Three rules of thumb for deal chasers

Two women shopping

When is a good deal not a good enough deal? Coupons, sales, and specials can be enticing, but they’re not always the best deal. True deal chasers know when to walk away from what may seem like a good deal and you should too.

The next time you spot a deal that you think you should take advantage of, here are a few tips to making sure it’s the best deal you can get.

Do I need it?

This is the first question you should always be asking yourself. Just because it’s on sale, doesn’t mean you should buy it. If you spot a 60 percent off sale on jeans and already own five pairs, you probably don’t need to take advantage of this deal no matter how good it is.

The same goes for bulk food deals. The big box stores have a gift for making you buy more than you need. While you’ll probably use the 20-roll package of paper towels or toilet paper, do you really need a package of 50 hamburger patties and will you use them all before they expire? If you’re inviting the neighborhood over for a cook-out, maybe, otherwise, it’s highly unlikely.

Asking yourself “do I need it?” and “how/where/when will I use it?” will help you determine if it’s a good deal or just a waste of money.

Is there a better price?

Here’s a little-known secret, businesses sometimes increase their prices then mark them down to make you think you’re getting a good deal when you’re actually paying the price they wanted you to pay all along. If something looks like a good deal and it’s an item you can buy somewhere else as well, or you can buy something similar, do some comparison shopping.

Warehouse stores don’t always have the best deals, they just make you think they do. A quick online search to a few of your favorite online retailers may find something similar at a much lower price. And you can probably get free shipping.

Here’s an example . . . if you’re shopping for new patio furniture and you go to a warehouse or big box store for a deal, instead of buying right away, take measurements and do a little research. Shop Amazon, Wayfair, Overstock, Lowe’s, Home Depot, and even your local discount and/or grocery store. Chances are, you’ll find something similar for hundreds of dollars less and that price won’t even be the sale price, it will be the regular price.

Can I afford it?

A deal is only a deal if you need it, it’s the best price, AND you can afford it. Going into debt over something you really don’t need is just a waste of money. Before making the purchase, think about how you will use it and do some shopping around. Then give yourself a day to think about it, you can always go back. This will allow you to determine if it’s really a good deal FOR YOU.

For something to be a good deal, it needs to be something you’ll use at a price that’s lower than you can get anywhere else and something you can afford. The only exception to this rule is if it’s something you can re-sell for more than you paid for it.

Tagged in Smart shopping, Reducing expenses

Emilie writes about overcoming debt, while balancing trying to eat healthy, stay fit, and have a little fun along the way. You can find more of her work at