Monday, 16 December 2013

Things I am not going to buy - Day 16: Bargains

What is it about a bargain?  I truly believe that it is part of human nature to seek out and snare a bargain, in the way our ancient ancestors used to seek out and snare wandering beasts for their dinner.  It doesn’t seem to matter how wealthy people are, how much they actually want and, more importantly, NEED something, the sight of a “discount” sticker or “sale” notice, brings out the hunter in the mildest of us (and I’m certainly not that!).

Of course, all the big retailers know this and use it to squeeze as much of our hard earned cash out of us as they possibly can.  In the not-so-dim-and-distant past, shops would have JANUARY sales.  We looked forward to that period after Christmas - many starting on Boxing Day or the day after, when we could go out ready to do battle with the hoards for the real bargains.  Shops were selling off their winter stock, and you could pretty well guarantee that you would find the same coat or dress you had bought at full price 3 weeks ago, reduced by 50%.  There was also a mid-year sale in July, when the shops would sell off their summer stock in readiness for the winter woollies to come in, before everyone had been on their summer holidays!  These days, we have come to expect everything to be discounted to the point that we won't buy anything unless it is marked down.  "Sales" are all year round at most stores, and online retailers like Amazon make a big deal out of showing the "RRP" along with their price, and the amount you are saving.  Quite often it is only about 3p, but the bargain hunter in us still loves the fact that we are not paying full price. 

I KNOW it is wrong.  I KNOW I am being duped.  So why is it that when I see things "on offer", I feel the need to buy them!  This applies to clothes, household goods, food, books, gadgets... anything really.  I can guarantee that the clothes that sit in my wardrobe unworn and unloved are ones that I didn't fall in love with and pay full price for - they are the ones that were reduced in price.  My "price-per-wear" works out far lower on items I have paid a higher price for, as I actually WANTED them when I bought them. 

If I make just ONE change as a result of this review of things I shouldn't be spending money on, it should be to stop buying "bargains" unless I have already identified a need for something and the bargain just happens to tick all the boxes (and, importantly, it would have been worth buying at full price).

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