Have you ever scored a “deal” only to learn that you really didn’t get that great of a deal? If you use Groupon then this may have happened to you. This happened when I almost bought a 6-pack of Puma socks. Seeing that the socks were 75% off was hard to pass up but after a quick search on Amazon I learned that the socks were listed for the same price as the Groupon “deal” and there were other socks with higher ratings that were cheaper than the Puma socks!
Now don’t get me wrong; Groupon does have some great deals but it pays to make sure of it. With the timer counting down until the offer expires we feel pressure to BUY NOW. However, let me offer a simple tip that can save you from spending extra on what you thought was a good deal.
Wait 24 hours
That’s right. When you decide you want to buy something I recommend waiting 24 hours before buying it. During that time, do a little research to compare prices. The same situation with the Groupon deal shows up in stores as well. For example, JCPenney may have a sale going on where items are marked down to 70% off. That 70% off is relative because if you look at the tag it says that the coat you want to buy was originally $500 but now it’s marked down to $150. I don’t think JCPenney ever sells coats at the original price on the tag, but because we see the 70% off sticker we think we’re scoring a deal.
Learn when the best discounts occur
Say you’re looking to buy some new patio furniture to go with the new patio you installed this summer (true story for me!). Rather than rushing out to buy new furniture, playing the patience game will lead to some great discounts as fall rolls around and stores are marking down patio furniture to get rid of it. You can often find the best discounts on items AFTER the season is over. That winter coat you contemplated buying at JCPenney will be much cheaper when spring gets closer rather than buying it in November when the demand is high (at least here in Michigan) and everyone is buying a coat.
Buying a used product can save a lot of money. I found a jogging stroller that I liked but it retailed for $200. I didn’t find the stroller on Craigslist at first but I checked a week later and saw one for $40 in great condition. It helps that I keep a running list of things I’d like to buy but am not in hurry to get so that I can check Craigslist every few days and wait for a great deal to show up.
Do you need it?
Waiting 24 hours allows time for you to think about if you actually need the product or not. Sometimes the line between a need versus a want can get blurred and we think we NEED something when really it’s an item we simply want. Sure, it’s on sale, but do you NEED it? Can you wear your winter coat for a few more years or are you caught up with wanting the latest style? I’ll let an item sit in my online shopping cart for a day or two and I’ll realize I really don’t need the item so it gets deleted or put on my wish list for later.
If you don’t find what you’re looking for on Craigslist then another great option is to post a status on Facebook asking if anyone has what you’re looking for. If you’re building a patio and need a table saw then there’s no sense in buying one if you can borrow a friend’s (or rent one in this case). Facebook is great for buying cheaper items and finding things you only need for a one-time use but don’t want to buy it. Your friend may not be actively looking to sell a space heater but once they see your status “Anyone have a space heater they don’t want anymore?” your friend might sell it to you for a low cost or maybe even give it to you for free since you’re taking it off of their hands!
Black Friday is right around the corner. While this situation doesn’t allow you to wait 24 hours, don’t get caught up with spontaneous purchases or the hype of extreme discounts. Often stores only have 10 or so items that are an amazing deal while everything else in the store is close to its regular price. Don’t let Black Friday leave you in the red as 2014 wraps up. Consider the purchases you are making, decide if you really need it, and seek out other options that may get you a better price.
What tips have saved you money when shopping?
This post has been written by Jessica from BudgetForHealth.com.
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.