Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Navigating Sales

After my post about Linen n' Things, I felt I wanted to elaborate on my last sentence. I know a lot of people (myself included) who make this mistake: buy things we don't need or things that aren't really good deals, because it was a great sale. So here are some things to keep in mind when going to a sale.

Have a plan. When you see a great sale, think about what you would like to get and then decide at what price is it a good deal. This way you are more focused and avoid two pitfalls.

Pitfall #1, see a super marked down item that you don't need, but it's too good a deal to pass up. I don't care if it's 95% off and only cost 25 cents. If you buy something you don't need, you spent 25 cents buying clutter for your home.

Pitfall #2, buy an super marked down item (because it's a steal at 50% off!), even though the sale price is still unrealistic in terms of what you should spend. I was looking for a cardigan this weekend. I found a Kenneth Cole cashmere cardigan marked down from $300 to $150. I was seriously tempted. I really needed one for work. This one was the right style and right thickness to warmth ratio (super warm and not too thick). AND it was 50% off, a steal! It is. But the $150 is still way, way over my budget. Sometimes emotions gets the best of people. In a sale situation it's also the urgency, and the fear that if you don't buy it now you will regret it. I walked around with that sweater for 15 minutes. I left and came back. I called my friends. Finally, after thinking back to similar situations before, I put down the cardigan.

I realized that buying it didn't make my life fuller, and leaving it won't leave my life lesser. Missing a 'great deal' opportunity won't fill my life with regret (unless I let it), sales will happen again.

What if you can't think of what you want from the store? It's a big sale. There might be super good deals of things you need/want but can't think of on the spur of the moment? I for one would go in for a look. Key is to treat this like any regular shopping trip. Don't think about how great a deal you are getting. Don't decide your purchase on how many % off it is. Decide by asking questions like do I need this? How will I use it? How often will I use it? Is this price right for me? If you are buying gifts, you can come up with similar questions.

Happy Shopping.