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!