Everyone loves a good deal. There’s this rush – almost a sense of accomplishment – when we snag something for less than it’s worth. I’ve always considered myself to be a savvy shopper, but I’m finding that sometimes this can actually hurt my bottom line.
Whether you are trying to improve your financial situation or you’re on a quest to rid your home of unnecessary clutter, deal hunting can be a deal breaker. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the fact that something is a good deal that we fail to consider if we really need that item.
Here are 7 ways deal seeking can cost us more than it saves:
I’ll admit that up until a few years ago, I was an “extreme couponer.” I was fully immersed in in the game and I saved a ton of money. But honestly? Not everything I bought was used by us. I found myself purchasing products that I would never have picked up otherwise, just because I could get them for less than a buck. Some things we donated, but we wasted more than I’d like to confess.
Now, I’ve stopped clipping coupons (no longer spending time organizing and money on printer ink!) I save a considerable amount of money by doing 95% of my grocery shopping at Aldi. I may not be walking out of there with $150 worth of food for $12, but it is ALL food that I know we will eat.
2. Clearance Racks
Ohmygoodness. Leisurely shopping the clearance sections at Target was once my guilty pleasure. Whenever the stars aligned and I got a much-needed break from my (precious) children, I would grab a coffee and hightail it to those little red stickers adorning the end caps throughout the store. There are plenty of great deals to be found, for sure. But I wound up buying items just because they were discounted so deeply. Who can resist 75% off?! Now, for the most part, I steer clear of Target unless I have a very specific reason for being there.
3. Doorbusters and Loss Leaders
You know the $5 or $10 gift card coupons retailers send out? Or the incredible sales you can only get in the first few hours of the store’s opening? These are designed to get you in the door because they know you’re almost guaranteed to spend more than you’ll save with these promotions. If you’re laser-focused, you can take advantage of the savings without going astray, but it’s not easy!
4. Yard Sales and Thrift Stores
I’m a big advocate for buying secondhand. I have found some unbelievable deals at local yard sales and thrift stores. But I’ve also wasted a ton of valuable time browsing through other people’s junk (ever noticed how “garage sale” is only one letter away from “garbage sale?”) When you are on a tight budget, this can be an affordable way to fill that shopping void. Just ask yourself first, would I still want this item even if I had to pay more than 10 cents for it?
5. Local Facebook Groups
Here’s another place where you can find some amazing deals. I’ve sold a lot of great stuff through my local groups and bought a few items as well. Since it’s a fast-paced, first-come, first-served arena, it can be tempting to lay claim to an item before anyone else. I’ve changed my News Feed settings to stop showing these group posts. Now, instead of seeing everything that everyone is offering, I will do a search on the group’s page when there’s a specific item I’m looking to buy.
6. Shopping Without a List
This is pretty much the biggest mistake I make when shopping. I have to have a list when I walk into a store, or things can go terribly, terribly wrong. I don’t know about you, but I’m convinced that Wal-Mart has some sort of mind control in place that makes you forget what you came there for the minute you pull into the parking lot. When you browse around a store hoping to remember what you need, you’re bound to wind up with items in your cart that you don’t. Make a list and stick to it!
7. Shopping for Sport
I get it, I really do! Sometimes we shop for no reason other than the thrill of the hunt. It can be fun to seek out the deals, and there’s definitely a place for it in any budget conscious family. But when we don’t have a plan and we’re shopping for the heck of it, “saving” can be detrimental to what we’re striving to accomplish with our finances and our time.
What about you? Have you ever bought something just because it was a great deal but later regretted it? Share in the comments!