I just shake my head when I hear stories about how much someone saved at a huge sale they went to. They hit a 40% off sale, then had an additional coupon on top of that and “wow, look, I saved $95!” Yes, but how much did you spend in order to save that $95? You would have had 100% savings if you didn’t go to the store in the first place.
There is a Lowe’s commercial out right now that perfectly fits this scenario. The first time Mr. SFF and I saw this commercial this week we both looked at each other and said “but they had to spend a ton of money to save the money”. We then high-fived as we were both on the same page.
Now sometimes you can run across a deal or coupon for something that is just too good to pass up. Maybe there is a discount on something you normally purchase so you buy 3 instead of 1 knowing that you will need more soon anyways. This is a scenario that I can fully support. I suppose the bulk stores like Costco, BJs and Sams club are like this, assuming you are buying something you actually need, like 2 months worth of toilet paper.
Mr. SFF also had an amazing shopping experience recently. He is a preferred member at Men’s Warehouse from back in the day when he had a regular full time job and we lived less frugally. Depending on the day and which client he is working for he needs to look presentable but nothing too fancy (no suit or ties required). A nice pair of pants with a button down nicely does the job. So when he received a $50 off your next purchase coupon (probably generated from the tux rental for the black tie wedding we attended over the summer), he headed out to Men’s Warehouse to see if they might have something good on sale. I will admit I was a little surprised that he was going out shopping but I was completely taken aback when he got home and showed me the receipt. He checked out the sales rack and picked up two button down shirts on sale. The total was $49.98, only 2 cents short of the $50 coupon. Holy cow, did he use that coupon as efficiently as possible! Not a dollar out of our pockets and only 2 cents from the coupon lost. Absolutely amazing!
But this case I think is out of the ordinary. The average person will receive a coupon or see a sale advertised and think about all of the money they “saved” whereas what they should be focusing on is the fact that they had to spend money in order to save money. They would have been better off if they had just avoided the store all together and have 100% savings. Unfortunately our society is very consumeristic and encourages and even rewards spending. Just look at all the rewards programs that stores have. Sometimes is it s punch card where you make 9 purchases and your 10th one is free. Or you swipe your rewards card and earn your rewards. It takes a shift in your thinking in order to see these programs for what they are, advertising to get more business. Retrain your mind and ignore them, unless of course you can get 2 free shirts.