Is it a good deal?

By Berny Unruh, K-State Extension Agent
Berny Unruh

The clearance aisles are full and the prices are great, but when is a good deal not a good deal? There are pros and cons to buying things on sale for a great price. I love saving money, but sometimes when I find a good deal, it is easy to overbuy. When you buy more, you are not necessarily saving money. You are just getting more things for the amount you would have spent anyway. By buying more than you need, you may eat more or use more than necessary.

Going to garage sales or the thrift store can save you a lot of money. Have you ever gone to the thrift store and come home with more than you were looking for? Could you have bought one thing you really wanted instead? Is it worth it to sacrifice what you really want for lots of inexpensive stuff? Most people don't realize how much they really spend getting good deals. Keep track of it and you may be surprised.

Another reason not to buy more than you need is the amount of time it takes to care for the things you have. How much is your time really worth? The amount of clothing you have is a good example. How many clothes do you really need? By going through our clothes and cutting back, we may spend less time doing laundry. By having fewer clothes, you not only save money, but you also save time.

The main advantage of getting things on sale is that you can afford luxuries that you couldn't afford at regular price. This might be true with beautiful Christmas decorations that you absolutely love. If you can wait, we all know that Christmas decorations will eventually go on sale. Or maybe you have found a beautiful coat that you would never buy for the full price but if you are patient, it may still be there at the end of the season.

As you go bargain hunting, ask yourself the following questions before making a purchase:

1. Do I really like it?

2. Do I really need it or will I really use it?

3. How many do I really need or how many will I really use?

4. What could I do with that money if I didn't buy it?

5. Do I want to have this clutter up my home and be responsible for it?

Is there something you already own that will work instead of adding more to the stash? More stuff means more clutter, more to clean and more to be responsible for. By being wise about purchases, your money can be used to invest in your future or live more comfortable on your income.

The key to avoiding “the good deal dilemma” is to buy only what you need and what you will actually use. Wishing you the best in this new year!

            Berny Unruh is the Family and Community Wellness Agent for the Cottonwood Extension District.  She can be reached at 785-628-9430 or at bunruh@ksu.edu.