Is That Bargain Really A Bargain?

Who doesn’t love a good sale? But when bargain hunting, becomes the sole objective, you and your budget could be headed for big trouble.
We’ve probably all said it at one time or another: “But it was such a deal!” But… If you’re spending money you don’t have – if you’re putting it on credit and not paying those cards off, it may not actually be not such a deal. If you’re buying something you don’t need, it’s probably not a deal. If it takes you three weeks, three months, (or never) to put what you bought to use, it’s likely not a deal.
A deal could be referred to as, for example, buying the snowsuit for your child fornext winter at the end of this winter at 75% off. Or deal is picking up a book you know your sister is dying to read for half price and giving it to her for her birthday.
A deal is getting something you really need or want at a significant savings, but also being able to pay for it.
Shopping for bargains just for bargains’ sake has become a habit for many of us. So how do you know if you may be hooked? Here are three clues:
1. Your home is jammed to the rafters with stuff. Shopping is often unconscious spending, so you may not even know you’re doing it. Take a look around. How much of that stuff is sitting unused?
2. Your favourite phrase is “It was on sale.” All of us fall prey to impulse shopping. The problem for people who can’t curb their desire for immediate gratification is that we’re not prioritizing. We may have lost the ability to ‘do without’, but unless we have a huge, whopping salary coming in, we could be headed for trouble.
3. Acquiring something new makes you happy. Some people become chronic bargain shoppers out of a fear of poverty. It can be a deeper self-esteem issue too, if you desire only the absolute latest fashions just to feel admired.
The next time you find yourself headed to the cash 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, experts say, get yourself a small notebook and decide to never again shop without a list. In this notebook, keep a list of the things you need and want. If you find a bargain, look at your list to see where that item is. If it’s at or near the top of your list in terms of priority, and you have the cash on hand, buy.
If not, walk away.
Source: Gail Vaz-Oxlade/Toronto Star
Photo: © Provided by Toronto Star

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