Friday, March 7, 2008

Is It Really A Bargain? - Frugal Friday Tip

Is it really a bargain?

The sign says "50% OFF" in big bold letters. The regular price was $100 and now it's only $50 - get it while you can! But wait, $50 is not a wonderfully good price for a new thing-a-ma-jig....you've seen them before regularly priced for $45. So it's better not to consider the original price on an item (especially in discount or close-out type stores - I find the original prices to sometimes be unnaturally high) - but rather the current price of the item.

When someone has told me "wow look at these great shoes - they were regularly $60 and I got them for only $30." Well if the shoes are exactly what you want/need and you are gonna get a lot of use out of them and you have the money for them and they are of good quality - then they are probably worth what you paid for them. But if you primarily bought them b/c you thought you were getting a great deal, but they are still over-priced or you had to slip out a bit of money from your grocery budget - then maybe the deal isn't so much a good deal.

One day I was looking to buy some dill pickles. The sign in front said 10 for $10 - save $25 by buying ten. The savings of $25 would have assumed I was buying 10 at the regular price - well since I would not have bought 10 at the regular price - is it really such a great deal? Think about it first. Yes, they were a good deal at $1 a jar - but when you see the "save $25 by buying 10" it might make an unsuspecting shopper think "I'd better buy 10 b/c I'll save so much money." You'd save even more than $25 by buying none. I did buy about 4 jars b/c we go through a lot of dills but I also had to consider whether or not I had a place to store the excess. We have a small house and not a whole lot of room for storing things. It might be a financial bargain on those 4 giant packages of toilet paper, but if the kids each have one package under their pillow due to a lack of storage space, then it's probably not the best deal.

Not too long ago I purchased one of those "bed in a bag" sets. I wanted everything to match and I hunted around for a long time and finally found something I could live with. The regular price of however much, made me assume (wrongly) that I was getting a great quality item for a great sale price.

I really ought to have returned the whole thing when I washed the fitted sheet and it came out torn around the elastic. But I didn't. Bad mistake. The rest of the pieces have held up - but the quality of the sheets/pillowcases are so thin and cheap that I finally took them off the bed b/c they were driving me crazy! Each time I'd turn over in bed and pull the sheet up I was afraid I was gonna tear a part of it off.

Cheap isn't always better and sales are not always sales and bargains aren't always the best deal.

Visit Crystal for some more Frugal Friday tips.

7 comments:

happyhousewife said...

I totally agree with you. I always have a set price that I am willing to pay for something before I go to the store. If it is on sale at or below my price I will buy it, if not, I won't.

Beth said...

I agree! You have to pay close attnetion to all the "deals" because many times they aren't deals at all!

Laura said...

Yep, sometimes just skipping the deal is a better deal...

Great post!

Melonie said...

SO TRUE! I've been trying to teach my daughter this. It's a little hard for her since she's just shy of 7, but she's catching on. :-) Right now we're working on the difference between "for sale" and "on sale" - and she's learning percentages (that 75% off a higher price might still mean it costs more than "only" 10% off a lower price.)

Sonshine said...

AMEN! So true!! Then you add into the mix that prices are on the rise, it can really make things confusing when shopping for deals!

Beth said...

I agree. My mom always taught me that you save 100% by not buying anything.

My Ice Cream Diary said...

You hit it on the head. I used to teach a finance class for my church and I was always shocked at what people were considering a good deal. One guy would go every week to the store to buy ALL the 10/$10 deals that week. What he didn't realize is that some of the items were good deals but others were total rip offs.