Spending To Save Is Still Spending

Tell me if this scenario doesn’t sound familiar to you: someone excitedly tells you how they got two of the same item for only $2.00 (or some other amount) more than the cost of the original item, so they saved X amount of dollars on the that second item.

I know, we’ve all fallen victim to the thinking that even though we don’t need it, the price is only a little more, which is cheaper than buying that item by itself. But it doesn’t change the fact that it is kind of a stupid money mistake. Actually, I guess it is more of a trick that stores and retailers play on us to trick us into making a stupid money mistake. Either way, I think I have been free of this habit for a few years now, but every so often it almost gets me again.

Using myself as an example, I have a huge addiction to coffee. This means that I have to spend a lot of time in coffee shops when I am traveling. If you look at the menu at Starbucks, or any other coffee shop, you will see that it’s just $0.20 or so more to upsize and you get, what, four more ounces of coffee? What a steal! It’s like they’re practically giving away those four extra ounces of coffee! Who would pass this up? Only a crazy person, right?!?

But do I really need four more ounces of coffee? Isn’t 12 ounces enough? Or better yet, won’t the smaller 10 ounce cup be enough?

I’d like to say that it’s my coffee lust that steers me toward the larger coffee “deal,” but that I suspect it’s actually just the mind-trickery that retailers like to play on us.

Have you ever tried to convince a cashier that you do NOT want to upsize your drink, meal, etc? If so, then you have likely heard an argument along the lines of, “but it’s only X cents more and you get X amount more for the money!” When you tell them “no thanks” they get so confused, it’s almost like no one has ever said no to the upsell in the past.

The bottom line is that you aren’t getting anything extra as a “deal,” a “steal” or a “savings” if you actually have to spend more to get it. The truth is that it is super hard to remember this sometimes since stores work their best psychological mind-trickery on us. They really bring out their “A” game on this.

My dad falls victim to these “deals” when he is out shopping at stores like TJMaxx. He’ll call to tell me about something he bought there because it was such a good deal. Then, he’ll tell me how much he spent on it versus the original retail price listed on the tag. MIND TRICKERY!!! Most often, he is buying boxes or organic tea there, nevermind the fact that the man has an entire cabinet full of tea that he’s bought there in the past.

While I sneer at this sort of mind trickery that the stores tempt us with, I will admit that there are times when it works to our advantage. For instance, if I am at the grocery store and something that I regularly buy is heavily discounted if you buy two, then you better believe that I am buying two of them…or maybe four….assuming that it’d not something that will spoil. I once bought 12 boxes of pasta in a deal like that. Those pasta boxes lasted me about 13 months!

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