Saturday, December 9, 2017

When Paying Full Price Is a Better Value

Jean Chatzky has said that she resolved to only pay full price for items. As Tevye would say, "sounds crazy, no?" But the real question is, do we really value the items when we buy them on sale?

Now, of course, if you already have something on your grocery list, and they're selling it at half off, great! But if you're only buying something because you got a coupon or it's on the Sale page of a website, it's worth asking, would I buy this if I could only get it at the pre-discount price?

I have been donating or discarding some items in my closet or elsewhere that I don't value as much because I paid so little. Off-hand, I can remember a sweater I bought at Goodwill that ended up back at Goodwill because I never wore it. There are definitely some books in my Kindle library that I bought for .99 that I've never read. So I know what it's like to see something and think, oh what the hell for that price! But take a look at your own closet, library or whatever and ask yourself if you value the actual item, or merely the discount.

Some factors to consider before buying: if you buy a tangible item, will you follow the "one in-one out" rule and get rid of something else (i.e., donate a pair of shoes for every pair that you buy)? If you're budgeting via categories, do you have enough in that category to cover the cost, or will you have to steal from another category to pay for it? If it's an experience, are you willing to pay full price if they don't honor your Groupon?

Of course, when you know you need or want to buy something, shopping around for the best price is prudent. But that's not the same as clicking on a link simply because it's offering you a discount, or adding something to your virtual or literal cart because it's marked down.

Value is not just about the cost of something. The true value is how much you use it/wear it/enjoy the experience.