Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Learning To Say No--My Couponing Mistake

I've been sharing this week about my couponing dos and don'ts.  Today, something happened that brought to mind my biggest couponing mistake.

A status update just popped up in my facebook news feed advertising a survey group that is currently accepting new participants.  The status claimed that the survey company paid in cash and not just in points that may or may not accumulate enough to be worth something.  I admit I was tempted.  I clicked on the link.  I read the information.  I clicked over to the survey site and glanced at the application form.

And then I told myself NO!  Walk away, Lisa.  Close the page.  Do not join another survey site.  You don't even do the ones you currently belong to because you decided they were not worth the time investment.  I closed the page.

My greatest advice when it comes to couponing and deal seeking is to learn how to say no.

These shoes were critically needed, were something
I was checking out sales for, and when I found
a good deal, I bought them.

It is so easy to justify purchasing something that you don't really need just because it's a good deal.  Hey, look!  A facebook status just announced a great sale on shoes.  Those shoes are a really good price.  I should buy them.  But wait.  I don't need shoes.  I just bought new running shoes last month.  Do I really need a new pair of shoes just because they're cheap?  No, of course not.  Ignore the sale, Lisa.

A good deal is only a good deal if it's something you actually need.

We are constantly bombarded by sales, deals, advertisements trying to convince us that our life is not complete unless we buy something.  A few years ago my children asked me if I would buy Mighty Putty.  I looked at them like they were crazy.  But they kept seeing ads on TV about Mighty Putty and were convinced we needed it.  The power of advertising.

I walk through the store and see sale tags all over the place.  Tags that scream BUY ME!  It's on sale, that means it's cheaper than it usually costs, I should buy it.  Right?  Not unless I truly need it.

This was one lesson I learned the hard way.

I subscribed to a lot of deal sites on facebook when I first got into couponing.  My news feed was constantly full of "good deals."  I started buying things that I didn't really need because they were a good deal.  Suddenly I am spending way more money than I was before.  Sure, I was getting things at great prices, but I was buying too many things that I didn't need.

This dress, while cute and cheap, was an impulse purchase
She already had a closet full of dresses

I had to sit down and have a stern talking with myself.  I took my credit card out of my wallet and stuffed it in a secret place far away from my computer that would be very inconvenient to dig out every time I was tempted to buy something.  That way I had to think long and hard before making any purchase.  I learned to ask myself a few critical questions before pulling out that credit card.

1. Do I truly need this?

2. Will I regret this purchase when my credit card bill comes?

3. Is this something I could buy used for even cheaper?

4. Can I put this on the birthday/Christmas lists and wait?

Sometimes the answer is yes.  I have been looking for a new swim skirt all summer because my old one has holes in it compliments of my tubing adventure last summer and getting snagged on branches in the water.  Yesterday someone posted a Lands End deal so I checked to see if they had a swim skirt on sale.  They did!  I snagged that swim skirt for $13 and didn't look back.  I found a great deal and asked myself--Do I really need it?  Yes, my current skirt is ready for the trash.  Will I regret it?  Not even a little bit.  Can I buy it used?  Um, ewww???  I don't do used when it comes to things that touch person regions.  Can I put it on my B/C list?  Not really something you can ask your mom or Grandma to buy for you.

A different example would be a deal I saw on Legos.  I admit, it was a great price.  But after going through the list of questions, my decision was to pass it up. We don't really need any more Legos, we just want them.  I would regret it later.  I can find them used at garage sales all the time and I can put it on David's Birthday/Christmas list and wait.

Learning to say no to yourself, learning to pass up deals for things that you don't need, is probably the most important thing you will learn to do as you travel through your deal seeking adventure.

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