Kathy Petersen’s Blog

Even if it’s a good deal, should you buy it?

Posted in frugal by Kathy on January 19, 2009

One of the blogs I keep up with lists a bunch of “deals” — freebies, coupons for free or nearly free items, Walgreens specials, and also her own personal Walgreens trips, where she proudly announces that she bought $115 worth of stuff and spent $6.

Sounds good, so why not?

First, when I check the things I have or can get coupons for, they’re usually not that great of an item to start with. For instance, our family rarely uses much in the way of medicine, so who cares if I can get 10 bottles of Robitussin for only $5 (after all rebates and refunds and coupons)? I don’t need ten bottles of Robitussin. I’d be surprised if we use even one per year. So, I’d have nine bottles of Robitussin to get me through the next nine years… except it goes out of date in a year or two. So, you’re spending $5 on two or three bottles of Robitussin, when you can get the generic for $1 apiece, any time, without having to crowd my limited space with big bottles of something I’m not going to use.

The same goes for “gadgets” — they take up space, I’m not likely to use them, and even if they’re “good” at what they do, the peripherals end up costing a lot — for instance, I’ve got a coupon for a free food vacuum sealer thing, and I’m considering getting it, but probably won’t. While it might help reduce freezer-burn, I have a method which is already pretty dang good, and it doesn’t cost me a cent. Plus, to use this gadget, you’ll have to purchase the special bags to go with it, and I daresay those are a bit more expensive than freezer bags.

While I kind of drool over her ability to get so much stuff for so little, when I look at the actual items she gets, I just kinda go, “huh?” Because almost without exception, these items are something that I would usually not purchase anyway, or I shouldn’t purchase them because they’re junk food. So, even if it only ends up costing me 50 cents to purchase something, if I don’t need it, shouldn’t eat it, or wouldn’t get it anyway, instead of “saving” me whatever amount of money it is between the usual price and the register price, I actually spend 50 cents that I otherwise would not have spent. And it’s for something I don’t need, shouldn’t eat, or wouldn’t get. Just because it’s “a good deal.”


2 Responses

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  1. terrajones said, on January 19, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    I hate clutter, but I definitely stock up when I can & we take it to church for when people are in need or to the local pregnancy support center

    I agree w/ the 10 bottles of medicine though, lol

  2. Robin said, on January 20, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    Yup, I often have the same issue when I read all the awesome deal blogs/sites/message board posts. Just not stuff that I want or need. I do make an exception for things that I can get for free or less than free, because even if I won’t use it I know someone or some organization that can.

    That said, I have definitely learned a lot about watching for sales and pairing up coupons + sales on things that I do buy regularly, and stocking up on those items when I get a great deal.

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