Don’t give in to the deal

People love to chase a deal. Big box stores know it. Discount department stores know it.



Online only.


Nothing does a budget in faster when you’re trying to save money than being suckered in by a “great deal”. If you wouldn’t buy a product because you don’t normally use it, buying that product just because it goes on sale is a total waste of money. Ditto the fools who are so coupon crazy they switch to the couponed product from the similar generic or store-brand even when there’s no real savings.

A deal is buying the set of towels for your sister’s birthday on sale at 70% off. A deal is picking up a new book you’re dying to read for half price. A deal is getting something you really need or want at a significant savings, and being able to pay for it in cash.

People who can’t pass up a good sale even if it’s on something they don’t want, need or even particularly like aren’t smart bargain buyers, they’re compulsive shoppers. Scoring deals helps them to ease their insecurities and feel more competent and in control. And they rationalize their purchases as something good they are doing for themselves or their families.

The next time you find yourself sidling up to the cash register with a bargain in hand, ask yourself:

  • Do I need it?
  • How will I pay for it?
  • What will I do with it?
  • What would happen if I waited?

Better yet, keep a list of the things you need and want. If you find a bargain, and the item is on your list, you can buy it. If not, walk away.

In a culture that worships shopping, it’s only natural that the “bargain” be the Holy Grail. But if you find yourself being suckered into to buying stuff just because “it’s a great deal”, you’re definitely not as smart as you think you are. If you’ve saved so much money with all your bargain shopping, show it to me!

5 comments on “Don’t give in to the deal

  1. Great article. I hardly ever go to the mall, mostly because I usually don't need the products offered (i.e. clothes, shoes, electronics, home decor, etc). It is easier to avoid those bargain deals if you do not frequently wander around shopping centers; however, if an individual enjoys going to malls then a list is necessary. I guess another tip would be to know what it is you want or need before flipping pages in catalogs and fliers.


  2. I keep envelopes for the random things I want and am looking for a deal on, and they're funded by my "allowance" and the birthday money I sometimes get. For example, right now I have one for my sofa slipcovering or purchase (which one I do depends on which can be done with the cash that's in there). So when I go to Ikea (which I do rarely these days), I bring the envelope with me, even though it doesn't have enough in it yet to purchase the sofa, just in case I see a sale or if there's one in As Is. I've walked by my dream sofa a couple times already, and once it was even on sale, because I didn't have the money in the envelope for it. As you said, it's not a deal if you can't afford it!


  3. very nice advice.
    as they say saving begins at the super market {same goes for dieting too]

    having a list is the best way to be organised and sticking to the list helps those pangs to be controlled. and in the end– money saved.


  4. My wife and I revised our shopping and communication habits a few years back. My favorite thing to remind our selves, when challenged by a deal or purchase is: Why would I buy somthing from someone who values my money more than the thing they are trying to convince me I need. If its so great they should keep it! I'll keep the fredom of choice that money alows me when I have it in the bank.

    Thanks Gail !!!


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