Shopping Deals in 2021: Are They Worth It?
Every year I feel compelled to re-address this because it’s an important, but not always popular, topic. Deals. I’m just going to say this and hope you don’t abandon this blog forever. Deals can be loosely disguised as a shopping addiction. Now I'm aware this blog is founded on the principles of smart money management, and finding deals is a big part of how that’s accomplished. But this week I want to hit on a few warning signs for my bargain shoppers, especially because the adjustments of COVID-19 has so many people surfing the web for that next endorphin hit. Here are a few things to consider if you’re a fellow deal-finder.
Out of budget is out of budget. Period.
While finding great deals is a big part of savvy savings, the #1 is and always will be the almighty budget. Some deal finders love the thrill of the hunt. Shoot, I do too! But if the item you are seeking — deal or no deal — is not part of your monthly budget, don’t take the plunge. It’s far too easy to sink your budget and start credit card debt accumulation if you make an excuse for “just this once.” Remember, there will always be another deal waiting around the corner.
You don’t need that. I promise!
When you’re deal shopping, needs and wants can quickly become a gray area. For example, say I am shopping at Target. I see a deal on hangers. “Hey!” I say. “I’ve been needing hangers! How lucky is this?” You may have at some point wished you had more or better hangers, but you don’t need it as much as the laptop charger you’re there to purchase so you can power your job. Now you’ve spent twice what you set out to and compromised your budget. I suggest keeping a running list on your phone of the actual things you need at any moment in time. When you are tempted by a deal you can refer back to your note and determine if it’s more important than the shiny object at the store.
When deals matter most
The best use of deals is when you know you are already making a purchase, especially a large one. If you’ve saved for a vacuum and know you’d like a Dyson, great! Now you can start looking for where to find it at the lowest price through different retailers, online codes, or seasonal deals. This is what makes a savvy deal finder the true master of their own finances.
Trust me, I know how exciting it is to find the perfect item on a discount. But I have also seen too many people battling credit card debt when this little rush turns into a big problem. With these tips, you’ll be able to keep your spending in check and make sure you are enjoying the thrill of the chase for all the right reasons.
Kat’s Money Corner is posted in the Kansas City Star every week. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, follow us on Twitter @CommunityAmerCU.