Whenever I’m in the process of purchasing something online, be it something off a a business website, something off of Ebay or someplace else, my biggest concern is whether or not I’m getting value for my money, or am I being “suckered” in and taken advantage of in some way.
There is just so much hype around, everyone is used to seeing it on television and it’s seems to be everywhere you look online and it can often seem almost impossible to drown out all of the noise and make a smart purchase.It is just too easy to get dazzled in stores and buy what we think to be bargains, only to end up spending far more than we have to. I’ve done this numerous times, have you?
The Truth about “Sales”
Most businesses selling products (vendors) have a significant mark-up on the products they sell, so a sale is merely bringing down the price to something closer to its true worth or true value. In some cases, retailers will also create “loss leaders”, these are items designed to lure people into the store in the hope they will buy more. Supermarkets are a good example of this, with bread and milk the things people purchase often used to lure you in.
Sales tend to trigger impulse purchases, often bad ones. You spot things you like as you’re walking through the aisles looking for the sales items. People often think purely about the savings they are supposedly making and not if they actually want the item or how much it is actually worth. You might also grab things at the checkout and boost your bill even more.
Shops are also arranged in such a way as to stimulate impulse buying, with end of aisle displays, snack bins and more. You can understand how dazzling this can be if you are ever in the supermarket with a young child, who will often want things as soon as they enter the shop and seem to want to grab everything in sight.
Therefore, while sales and sale displays can be attractive and distracting, they are also an easy way to get suckered into making bad buying (financial) decisions.
The Truth about Coupons
Discount Coupons may seem like a great way to save money, but the truth is that they will only offer good value if you normally buy the product and its original price is comparable to that of similar products. In some cases you might be better off buying the store brand.
Discount Coupons are given to try to get you to buy a product in the hope you will like it and become loyal to the brand. But in many cases they are over-priced convenience foods and junk foods like chips and dips. Pound for pound, therefore, you are getting little value or nutrition.
Special Sales Online
Amazon and other large online stores offer sales for the same reason. And with shopping software now so sophisticated, it is easy for them to track your purchasing behavior and try to get you to buy more. They all have various strategies for trying to increase the dollar value of each purchase you make. For example, Amazon will sell a popular item cheaply, but sell the needed accessories for more than their competition.
They will also bundle offers, that is, combine one or more items. They look like bargains, but the prices might not be competitive in the first place. Comparison shopping can save money, but many stores are banking on people just not having the time to find the best deals or do research.
Consumer Reports is a good guide to use for review of products, especially high ticket items, although Facebook and Google will often allow you to quickly research major purchases. Consumer reports do cost money, but it can be an good investment that will pay for itself if it helps you make smarter shopping decisions based on logic rather than impulse.
The bottom line is simple, if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably and normally is. Have you heard the saying
“A fool and his money are easily parted… “
Always do your due diligence and research. If you have any unanswered questions, find the answers before hitting the Buy button. Go with your gut instinct. Learn some of the tricks of the trade when it comes to “sales” and you should be able to make better, smarter purchases without getting suckered.