Are deals costing you your dreams?

Football GameEvery single day our inboxes fill up with the latest deal at our favorite retailers. The question is, are these deals saving us money or are they the reason we live paycheck to paycheck? Let me share a story about the last 24 hours.

My Wife’s Birthday Present

Nichole’s (my wife) birthday is coming up next week and like the prepared husband I am, I already purchased her a gift that I know she will love. Then yesterday, I received word that the Pro Bowl is going to be in Orlando (where we live) this season. Anyone who knows my wife would agree she is the biggest New England Patriots fan around. So, I thought this would be a terrific gift for her. As a Disney employee we receive a discount and access to practices for free with a ticket purchase.

Going to the Pro Bowl is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and this time it comes with a discount. I could feel my adrenaline rushing, and I began to imagine us at the game, how happy my wife would be. I then remembered I already had a birthday present, so I began to think about a holiday I could give her the Pro Bowl tickets. I already have the perfect Christmas gift and Valentine’s Day is after the Pro Bowl. What could I do?

Don’t Be Stupid

I could give her the Pro Bowl tickets instead of the birthday present I already bought. But, I know she is going to love the gift I already have. I begin to examine which gift she will like more. I am torn. Then as it marinates I realize how dumb and foolish I am being. I have already spent a substantial amount of money on a gift, to spend several more hundred dollars on a football game makes no sense and I ultimately, decided against the game.

But for one day, like many of you, the deal had sucked me in. I began to make an excuse for the impending purchase. Then once I had the excuse I tried to convince myself of how great an idea it was. Then, if I hadn’t sat back and truly examined the situation, I would have made the purchase and been comforted by the friendly “Congratulations, enjoy the game” message I received.

The problem is within a few hours of making the purchase, buyer’s remorse would have set in. “Oh no! At the game we are going to want food and souvenirs, an extra $100. How am I going to pay the rent?” But it would have been too late, we would be going to the game.

A Deal is Not Always a Deal

All too often do we see a BOGO deal or 60% off and we pull the trigger, only thinking about all the money we are saving. Yes, you are saving money, but only if you intended to buy that item. If your TV dies and you need another one and you find a new one at 50% off then you did great. However, if you see the latest Best Buy ad and buy a TV only because it is 50% off then most likely, you just cost yourself money. This is money you didn’t plan to spend either, throwing off your entire budget.

My degree is in marketing and let me tell you, retail is built upon people seeing deals and buying without thinking. Just look at Black Friday or your inbox. Too often we find ourselves victims of the marketing message rather than our own needs. Always remember a deal is only a deal if you NEED the item, not if you want it just because it is on sale. Shop wisely and within your budget and soon you will be financially free.

Your Financial Freedom Partner,
Joel Parker