How to Tell if that Deal Is a Good One
My hubby and I had a little debate today. We went back and forth on whether driving an extra couple of miles to claim a deal was worth it.
This all started when I asked him to pick up some things from the market for me today. Being the nice guy that he is, he agreed. When he got home, he couldn’t wait to tell me about the great deal he got on ground chuck meat today. He got 3 pounds of it for $2.99/lb., spending $9 in total. An awesome deal I’m sure you will admit. I readily admitted it to him too when he told me about it.
I actually couldn’t stop praising him about how awesome it was until I saw the plastic bag that marked where he got the meat from. He went to his favorite mom and pop market in the next city south of us, Doris’ Market. I don’t have a problem with Doris’ Market, what I do have is a problem with is how far it is from our house. It’s a solid 20-minute drive from us; MapQuest says it’s just over 13 miles away. When I saw that the good deal suddenly didn’t feel so good to me.
Our debate centered on whether or not the cost of going out of his way to get that deal actually eroded any savings he netted us. I did a little math experiment to break it down for him (my high school math teachers would be so proud). At the time the average price of a gallon of gas was around $3.82. My husband drives a Buick Enclave which gets 17 miles per gallon in the city and 24 miles per gallon on the highway. Since he used a combination of both roadways to get to the market, we’ll say his car gets 20 miles per gallon. That means he’s getting about 5.25 miles for every dollar he spends on gas.
The supermarket we usually go to is only a few blocks from our house and it usually sells ground meat for about $4.00/lb. If he were to have bought the meat, there it would have cost him about $12 ($4.00 x 3 lbs.). Since my hubby drove an extra 25 miles (13 miles there, 13 miles back, minus the 1 mile it is to our usual market) to get the good deal that means he spent an additional $4.76 in gas, which totally negates the $3 he saved buying the meat from his favorite market. He actually ended up spending more money than he saved.
My breakdown showed him that his good deal wasn’t really a deal after all. Not every sale is a bargain and not every bargain is on sale.
It takes a keen eye to spot a good deal now-a-days. Retailers are really good at pulling the wool over consumers’ eyes. They spend millions of dollars a year and employ hundreds of marketers who all try to convince us that their offer is good. There are six common ploys retailers use to woo us. Don’t fall for their tricks.
Buy One Get One Deals:
This is a trap if the extra item is something you really don’t need. You may try to reason it out that you’re getting it for free or half off, but they’re not really deals unless you actually need more than one. Ask the retailer if it’s a true “buy-one-get-one” sale or if each item is actually 50 percent off. If that’s the case, you can just buy one and get it for half price!
The Never-Ending Sale:
I find that a lot of high-end clothing stores pull this trick. Retailers know that consumers want a good deal and that the word SALE or DISCOUNT splashed across their store windows will draw us in. To keep us coming in they change up the discount or sale from month to month. The trick is that their merchandise is always on sale. One month the store window might advertise “50% OFF!” Then “Buy One Get One Free” the next month and continue this cycle of sales all year round. The products are always on sale! This trick means that the sale price is the regular price and that you are paying full price for their merchandise. Not a good deal.
Most of us have at least heard this term. This is when a store sells something at a price so low it loses money on it. Grocery stores usually do this with milk and eggs. The idea behind this tactic is to entice you into the store with these really good deals, where they hope you’ll buy other items they make money on while you’re there. To get a good deal you’ve got to have tunnel vision and only get those items and skip the rest.
At certain retailers you’ll notice price tags that show sky high MSRP’s (manufacturer’s suggested retail price). Sleazy retailers will use this to show you the price you COULD be paying. Usually right below the MSRP they’ll display their price, which is a lot lower than the MSRP. They only want you to think you are getting a good deal by showing you both prices. In reality they have actually marked the merchandise up so they can mark it down. That way, you think you’re getting a good deal, but the store gets to charge you full price.
Comparison Shopper Stopper
We all know stores that advertise a “low price guarantee” in which they promise to beat or match their competitors’ prices. With the rise in popularity of phone apps like Red Laser, Price Grabber, Google Shopper and such it has become pretty easy to find out quickly if another store offers the same make and model for a lower price. To combat this money saving tactic, these stores invent their own names and model numbers for their merchandise so it’s difficult for you to comparison shop. They hope you get frustrated enough to stop comparing prices and just buy the items from them since you are at their location already.
Free Gift with Purchase
How many times have you seen Clinique or other beauty brands pull this one? Retailers love to jack up prices and then add gift incentives to entice you to buy. You feel like you are getting a lot for your money in this instance. But really the extras you are getting are low quality or items you never wanted in the first place. You end up making a purchase from them (which they want) for a full priced item so you can get a crappy gift set or case that you don’t really need. Don’t fall for this trick.
Retailers are very adept at getting us to part with our money. And it’s about to get even harder to spot a really good deal.
But now you’re armed with the right information to see through their BS. You will be able to spot if something is a good deal or not. Stay tuned each week to find out more about how to save money on all the things we buy. Because a penny saved, is a penny earned.
Keeping Money in Your Pocket,