It’s a myth that the only people who ever find themselves in shopping (or credit) hot water are those who spend money on big ticket items or luxuries. Here are 7 simple truths about discount shopping.
- It’s not the dollar amount that you spend that determines how healthy a shopping purchase or expedition is. You can have a shopping problem even if you only ever shop in discount stores, or buy discounted items. (And the other way around, you can have a healthy relationship to shopping and only ever buy higher priced items).
- Discount shopping can mean you are getting bargains. But it can also mean you are practicing what is known as “false economy”, which is defined as an apparent financial saving that in fact leads to greater expenditure.
- Don’t be fooled by the total. Even if it only adds up to what other people might spend on take out coffee a week (or a day), it can still be an unsound purchase. If you don’t need it, don’t really want it, and won’t use it, then it doesn’t matter if it was completely free or cost you less than $1, it will clutter up your house and your life. And is therefore a waste, and highly likely to be a bother. Better to leave it behind and save your 60cents or $6 or whatever it cost you, and keep your home and heart space clear for things you really want, need and will use.
- There are very few true bargains in this life. In many, if perhaps most, cases, you get what you pay for. There are exceptions to this, of course. In my own closet and home, I can point to a number of genuine bargains – high quality, useful and needed items I have used and enjoyed for many years, items that cost very little or were discounted. You probably have this, too. But they are the exception not the rule.
- Often quality and price have a direct relationship. If the item is discounted, there may be an issues such as obsolescence, up-to-date-ness, newness and currency (as in, is it current), quality or the condition the item is in, quantity of stock and an oversupply of it, original pricing (being too high). These may be perfectly reasonable reasons to you to buy a discounted items – you may not care or be able to happily live with an item that is sub-par in one of these ways, as determined by the seller.
- A constant activity of discount shopping is cause for pause, and reflection. Why are you only purchasing items that are so cheap, and on discount? Sure, the occasional discount purchase is something many of us engage in. But to always (or perhaps even only) ever shop in discount stores or purchase discounted items suggests you may believe you aren’t worth spending money for quality or worth paying full price for. This is not buying into the “you’re worth it” hype, but a recognition of all the other simple truths here, especially there are very few true bargains, and often quality and price have a direct relationship.
- Discount items may be able to be offered for sale at such ludicrously low prices for many reasons, one of which is that the production and shipping policies of the producer are questionable or not sustainable, perhaps even unethical or immoral. I’m talking about issues such as child and slave labour practices, using harmful pesticides, dyes and other chemicals in the production process, and the use of unsustainable shipping processes. These issues are worthy of a moment of pause and perhaps reconsideration before filling your basket or trolley with ludicrously cheap items whose origin you aren’t certain of.