4/11/08

Bargain Shopping Tenet #4: ONLY BUY WHAT YOU CAN AFFORD

News flash, bargain shoppers . . . if you can't afford that wonderful, priced-just-right treasure that is screaming Buy me now!, then you've just defeated the entire purpose of bargain shopping! We bargain shop to save money on the things we need and can afford. We do NOT bargain shop so that we can live outside our means. 

Many a time, I have personally been guilty of ignoring this all-too-important bargain shopping tenet, and I've lived to regret it. Here are some rules to live by, if your goal is to bargain shop while not breaking your bank:
  • If you have to put the purchase on a credit card because you don't have the cash for it, it's probably not a good idea.
  • If you decide to purchase an item, not knowing if your rent check or mortgage check will bounce, it's probably not a good idea.
  • If you make a bargain purchase just to get the rush of finding such a treasure, or because you're bored, it's probably not a good idea.
  • If you question whether or not to make a bargain purchase, don't do it. If you have to second-guess a purchase, that's a good indication that you should walk away.
  • Distinguish between wants and needs. There is a difference. It's ok to want something, as long as you can afford it. If a bargain purchase is just a superfluous want . . . walk away.
  • If you don't have room in your house for a bargain purchase, it's probably not a good idea. This simple question can help you rule certain things out, and help you to curb that urge to spend money you might not have.
These are just some ideas to help you avoid the pitfall of spending more than you should when you bargain shop. If you have other ideas, please share them with us. The key is to identify those urges to overspend and figure out what triggers them. Then you can be creative in finding ways to avoid those pitfalls. 

Remember . . . to truly reap the benefits of bargain shopping, you have to live within your means. Bargain shopping should be stress-free and enjoyable. Wondering how you might pay for something, or just not caring, will eventually turn your bargain shopping from a blessing into a curse.

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