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Is that a bargain?

Your Money
Wednesday 20 December 2017

With the so-called ‘January’ sales starting earlier and earlier it can be hard to avoid getting swept up in all of the apparent deals. But for people looking to start the New Year on solid financial footing, is it really a good idea to rush out and start filling your trolley with discounted goods? Here are some questions to ask yourself, and techniques to help you make sure you’re actually getting the bargain you’ve been promised.

Ask yourself: would I buy this anyway?

If you’re buying a discounted product that you need or intended to get anyway then you’re probably getting a reasonable deal. After all, the alternative would have been you spending out more to get it at full price.

However, if the only thing that’s drawing you to the product is its price slash then you may need to think again. Our top trick is to imagine someone offering you the money in one hand and the product you’re about to buy in the other. If you’d choose the cash then you know not to go ahead with the purchase.

Use a price comparison tool

Picking up surplus Christmas cards at 10p a pack ready for next year probably won’t break the bank (although it’s a good idea to set a reminder for early December so you don’t end up doubling up).

For bigger items, though, it’s rarely a good idea to act on impulse. Check prices online to see what the going rate is before rushing to buy the first deal that you see.


Ask yourself: is it worth it to me?

We’ve just mentioned checking prices against the going rate, but in some cases the going rate could be more than you think is reasonable. If you’re about to buy something that you don’t really need then think about what else you could spend the money on before going ahead – you might realise that the money would make you happier if you spent it elsewhere.

Consider how it fits into your overall budget

Splashing out on a sale item doesn’t have to be a bad idea, so long as it isn’t going to force you to compromise on more important expenses. If you see something that you love then decide whether it fits into your budget before going ahead – it may mean cutting down on something else, which is fine as long as you’re happy to make the sacrifice!

Ultimately, it all comes down to your own wallet: a deal is only a deal if you can afford it! Follow the tips above to avoid splurging on things that you just don’t need.

Page last updated: Monday 12 November 2018