Everyone loves a bargain. But when I see a “Sale” sign at the mall, it’s almost like my body is on autopilot and I immediately head towards it. I love a good find and, while I’m not a name-brand lover by any means, it does make me happy to discover a great deal on something nice. Who wouldn’t love getting a pair of [insert big brand name here] jeans for half off?
There are times, though, when a sale really isn’t a good deal. It sounds contradictory, but it’s true.
Take, for example, the grocery store. Many of us probably have one or two favorite places to shop for food. When we see a sale on our favorite frozen pizza at Store A—let’s say two pizzas for $10—we think, “Sweet!” But if we fail to check the price at Store B where each pizza is regularly priced $4, we’ll end up paying $2 extra. So, the sale really wasn’t a better deal. This isn’t just for groceries—it goes for everything from dog food to flip flops. Do a little research before you head out; it’ll pay off.
Next is buying in bulk. Don’t get me wrong—when I go to a wholesale store, it feels a little bit like heaven. Yes, I’m guilty of the occasional sample grazing, too. If your family goes through a lot of food—or when you have roommates, if you share food—buying in bulk could very well be a great deal for you. But if you don’t think you’re going to be eating 300 corndogs over the next couple of months before the expiration date, this probably isn’t the best choice. Think twice before buying double!
A couple of other things to consider: do you need what you’re about to buy and do you have somewhere to put it? Sure, buying a shirt that’s on sale in four different colors seems smart, but if you already have drawers filled with shirts you haven’t worn in a while, is it necessary? Make sure you know what you already have—it’ll help you decide what (and what not) to buy. The giant trampoline you’ve always wanted is half price?! Awesome! Now, where are you going to store that 22-foot-wide jumping apparatus? If it’s just going to sit around and collect dust, or be weathered by the weather outside, I’d say you probably shouldn’t buy it.
I’m not saying that when you buy during a sale you’re not saving money, because there are plenty of times that a bargain really is what it seems. I just want you to know that putting in a few extra minutes of thought may work in your favor when it comes to purchases. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to find my x-ray vision goggles. (What? They were 75% off!)