Sometimes a deal isn’t as good of a deal as you think.
I was reminded of this recently when my husband, who has an ancient cell phone (for reasons I won’t go into here) told me he received a text from Verizon saying he could upgrade to a new phone for $40.
But when I looked at Verizon’s own website, I saw the same exact phone mentioned in the text message listed as an online special – for FREE.
These types of things happen every where. I’ve seen things at Target marked with a “Price Cut” tag on the shelf. But when you lower the little tag, it’s the exact same price as regular price underneath it.
Buy one get one free deals often run this way, too. What the stores don’t tell you is that they’ve jacked the price so high on the item you have to buy that the “free” deal isn’t really worth it.
The secret to hanging on to more of your hard-earned cash when you come across these “deals” is to ask yourself several important questions:
Who is telling me this is a deal? When you can answer this question, you help establish the motives this person may have in telling you about the “deal.” Most likely it is a company trying to sell you something. Other times it may be a blog telling you about a deal because the blogger gets a commission from the sale. Here at Northern Cheapskate, I will always disclose any material relationship I have to a coupon, deal, giveaway or freebie. Other blogs don’t always do that (even though they should), so keep that in mind before you sign up for something. You can read my disclosure policy for more info.
Does this deal seem too good to be true? If you answer “Yes” to this question, it’s best to walk away. Always read the fine print of the deal and make yourself familiar with return or cancellation policies.
Does the item have value? This is an especially important question to ask during Black Friday sales. A really great price on a blender or a digital photo frame, might not be all that great if the product is of poor quality. Try to find some online reviews of the product to make sure that the deal is worth the money.
Is this deal really the best price? Shop around. The internet makes it pretty simple to compare prices. You may find that you can find the same item cheaper someplace else.
Can I afford this deal? Ask yourself if you have the money to pay for it now (not later, on a credit card). Are you prepared to store, maintain, repair or replace this item in the future? When you make a purchase, you’re not just committing money to it – you’re committing your time and your space.
Do I need this deal? If you’re serious about saving money, remember to stick to deals for the things you need. It’s far too easy to make an impulse buy that you’ll regret later.
The best deals are the ones that save you money on things you already use and are within your budget. Shop hard, spend smart.