There have been plenty of times when I’m out and see a very tempting sale. However, not all sales are created equal. Taking a few moments to think through the details can make a big difference. Here are a few tips on how to tell if it’s a good sale or not.
Ways to Spot a Good Sale & Avoid Consumer Debt
Sale. Sale. Sale. I love a good sale. Unfortunately, the hype and allure of the sale overwhelms the reality. It may end up costing you more in the long run than you bargained for at the time of purchase. This is an easy way to end up with extra personal credit card debt. Let’s take a look at how to evaluate a good sale and some ways to avoid spending extra money.
Do You Need Extra?
Too much of a good thing might not be the best. Perishable items or infrequently used items probably aren’t great choices for extra purchases from a sale. A good sale will get you the things you need for less AND stay within your budget. If you don’t need extra of an item that is pricey, you will probably find yourself out of your budget.
Do the Math to Confirm a Good Sale
One of the first things you need to do is to actually calculate the savings the deal is offering. Let’s use an example of a $4.00 box of cereal with a few popular sale phrases to see which is the best deal.
Buy 1, Get 1 Free– This is one of the best deals you can get. You only need to purchase one thing and it automatically qualifies you for a free item. In this case, you spend no extra money.
Buy 2, Get 1 Free– If your family eats a lot of cereal, this is also a good deal. Since you will regularly spend money on cereal, the deal is sound without taking a huge sum away from your budget. You only spend $4.00 extra one week on groceries, but then have the next three weeks covered.
Buy 1, Get 1 Half Off– Again, if it’s a cereal purchase, go for it!
Buy 4, Get 1 Free Other Brand Item– There are some really tricky and wordy deals and coupons. They promise you free goodies once you purchase a few items at a later date. I don’t prefer this deal since you have a lot to pay upfront for very little return. You may even lose the coupon before you get to redeem the savings!
Final Thoughts on Good Sales
Finally, let’s talk about clearance items. In my book, 30% off isn’t really clearance. However, this is commonplace for a few big box stores. Be careful to not fall prey to the idea of “clearance.” Remember to ask yourself if it’s actually a need in your life. If so, is it a significant discount to stay within your budget?
Just because it’s on sale, doesn’t mean it’s best for you to buy it. Take a moment and consider the need and the cost. The more you spend beyond your budget, the harder it is to save money or pay down consumer debt.