When Does A Sale Result In A Savings

When Does A Sale Result In A Savings

I looove a good sale, it’s very exciting.  But if I’m not careful, I’ll fall prey (as I have in the past) to the sale’s misleading messages and effects.

When you see a sale sign that usually means the price of certain items/services, sometimes all items/services, has been reduced.  A price reduction implies that you’ll save money when you purchase those items/services; however, price reduction and money saved are not the same thing.

Purchasing something on sale only results in a savings if what you buy was something you were already on the market to buy.  If not, you just spent money you didn’t intend to spend, on something you had no intention of buying.  And while this gives you the ability to acquire something at a reduced price, it doesn’t save you money.

Sales are also an emotional trigger.  They can trigger excitement, but flickrSalewithGorillathey can also trigger the feeling of scarcity causing “feeding frenzies” (i.e. Walmart on Black Friday).  It doesn’t matter that sales are not scarce, and every commercial is for the “Sale of the year!”  Just the word SALE is an attention grabber, regardless of what’s on sale.  Because they know this, stores will have big banners with the word “SALE!!!” as a means of getting you into the store (in person or online) with the hopes of you buying things you really don’t need (and some things you don’t even want) just because it’s “on sale.”

Even so, I still looove a good sale and, as long as we don’t fall in the trap, we can benefit from them.  A few benefits are:

  • Acquiring something you may not have been able to acquire at the item/service’s regular price
  • Reducing the cost of regular expenses (i.e. groceries or cell phone plans)
  • Creating and/or increasing money available for future purchases, or investments

So go ahead, check out the sale, but keep in mind savings are intentional, and sales encourage impulsive spending.  Happy shopping!


Photos by Peter Kaminski and Martin Abegglen via Flickr under Creative Commons.

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