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TWT: What’s a Good Deal?

helping each other be good stewards of all our resources: money, possessions, time, energy, and health

Sometimes people do not understand how much money they actually save when they find a deal.

Last week my girls found a judo outfit for Miss 10 at a thrift shop.  To do judo, you need a very sturdy outfit, called a gi (pronounced like ‘geek’ but without the ‘k’).  These outfits are expensive but making your own is completely out of the question.

Therefore I was thrilled when the girls showed me their find.  We paid about 35 cents instead of the usual $40, and I felt that this was our deal of the year.

Then one of my children pointed out that this was no ordinary gi; this was a very fancy, name brand gi, and we had saved a lot more than $40.

But had we?  I was planning to spend $40 on a gi for my little girl.  I had spent 35 cents, so I had saved exactly $39.65. The fact that the gi was worth more than $40 does not affect my finances at all, unless I can sell it after the Little Misses outgrow it. (It does, however, make me feel good, and that’s great, but financially it makes no difference.)

Now, here’s a vital concept: 

The amount of money you save on a deal is the difference between what you would have spent and what you did spend.   

Note that it’s not the difference between what you could have spent and what you did spend.  In fact, if you would not have spent the money first place, that ‘deal’ did not save you anything but actually cost you money.

Now, I’m all for buying top quality, and I’m all for having a little extra money set aside to be able to snag a good deal when it shows up.  But if I have no need for a certain gizmo, and get a deal on it for $100 instead of $1000, I haven’t saved $900; rather, I’ve wasted $100.  That’s all fine and dandy if I have that $100 to spend, but if the budget is tight, I could quickly bankrupt myself by finding such ‘deals.’ And then I might be wondering what had happened, since I had just ‘saved’ thousands of dollars.

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For more ideas, visit Tuesday’s Tips , Tuesday’s Tip Jar, Works for Me Wednesday, and Thrifty Thursday.

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4 Comments

  1. Stacy says:

    That is so very true. When dd was younger and we’d buy her clothing at garage sales, I’d come home and add what I would have spent to buy it new. Then I add up what I actually spent. Because of the huge savings, we could often afford to buy her clothing at garage sales that she really didn’t NEED, but wanted because it was adorable.

    I remember when my mom bought her 2 outfits that normally would have cost $75 each. She paid $10, and dd really got the use out of both of them. They were her favorites.

  2. LarabaK says:

    So true… my dear grandmother, who was a shopper extraordinaire, used to say “the more you spend, the more you save.” That wasn’t true, of course. The more you spend, the more you spend! I’m not a shopper by nature so am usually not tempted to just buy clothes for the fun of it, but I am tempted to pick up very inexpensive homeschool supplies at sales. Sometimes that’s Ok, but if we are never going to use it, I need to avoid cluttering up the house uselessly. I will often buy a very cheap book (25 to 50 cents) that I don’t know much about so I can check it out…if I don’t like it, I can give it to the library with a clear conscience, knowing I didn’t waste much money.

  3. LarabaK says:

    I should add that my grandmother always bought sale items, so usually it was if it was originally an expensive garment but was 50% off, in her mind we were saving the 50%. Whereas I was more liable to look at the final price. She could afford it so it wasn’t a big deal, but as a mom of many I’m always thinking about the bottom line.

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