Friday, May 7, 2010

Sales and Discounts

Sales and discounts are a good thing.  Right?  Except when they aren't.  The thing about sales and discounts is that they often suck us into the same spending pattern we're trying to get out of.  I was recently tempted by two different offers.  One was an incredibly deep discount on some cute clothes.  The other was on pet medication.

 I was really excited about the clothes because the savings were so good.  The clothes were cute.  They had my size.  But I really didn't need the clothes.  Are you saving money when you buy something you don't need?  Not really, no matter how "good" the deal is.  It's a classic example of want versus need.  I passed on the clothes.

The other temptation came on my pet medication.  I have 3 dogs and 2 cats.  By the time I buy heart medication for the dogs and flea and tick control for all 5, I have spent quite a bit each month.  The discount I found really brought the price of each individual application down, but I had to buy the product in quantity.  My dogs are different sizes so they can't even share one box.  The total of the order felt way outside of my monthly budget.  But the product would last more than 3 months.  When I divided it out per application per animal per month, I couldn't turn it down.  I went ahead and spent the money today.  I believe that it was a frugal choice over the long term.

 Living frugally often means taking advantage of sales and discounts.  Sometimes I find things on sale that I don't need right now, but I will need later, so they are still a good deal.  But I have found that I have to be very careful with sales, so I don't end up spending money on something that I don't need, and might not even really want.

The clothes were a want, but the pet medication was a need.  I'm proud of myself for carefully analyzing my options.  I think I made good choices today.  And I think that's the trick to frugal living...making reasoned choices, not impulse buying.

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