Sunday, February 6, 2011

But are the deals worth it?

I get a lot of email and blog updates on various deals floating around the internet. I used to get Shop it to Me alerts sent directly to my email, I get Groupon, Target daily deals and now Buy With Me which is kind of like Groupon. I'm certainly thrilled to have the option of getting great deals and discounts, but I'm also starting to wonder if knowing about these deals makes me spend more than I otherwise would-- I wonder if I'm buying more just for the savings.

If that is the case, it wouldn't be the first time I've been suckered by a good deal, but if it is a genuinely good deal on something I'd buy anyway--is it really a bad thing to spend?

Recently, I stumbled across a deal with where you get a travel cosmetics case that includes a Burts Bees lip gloss and small lotion, a sleep mask, a travel toothbrush and toothpaste, plus a couple other small items all for $5. The lip gloss alone costs over a dollar and then case was a good, small size perfect for overnight trips where you don't want to pack too much. Plus, I've been wanting a travel toothbrush as well. All told, it was a very good value for the items, so I bought two.

By the time it arrived and I actually looked at it, I was kind of baffled as to why I thought I needed it in the first place--especially why I thought I needed two. Cost breakdownwise, it was good value, but does that make it actually worth it?

This is what I struggle with the most. I don't really need anything, but occasionally there are things that I...need, and I'd like to get a good deal on them. When I was in the throes of my summer of underemployment, I got some great deals on contact lens solution, food, shampoo etc., but did I really need to spend so much money when I had next-to-no income?

I'm aware of this issue, and just being aware is step one, but it's just so hard to decide which is the best deal in terms of what price I'm paying and what I actually do need. I could unsubscribe to these lists and remove the temptation completely the same way I avoid stores when I'm trying not to spend money, or I could exercise more restraint. Usually my strategy is to sleep on things, and if I still want the item later, then I go buy it, but I can't really do that with Groupon since you only have 24 hours to get the deal.

That's how they get you.

I don't have the answer for this one, and I think the only thing I can do is be more discerning, which is a challenge. It never gets easier because there's always a new way to spend, but at least I'm trying.

1 comment:

  1. I feel this way about deals like this too. I get Groupon and Living Social emails, but so far, I've only bought one and that was a gift certificate to a baking supply store. I know I'll use that since I love to bake.

    I have a friend who buys lots and lots of restaurant groupons and gift cards to use when she and her husband (or when our group of friends go out) eat out. I find this good and bad. Good because she is trying to save money buy eating only at places she has a gift card, but bad because she (and consequently those of us who are eating out with her) is spending money that could be better spent someplace else (or in savings!) and enjoying a cheaper, home cooked meal.

    I know it's no fun to never go out to eat, but I probably eat out maybe twice a month and don't really notice it or miss it. I just don't really feel like buying these deals, especially for restaurants, are worth it.

    I could go on and on about my feelings on this topic, so I'll stop now. :)