3 Tips for Determining When a Good Deal Is (or Isn’t) a Smart Purchase

by Ashley Eneriz · 2 comments

With so many deals sites available, and coupon apps that allow for easy access to discounts, it can be easy to go overboard on the good deals.

Getting items you were planning to buy anyway, for an extra 50-90 percent off is wonderful! But when should we pass on a sale and just keep the money in our bank account?

When is a good deal actually not a good deal? And how can you tell the difference?

Stop and Think Logically

Just recently Gap had a pretty big online coupon available for 24 hours only. They were offering $50 off of $100, including some sale items.

My mind immediately ticked into action as I started browsing through the toddler clothes and women’s clothes. This was a deal I shouldn’t pass up, right?

Then I realized that all of the Gap and Baby Gap clothes I have were bought at the thrift store or garage sales for under $3. They couldn’t match that price even with their online sales price and $50 off coupon. As I continued thinking, I also realized that most of the stuff I had in my cart was just stuff I sort of liked versus things I really loved.

I chose some nice clothing, but it wasn’t anything that I loved or felt like had to have. Because of this, I closed the site and went on to something else. After the 24 hours passed, I didn’t regret not buying anything from that sale.

There Will Always Be Deals

There’s no shortage of deals, and it can be tiring to keep up with them all. This is something that’s bad for your budget too, so don’t try to get your hands on every good deal available.

Here are a few tips for how to distinguish if a “good deal” is really good for you.

  1. Do You Need It? When I ask myself if I really need something, I verify if it’s something already on my shopping list or not. For example; a nice coat sale is always tempting, but if you already have a coat that looks and works perfectly fine, then you technically do not need it. Another example is seeing a daily deal for a fancy restaurant. While the coupon is great for saving 50 percent off your dining bill, eating out is not really a necessity, especially if your budget is tight. On the other hand, if you buy baby formula every month and stumble across a deal that would make each formula tub $10 cheaper, then by all means, stock up and save. Still not sure if the deal fits into the “needs” or “wants” area of your life? Ask yourself what you would do if you didn’t get the deal.
  2. Will This Deal Come Around Again? If you look at the deal sites regularly, then you know that many deals will come back around a few times a year. So there’s no need to jump on it right away. This is even true for couponers who get items for free at the drugstore. The deals usually repeat themselves, so there is no need to buy thirty toothpastes in one trip.
  3. Stay Away from Temptation: I avoid stores like Marshalls, Ross, and TJ Maxx because I know that if I go just to look, I’ll end up with a cart full of items that were not originally on my shopping list or in my budget. The temptation to buy is stronger for some than for others. You just have to be honest with yourself. If you can’t resist the deal sites or Groupon-like sites, then stay away from them. Ultimately, if you keep your money in the bank and keep yourself on budget, then you’re saving money. Buying several “good deals” or saving 50 percent on certain items is not actually saving money; it’s still spending.

For most good deals, it is just best to say no to spending. This is especially true if you’re already on a tight budget or need to pay off debt.

How do you know if something is a “good deal” for you? What steps do you take to get the smartest deals, without going over budget?

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Georgia says:

    Lisa D, I totally know where you’re coming from. … The words “On Sale”, “New Lower Prices”, “Roll-Back…”, & other similar verbage merely gets ‘you’ the shopper in mind set of, ‘Oh I know that I’ll need it later on and then it won’t be on sale…”
    Well that’s one mind set we need to stay out of…lest we spend money on stuff we don’t need.

  • Lisa D says:

    Been there . When I see on sale good deal. Think twice before you buy it. I know I don’t need it. When I see SALE , it’s like temptation you want to buy.

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