I can’t pass up a good deal
Have you ever bought something you didn’t need just because it was a great deal?
What leads us to purchase a bread maker that is on clearance at 75% off, knowing it will sit unused on the counter? Why does the thrill of a bargain get us so excited?
My local grocery store had the store brand microwavable macaroni packets on sale “buy one get one free”. The word “FREE” always get my heart pumping, and the items end up in my cart. One is free! Can you get any better than that? Now I have twice as many! Only a fool would pass on free stuff, right?
It turns out the store brand was not a hit at my house, so now two boxes sit unused in the pantry. The kids would rather starve than eat what they describe as “hot cardboard with sauce”. Did I save any money with my bargain? No, not if they are not going to eat it.
Unused items = clutter
The excitement of a bargain can lead to irrational purchases. I’m guilty of purchasing items for the house while being fully aware I have no place to put them. Garage sales finds often fit this category. I remember the kids coming home with an electronic basketball game that took up 1/3 of my son’s room. The thrill of the find trumped the idea it might not fit anywhere.
Unnecessary items just become clutter in the house. Combat this rationale by making a conscious decision to stop and question each bargain purchase. Am I really going to use this?
Are impulsive buys causing clutter in your home?
The next time you pass the “tableclothes $1.99 each” bin, resist the urge to stock up on ten of them just because they are cheap. Do you really need ten? Who needs ten tablecloths? Wouldn’t one or two be just fine?
I just finished reading Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely, and I have to say it was one of the most fascinating books I have ever read. He is a Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics, and this book is filled with examples of how we make irrational decisions on a daily basis.
Here is an entertaining talk Dan Ariely did which gives you a taste of what is in the book. Grab a cup of coffee and take a few minutes to enjoy it. He is delightful speaker, and it is time well spent.
Knowledge is power
After reading “Predictable Irrational” I feel more informed, and I am able to see decision-making in a new light. Is it possible that I will avoid some shopping traps that I couldn’t in the past? I think so. I will attempt overcome the irrational, impulsive decision to purchase things I won’t use and avoid marketing gimmicks.
I’m currently reading Dan’s most recent book The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home now, and it is just as interesting as the first book.