Patience in Purchasing

I am seeking perspective regarding postponing instant gratification.

I am in the process of saving for a canoe at a rather slow rate because of long range financial goals. (It is tempting to put it on the credit card and pay it off later but that’s not feasible nor desirable.)

I’m wondering how folks are patient and are able to wait for the right deal to come along? How they wait without obsessing and so on?

I do have access to lakes as well as canoes and kayaks that I can borrow but would like the independence of a personal canoe.

Enjoying One’s Independence:

They say patience is a virtue. I think it has more to do with knowing what you really want and timing it right.

that’s the rub…

– Last Updated: May-17-12 4:08 PM EST –

isn't it? Well, I don't know what kind of canoe you are in the market for and I don't know if you're looking for a used or new canoe. Just keep saving and keep checking Craigslist, classifieds, the local shop, whatever until you find the one you want in your budget. If you really want to stretch your dollar, its probably worth it to wait until the end of summer or fall to buy. That gives you a few more months to save, anyway. Fall is when the shops discount their stuff. Its also when the liveries sell off their rentals. And a lot of livers (and online shops) will ship to anywhere in the country, so you might be able to score a really nice kevlar something-something from a place in Boundry Waters or the Adirondacks.

When I got my canoe last year, I was hoping to find a decent used canoe and nothing popped up on craigslist or classifieds for weeks (only kayaks. ugh. :P). I ended up buying a new canoe from REI when they did their annual 20% off sale. And, of course, as soon as I bought the canoe, THEN a bunch stuff popped up on craigslist. I also found a similar canoe to the one I bought at a nearby outfitter on deep discount. I guess if I could "do it all again", I should have been more patient with the used market or shopped the outfitters and I probably could have saved a few hundred bucks. But I'm still happy with my purchase, so no harm no foul. Its only money afterall.

I know first hand waiting can be tough, but you just have to think of it from the standpoint that what's a couple more months of waiting when you're hopefully going to own the canoe for a really long time. And your time using rentals and loaners, just consider it refining your specifications so you know you buy the right canoe.

The “right” deal always presents itself
just after you’ve settled for good enough, though. At least when buying “previously owned” boats. Why is that?

I’d recommend saving enough for two canoes and prepare to sell the first one at a loss. Consider it a rental fee.

sounds familiar
Try to track the used market for a while. You will get a feel for the market and pass some time. Start a seperate savings stash. That will help you to not overspend and not borrow. When you buy used at a decent price you are likely to get your money back when you sell as long as you sell in the early part of the canoeing season. I like to remind myself of the term “yuppie-trap” when looking at credit card retail toy purchases. Good luck.

Another thought
Buy something that is well used and cheap even if it isn’t exactly what you want. It’ll give you independence and gratification now and you can recover the cost later when you find something better.


Why not keep saving, but buy a …

– Last Updated: May-17-12 4:56 PM EST –

el cheapo to tide you over until you can get the good one that you want.
What ever you do, don't charge it or go in debt for one.

jack L

In boat buying is easy when you already have a few.

Smarter people have gone into debt for dumber things. Still don’t do it.

Ryan L.

Answer is simple
Just read all the reviews of about 8 or 9 different canoes that fit your general category. Since almost everyone is rated the best possible or has both a “best possible” and “worst ever” review you can then spend a couple of years trying to figure out your best buy. Once you do that, simply post your decision to this board and your will receive about 100 reasons why you have chosen the wrong canoe and a list of 10 or so better ones. Spend another couple of years researching these comments and finding places to test paddle all those suggested canoes.

By the time you get through all that one of 2 things will have happened.

  1. You will have saved enough to buy whatever you want
  2. You will have decided that what you really need is a kayak and you can start the process all over again.


what’s the anxiety/obsession about?
You say you have access to boats, so the obsession may not be about 1) getting on the water.

If it is 2)the independence you want, follow the suggestions to get a cheapo for now. If this seems unsatisfying, you may just be caught in 3) some kind of online shopping-frenzy-freak-out-obsession sort of thing. In which case, you have to break the hold. One way is to spend more time “doing” what you love rather than “shopping” for the ultimate. Distract yourself from the shopping habit. Focus on new waterways rather than a new boat, or on taking others out with you. You need to find something else that is gratifying while you save the money. Alternatively, create a big freakin’ crisis in your life to distract you – are you married? Have an affair!

