Don’t be lured by 'deals' - MoneySense

Don’t be lured by ‘deals’

There’s a difference between smart buyers and compulsive shoppers.


People love to chase a deal. Big box stores know it. Discount department stores know it. And as for those deal-of-the-day websites that drop the bargain right into your inbox, they know it too.

A deal on a product you normally wouldn’t use or buy is not a deal. To those use credit to secure a deal and then carry the balance, well, I just throw my hands up!

A deal is getting something you really need or want at a significant savings and being able to pay for it in cash. I’m on the hunt for wicker chairs for my front garden right now. I have a budget, I have the money. When they are available at the right price, I’ll have a deal.

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.

And as for those deal-of-the-day sites that keep waving temptation under your nose, if you have an impulse control problem, it’s time to unsubscribe.

In a culture that worships shopping, it’s only natural that a bargain is like 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 the deals you’ve done, show me the money!