When a sale is not a good deal

Whether it’s due to a holiday or a store needs to get rid of an item, it seems like there is a sale somewhere every day. But just because something is on sale doesn’t necessarily make it a good deal. Read on for reasons to avoid buying something on sale.

The sale alone

I get quite a few emails and text notifications about upcoming promotions and/or coupons…and sometimes it makes me want to buy something just because it’s a deal. That is your first hint that it’s not really going to be a bargain if it’s not something you were planning to purchase.Picture of shop window display with text Sale on red poster

But “it’s only…”

I have fallen victim to this one several times. In fact, in my closet right now there are at least 2 shirts that I bought for “only” $8-15 dollars each. Yes, that is cheap, but if I never wear them it’s like throwing my money down the drain. I have learned my lesson on that one. So don’t buy something just because it’s really cheap.

Not a necessity

If you don’t need it and you’re buying it anyway, just because it’s on sale is not a good reason. Think about why you are buying that shirt. Can you use it for an upcoming event or job interview? If not, then think about skipping that purchase.

Flawed item

Be careful what you buy because it may be on sale sometimes due to a stain, a rip, a broken part, etc. Many years ago I bought a pair of pants with a broken zipper because they were really cheap. I never got them fixed and ended up throwing them away. That purchase was just not worth it.

Won’t use it

This is similar to my example of shirts I never wore, but it could be anything. Many times bulk food items are on sale as buy 2 get 1 free (or something like that). When you buy a lot of one thing, the product may expire before you’re able to use it. Instead, buy only what you can actually use or freeze.

What to do instead

I shutter to think of all the food I’ve wasted, items I haven’t worn, or other things I’ve purchased just because they were on sale. Don’t do that to yourself because you can’t change the past…just be proactive moving forward. Really think about what you’ll use the item for and if it’s truly needed. If you end up not purchasing something, keep track of how much you’re saving.

Even better: set that money aside into a separate savings account. Having money in case of an emergency is crucial for your own financial stability.

For more tips, check out The $400 problem of many Americans, Being thrifty vs. being cheap, and What is a financial emergency?.

If you’ve done some shopping in the past and now have balances on your credit cards and it’s taking forever to pay off, LSS can help. We can offer you a Debt Management Plan that will allow you to pay off your debt faster and with less interest. Call us for your free session at 888.577.2227 or GET STARTED ONLINE at your convenience. It’s free and confidential. We’ll give you the tools and resources to achieve your financial goals and conquer your debt for good.

Author Elaina Johannessen is a Program Director with LSS Financial Counseling.

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