Ok, I am El Cheapo Delux. As a friend once told me, it's not what you make, it's what you spend. If you don't believe me, that little old man who froze to death when the power company put the regulator on his house because he didn't pay his bill... well he left approximately $500,000 in his will to local charity. ( Now I probably would have paid the bill out of that hunk of change, I must admit.)
Anyways, coming in to the office I was listening to NPR and this frosted me... You know that huge bill you get from your kid's college, and how they kind of lump fees together? Are you paying for health insurance for your kid in that lump fee? Do you have health insurance on your kid? Are you paying 2x for health insurance for your kid without knowing it? Call the college and ask. The guy in the story was paying $1100 to the college every semester (that's $2200 a year boys and girls) for something that he already was paying for. The college fessed up, and after proving that he had insurance on his kid, cancelled the charge GOING FORWARD.
It really does pay to read things. Like contracts. You'd be amazed what gets stuck in contracts that people never read. Like a car that I bought... I had told the sales manager that I wanted the car and was not paying for rust proofing, insurance, paperwork, sunshine, or any other crap. I go to the paperwork dept, and they hand me the contract, and tell me to sign at the sticky. Being anal, I insist on reading everything... and find over $1000 in hidden charges. So I walked out. See yah, wouldn't want to be ya. The sales manager almost had a stroke chasing me down. They expect to get away with this stuff. Read everything.
And if you are like me, and you surf for hours to get the best deal... look at your receipts and the confirmation notice. I understand that Nashbar and Performance are notorious for adding charges or taking off discount codes on the final bill. Check your receipts.
I really don't mind paying fair prices for things. I do mind paying more for things than I have to. And I sympathize with US cycling shops who pay more for parts than I can buy them for overseas. Talk to Shimano. There is some kind of a deal going on here, but while I sympathize with you, I can still guy a grouppo from Probike Kit for about 2/3 of what you pay for it. Go figure.
The way I figure it, on my little person's salary you had better be tight. Make the nickles' scream. Paying too much thru inattention is just wrong.