I think I'm a cheap bastard, but I don't come close to these guys...

I'm ordinarily a very frugal person, and perhaps I'm wired more differently than I think. I prefer to do auto repair work myself on my 10 year-old car that has 150k miles, I'd rather eat in than out, and it pains me to pay retail for anything. Yes, anything. And yet in the last 8 years, my wife has helped me understand and quantify the value of my time. When we were first married I used to drive 5 miles out of the way to save 10 cents a gallon on gas. If a store was selling something for $10 less after rebate than another store, I'd buy from the store with the rebate... even though it was often more expensive up front than the other retailer, but in my mind I rationalized that I'd save $10 with the rebate.

One of the first lessons about the value of my time happened shortly after we'd been married, and I ran out of gas. Yes, I was trying to get to the "cheap" gas station, but in doing so I passed a half dozen other stations and spent 2 hours stuck on the shoulder of I-75 waiting for AAA to arrive. I didn't plan to tell my wife about the incident, but I suck at keeping secrets from her. So after telling her the story, our conversation went something like this...
Wife: What would you have paid not to have dealt with running out of gas and waiting 2 hours on the side of the freeway?
Me: $100
Wife: How much were you going to save?
Me: [Thinking. 18 gallon tank X ten cents a gallon cheaper...] $2 at the most
Wife: So in trying to save $2 you lost 2 hours of your life that you'll never get back, and those hours were worth $100. Learn anything?
Me: Yeah, sometimes men prefer dumb blondes to smart brunettes
Wife: Not if they like sleeping in bed with their wives, they don't
Me: I need to go walk the dogs

Now when the gas tank is low, I fill it. It still bugs me if I pay more than I think I should, but as a means of pacifying this angst, I got a AAA Visa card that gives me 5% cash back on gas purchases.

On the subject of things being cheaper with rebates, I've come to learn that having ADD -and- filling out & submitting rebates by their deadlines are often incompatable. I've been "screwed" numerous times by missing a due date and just recently submitted a rebate and forgot to put a stamp on the envelope, thus missing the dealine. I still find it hard to pass up a great deal like the 19" monitor I picked up for $24 after rebate (I'll share the story about this in a couple of days), but I now try to avoid purchases requiring rebates.

So all of that is background for why I've been reading the FatWal!et (FW) forums over the last couple of months. I appreciate the mission of getting the best price and admire the passion of many of the "OPs", or Original Posters, i.e., the first users to alert others to a deal. These guys are militant about getting a bargain. They drive all over town to check inventory (lest they alert an employee to a closeout deal in which case the employee may claim the item is OOS--out of stock and buy up the inventory for themselves), have special credit cards so they can be refunded the difference if a purchased item goes down in price within X number of days, set up systems for managing and tracking rebates, frequent retail stores that give 110% price match guarantees, and do just about anything to get a free item. I'll confess to taking part in a few shenanigans in order to get a blowout deal, but I'm a dwarf amongst giants in the land of FatWal!et.