won’t be back. At this point be prepared for some raised voices. Why, because you’ve turned the tables on the trader! They are normally in the driving seat when it comes to making the price because they think you won’t shop around. Suddenly the trader is faced with giving their best price or otherwise potentially losing your business. The trader also hates you writing down a price in case you tell others. In any case you walk out and say if it is a good price you’ll be back. Armed with your best prices making a decision later is now much easier and when you do decide to buy you just pop back and do the deal. I’ve found that prices vary considerably around town so I’ve saved a packet and limited the stress of shopping, even though it is time-consuming.

I’ve shared this technique with my Turkish acquaintances, who normally only shop from their ‘friends’. They have reported that it has worked well and shown that their so called friends prices, in some cases, to be over the top.

OK, that’s all from me for now. Next up I’ll cover a recent purchasing experience and how moving away from the centre of town can often save a packet!