If you read my blog, you know that I list many “deals” for items that are free or inexpensive. However, you can go crazy trying to get all the deals all the time. So, how do you know when a “deal” is not a good deal?
- Do you need the item? If your family doesn't use the item, do you really need to buy it even if it's free? You'll likely still be paying sales tax on the “free” item, and it will be taking up storage space in your house and creating clutter. One solution (if you just can't pass up the deal) is to donate the item to charity.
- How much of a stockpile do you need? Even if your family does use the item, do you really need to stockpile a 3 years' supply? If the item is perishable, you may end up just throwing it away, since you weren't able to use it before the expiration date. Once you have a stockpile built up, you may need to ease up on getting the deals.
- Is this item worth the time and effort to purchase? There are many great deals at many different stores (CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Target, Meijer, Kroger, etc). But, is the item worth making a special trip into the store? At this point in my life (with 2 young boys), I don't have the time to make many small trips to various stores. So, I currently shop at just CVS, Rite Aid, and Kroger or Meijer (depending on the week, but not usually both). I don't necessarily hit CVS or Rite Aid every week…it just depends on the number of deals available that week. Most deals involve planning, cutting coupons, as well as the trip to the store.
- If you do have an OOP (out-of-pocket cost), is that cost in your current budget? Most deals are not just a one-time event, so if that item is not currently in the budget, it doesn't make sense to spend the money to purchase it. Most likely another deal will come along when you have the cash to pay for it.
- A “good” deal may be different for everyone – Different regions of the country may have different prices – most noticeable is milk. I think milk for $0.99 is a great deal, but about $1.75/gallon is the norm in MI right now. I've seen others from different regions get excited about milk at a much higher price. Also, everyone has items that they love that they are willing to pay a higher price on, whereas someone else may think the item is too high of a price to buy.
How do you determine if a deal is a “good” deal? For more frugal ideas, please visit Life As Mom.
Photo by jrdurao