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This question has been closed as off-topic. The basis for this is the area51 proposal where "Where can I find the lowest prices on [electronics/furniture/etc.]?" was specified as off-topic.

I think we should explore where the boundary is. I can see why "Where can I find the lowest prices on X" is problematic, because the typical answers will be about the merits of various retailers which is really veering a long way from the managing your money.

However I don't think the closed question about airline tickets falls into the same category, because useful answers will tend to provide general advice about how to plan your life to save money.

So...is closing the airline tickets question really the right decision? Can we characterise what is and isn't ok in this area with more examples?

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From the FAQ: Stack Exchange is for people who want to be financially literate, find ways to save money, minimize taxes, invest wisely, plan for retirement, etc. Also for financially-savvy amateurs, DIY-investors & personal finance pros.

If finding ways to save money is appropriate to this site, the airline question is clearly on-topic. It's not a "where can I find the lowest price on..." question.

Shopping and price comparison questions are off topic because they are very localized; the answers would only be relevant to a specific location, it changes over time, and not generally useful to anyone else on the internet.

This question is more along the lines of "what is a good time of year to buy furniture?" It is clearly answerable for people who know the industry and applicable to a wider audience as a legitimate way to save money. If this site is to include the savings side of being "financially-savvy," then the airline question is clearly appropriate for this site.

  • OK, so I take it then - as long as the asker is not directly soliciting information on where to shop, i.e. who to transact with, then it is OK, on the grounds that it is a strategy for saving money they are interested in? – Chris W. Rea Aug 12 '10 at 1:03
  • @Chris W. Rea: Hmm... So "buying strategies" are okay in general, maybe? But I would close specific purchase advice as "too localized" if it does not apply to the wider Internet. Whether you want to include money-saving strategies as on topic is completely up to the community and perhaps a different question. This specific question didn't sound like a "where can I find the lowest price" request. That's just me talking as a user, not some policy decision. – Robert Cartaino Aug 12 '10 at 4:38
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I think that https://money.stackexchange.com/questions/7966/what-is-the-cheapest-tropical-beach-to-visit-during-christmas is off topic. Although the FAQ says, "Strategies for earning and saving more money", IMO the question about the beach is just a tactic and is not a (financial) strategy.

An example of a "strategy" is something more like "Have a budget" or "Defer taxes".

The question about the beach would be more appropriate for a 'travel' or a 'shopping' site: not 'personal finance'.

For example, the Questions about inexpensive bicycle goods and services are also all various tactics for saving money, but not appropriate to this site.

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I think hard and fast rules make managing the site a lot easier, so I think the airline question should stay closed. However I think the question What are some quick and easy ways to save money? is useful and a part of site history, so it should be grandfathered in. Someone should probably make it CW though.

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I have another similar off-topic.

I think a good model for this site would be the British MoneySavingExpert site and it's forums. (Though they just straight out ban everyone.) Or another British site this is Money.

They have topics of cheap electronics, warranties, cheap parcel delivery etc. all fine!

So yeah, we should push the boundaries here as well!

Edit: So how would you define the business UK sites MoneySavingExpert or this is Money are in? Clearly, not only personal finance but also related useful info. If this board will be strictly about personal finance, where shall we put all related useful info?

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