Here’s How to Spot Money-Saving Gimmicks Like a Pro
When strolling your favorite clothing store, perusing the lunch menu at your regular haunt or scanning the sale items during your weekly grocery shopping trip, you may notice screaming advertisements promising massive savings and super specials all aimed at saving you money.
As in so many instances in life, this is a time for discernment. Sure these types of money saving promises are tempting, particularly when you’re in shopping mode or ravenous for your next meal, but that doesn’t mean you should cave to whatever supposed deal is being served up, especially before you know the particulars.
Let’s look at a few of the most common “money-saving” tips that are anything but. Here’s to a bit of discernment.
- Buying perishable items in bulk. There’s a reason retailers like Sam’s and Costco are so popular. With the lure of purchasing loads of household staples at wholesale prices, the marketing plan is solid. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean it’s the right move for your shopping needs or your bottom line. The truth is the appeal of buying in bulk often leads us to purchase more of something than we really need. If you must buy in bulk, limit it to items with a long shelf life, like paper towels and toilet paper.
- Skipping regular medical checkups. This is not only a no-no for your health, but it can come back to bust your budget in a real way down the line. I know it’s tempting to put off that teeth-cleaning trip to the dentist or to skip your yearly physical, but chances are you’re likely to get sick sooner or later. What’s more, no matter how often and how well you brush and floss, over time your teeth will suffer without regular professional care. The lesson? Be mindful of your regular checkups, which are usually covered for free with insurance or at least cost loads less than an illness-related visit, which often results in prescriptions, if you pay out of pocket. And don’t get me started on the cost off filling even one cavity or, the horror, suffering through a root canal, which can easily run you $1,500 or more.
- Buy-One- Get-One Free deals. Chances are, with these types of deals, the prices are
first marked up before the BOGO sign is slapped on, eliminating any potential savings.This is unfortunate because, when honestly marked, buy-one- get-one free specials could mean significant savings on items you buy often, like eggs, bread or milk. You also have to be wary of a similar scheme, buy-one- get-one half off. When you see that sign attached to items like shoes or handbags, be sure to do a few quick calculations before taking advantage. To avoid getting scammed, shop around for identical items before making a final purchase.
- Always going for the lowest price without considering quality. A rock-bottom price is always worth a second look, particularly when you’re in the market for big-ticket items like furniture or appliances. But when you are shopping for such items, comparing
the price to the level of quality you will get in return is an important factor. After all, any money initially saved on a poorly made couch won’t make much of a difference when the piece is falling apart long before it should and you’re forced to cough up more money to replace it.
- Neglecting one aspect of your financial life in favor of another. Managing money is a balancing act, so it’s important not to tip the scales too far in favor of any one line item in your budget. For instance, if you’ve committed to building an emergency fund you’re definitely to be commended. However, if you aren’t working to build a retirement fund then you aren’t managing your money to the fullest. A good way to quickly rectify the situation? Split your emergency fund allotment in half and dedicate that portion to your nest egg. Also, once your emergency fund can cover three to six months of expenses, which is what most experts recommend, you can move more money to your retirement account.
- Ordering the restaurant “specials.” Think that special your waiter just told you about translates to savings? Think again. Likely you’ll pay a hefty price for that “special” order. Best to stick to the lunch menu or start splitting over-sized entrees with your dinner companions to save a few bucks.
- Focusing too much on monthly payments rather than full ticket price plus interest. The new car shines brightly and temptingly on the showroom floor. The salesman helpfully suggests you could drive home with that baby today at a monthly note that fits neatly into your allotted budget. Perfect, right? Not so much. The downside? Your payments will likely be extended for another year to keep within your monthly payment limits, which translates to whole lot more interest than you’re willing to pay. Best to stick to a ticket price that fits your budget and lowers your monthly responsibility, leaving room in your budget for other essentials, you know, like food.
Money-saving gimmicks, sales and savvy advertising are everywhere in a full-out effort to separate you from your hard-earned money. Learning how to spot the scams and is well worth the effort. If you need addition help, the team here at American Credit Foundation is always available. Contact us today!