Saving Time AND Money?

in Articles, Money Management, Organizing Tips, Time Management, Uncategorized | by admin | on June 5th, 2012 | 1 Comment
Saving Time AND Money?

Several years ago, when I was a young mother, I discovered that I actually spent LESS money if I DIDN’T read the sales flyers.  I used to read them diligently before I went grocery shopping, and carefully plan my trip so as to take advantage of the best prices at the various stores near me. What was happening, though, in spite of my best intentions, was that I was buying items I wouldn’t normally buy, simply because they were on sale.  Once I stopped reading the flyers, I would go to just one store and buy only what was on my list (for the most part).  Sure, I occasionally paid a dollar more for my cereal than it cost at the other store, but we had everything we wanted, and the monthly grocery tab went down noticeably.

I’m bringing this up now because I’ve had to re-learn the truth of it, or at least remind myself. With the proliferation of online coupons, daily specials and deals, it’s easy to overspend by a lot more than I was with the grocery flyers! We are seduced: Complete pair of eyeglasses for $49! Dinner for two at Posh Restaurant for only $20!! Deluxe ocean view hotel room for less than half price!!!

How much money are you spending on things that you wouldn’t otherwise have bought? And how much time are you spending checking websites like Living Social, Groupon, and SwarmJam? Then there are the emails that come by the dozens every day, if you subscribe (and I do). Sales and deals are wonderful things – when they are for something you would have bought anyway. My old house needs a lot of work, so you can bet I snap up those handyman coupons whenever they come up. But I’m careful to plan jobs that don’t exceed the time allotted on the coupon, because the price for extra hours is nearly double what I would pay my regular local handyperson, and can quickly make the “deal” not so great! And a bargain on a pair of eyeglasses isn’t really a bargain if  you spend $49 on the coupon, and then another $200 in-store, for an extra pair of glasses you don’t really need.

So how do we take advantage of special pricing on the products and services we genuinely want, without being lured into buying all kinds of things that are not savings? Would we be better off, as I discovered I was in the grocery store, if we didn’t follow all those coupon sites, and just bought what we needed when we needed it, for a fair price? We’d be spending more per purchase, but making fewer purchases.

I’m going to cancel my email subscriptions, and stop checking all but the two sites I use the most. I’m also going to  keep a list on the computer and commit to buying only items that are on my list. No fancy dinners, unless I’m taking my guy out for his birthday. No half-price oil changes that expire before I need my oil changed. I’ll let you know how it works for me.

Do you use daily deal websites? Are you spending more, or less, because of them? Are they still a bargain when you factor in the investment of time? Tell me what you think.

(Thanks to FreeDigitalPhotos for the image above.)

1 Comment to “Saving Time AND Money?”

  1. admin Says:

    July 7th, 2012 at 10:47 am

    Well, it's a month later, and I haven't bought anything from the daily deals folks! I've been tempted a few times, but I stop and ask myself: "Do I need this? Will I regret it if I don't buy it? Is it really a deal? Would I buy it if it wasn't on sale?" Clearly, the answer to all these questions is usually "No"!

    I recommend this article in The Atlantic, on what motivates us to spend.


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