Really, I don’t know what you personally find satisfying, but do more of it!

Do you have a few hundred dollars?
If you get in the habit of checking craigslist boat listings for the major metro areas that are within reasonable driving distance of your location, the classified ads on this site, and paddleswap, the odds are good that something suitable will come up in the used market within a reasonably short time frame. You might also check into paddling clubs in your area as club members often have boats that will sell relatively inexpensively by word of mouth.

You will develop an appreciation for what price used boats of a certain type and construction will command and before long you will probably find a boat that you can get started in.

As jackl says, your first canoe need not be “perfect”.

In fact, you might not yet know what defines the “perfect” boat for you. As long as you buy a boat in decent condition, do not overpay, and keep it in reasonable condition, the odds are good you will be able to sell it in the future for as much as you paid, or more so long as you are patient about getting it sold.

A lot of people will “flip” a number of used canoes like that before they settle on and find what they really want. In the meantime, you can save your cash.

Try fighting one purchase obsession
with another. Think about buying some other thing that will give you pleasure.

Another approach I take is to say “What else could I buy with that $1600 that would meet my wants and needs?” Then I may list a bunch of things, like a new tent, a waterproof camera, etc. Canoes are expensive relative to some pretty sophisticated equipment.

I must admit to being lucky in buying used boats that suddenly became available. My Noah kayak was a $100 factory demo. I got a Mad River Guide, used but very equipped, for $400. I got my Necky touring kayak for $550 at an Olympic auction benefit. Our Bluewater tandem was a $1400 demo while it would have been twice that new. I got a near-new slalom c-1 for $850 that would have cost twice that. My Millbrook Wide Ride c-1 was used for $400.

You have to move in the right circles to have such luck. But another approach is to go to Piragis or Rutabaga when they are dumping rentals, demos, and surplus stock. White Squall in Canada often has good deals, and Frontenac in Canada is worth checking.

time is money

– Last Updated: May-17-12 6:41 PM EST –

and time without a canoe is wasted if you want one. I look at it as return on investment, and if I have one now (actually I went from 12 boats down to 6 this past year) I can utilize this investment and have my enjoyment appreciate over a longer period of time. Long term goals are nice, but after getting broadsided and rear ended at stop lights in the past 3 years, I realize life is the most precious commodity of all, and enjoyment of that life the best investment.

Get on the water.
Lots of deals on used canoes sold in early spring/summer in the $300 range. Buy one you can sell later for the same or slightly less (not Coleman or Pelican). Cheaper than renting and won’t bite into the canoe fund too much. Spend a lot of time learning all the ways to use the one you got, while saving for the one(s) you want.

It’s a lot easier to hold out for a deal when you have something usable to hold you over. Once you have a decent beginner boat, you can buy low in the off-season a nd sell high in the peak season - while gradually upgrading.

I’ll sell you a really good Kevlar
canoe for $700. A MR Malecite in very good condition.

What color?

Who cares?
You don’t pick colors with used canoes - especially a deal on a classic like that!

I do.

– Last Updated: May-17-12 8:04 PM EST –

About the Kevlar part, mostly. But, to be honest, I kinda hate that aubergine color MRC used. It does nothing for my skin tone. Besides, I've got canoes. I can afford to be choosey!

Jim, KH or KE? Airex or tanks?

I’m patient waiting for the boat, but…
often not patient enough to have the money saved up and it gets charged to the credit card.

When the right used boat pops up at the right price, I’ve gotta pounce whether money is saved up or not, since I’ve sometimes been waiting 3 or more years for such a boat to come available.

that kind of gets to my comment about not knowing what kind of canoe the OP looking for. Obviously, some canoe models are more readily available than others on the used market. And there again, the OP didn’t really specify used or new either. But assuming used, if you’re hunting for something specialized, like maybe a kevlar solo canoe or a wood/canvas Prospector, than you better be prepared to snap it up when you see it. If you just want something relatively common, like a OT Disco or MR Explorer, there’s no reason to jump on the first offer, unless its really good. I’ve seen used Disco’s pop up on craigslist for like $900 and I’m thinking, “come on guy - no way.” But I’ve also seen pretty decent looking Disco’s going for $300 and that’s a deal I’d jump on.