7 Reminders Why Sales Usually Are Not a Bargain

I spent my entire life shopping from sales racks and searching for bargains.

Until I realized my fixation on sales had become an obsession compelling me to buy things I didn’t need.

Don’t fall prey to the retailers gimmicks to trick you into buying things you don’t need.

Here are 7 reminders I tell myself whenever I feel tempted to “just check out” the sales rack.

Clothes for sale
Reminder #1

Do not buy anything just because it is on sale

Don’t feed the compulsion to buy because something is heavily discounted. If there is a $400 pair of jeans on sale for $40, they suddenly become much more appealing than if they were priced at $40 to start with. Either way, you are still paying $40 for a pair of jeans.The only difference is your perception of them. The trick is that you’re not saving 90%, as the retailers would have you believe, but that you are still spending 100% more of your money than you need to.

Buy things because you need them, not because you think you are getting a great deal.

Reminder #2

You’re not getting the better deal even though may think you are

Specialized sales and sale seasons were not created for our benefit as consumers, and they definitely were not designed with the planet’s well-being in mind. Although companies would have us believe that their heavily discounted prices and markdown are in the spirit of the holiday, in reality they are cunning schemes for enticing people buy more than than need and spend more than they can afford. At the end of the day, companies want to make money. There is no way that they would allow the consumer to get the better deal because such a practice would not be sustainable for their business.

Reminder #3

If you wouldn’t be willing to pay full price, you don’t need it

Imagine you are holding that pair of jeans originally priced at $400. They were marked down 90% and are now only $40. Take a moment and think. Is there really anything special about this pair of pants? Would you be willing to pay $400 for them, or even $200? What about them justifies their inflated price? Remember that sales are only a bargain if they are for something you would be buying anyway.
Reminder #4

If it’s not on your list, you don’t need it

It doesn’t matter if you find a practically new pair of designer shoes that are exactly your style and in your size. If you didn’t make the trip to buy shoes, you should not be buying them. One of the best ways to curb your impulse spending is to make strict shopping lists for yourself before you leave the house. This way, you are able to treat shopping as a directed mission rather than a leisurely pastime. As a result, you will reduce excess spending and the likelihood of you falling prey to enticing advertising schemes and sales.

Reminder #5

Small purchases here and there add up quickly

If we are in the habit of regularly buying sale-priced items, we may not realize the effect they are having financially. Rather than costing us an arm and a leg, these little purchases have a way of nickel and diming us to death. Even if the sale items are $20 or less, $10 here, $5 there, $20 every other month, they really add up to be a large sum of money that could have been spent or saved better. Remember that for every purchase. If you are tempted to buy something because it is just $__, take a moment to pause. Remember that it only takes 10 things that are only $10 to have spent $100 without so much as batting an eye.
Reminder #6

Storing this stuff takes up a lot of space

Buying stuff we don’t need just because it is on sale creates clutter. These purchases are generally 99.99% clutter. And that sh*t is suffocating. Remember that everything you bring into your home has to go somewhere.

Reminder #7

Sale purchases, especially brand-name purchases, are often difficult to declutter

We have been taught to assign a disproportionate amount of value to these items because they have been deemed special in some way by society. So, we cling needlessly to designer clothes we’ve never worn because it feels like their prestigious name makes them feel more important than they actually are. Save yourself the trouble and don’t buy things you don’t need just because it feels like an amazing deal on some “high end” stuff.

My story of overcoming mindless spending and costly clutter accumulation

I was raised to seek out sales, to shop in clearance sections, and to hunt relentlessly for deals. This shopping technique saved money for sure. At some point, however, the focus shifted from me scanning sales racks with purpose to find a specific item to mindlessly thumbing through piles of discounted clothes to make sure I’m not missing out on a find I can’t afford to miss out on.

It got to the point where I would check the clearance section every time I went out, even if the items on sale were nothing even remotely related to what I was shopping for. This habit had turned into a bit of an obsession, and made shopping a pastime rather than an intentional action.

There were times when I would buy things on sale just because they were an expensive designer or brand name at 90% or 95% off retail value. I told myself that I couldn’t help myself. Even if the item was too small or unflattering, I bought it anyway. It was just such a good deal I wouldn’t dream of passing it up. So my wardrobe grew, and grew.

When I started my first job out of college I wanted to celebrate by buying myself some new wardrobe staples. I didn’t know what I needed or what the office culture was like. I just assumed that it required something I didn’t already have since it was nothing like anything I had ever done before. I thought, now that I was working in a cubicle in a high rise building in the big city it was past time for me to grow up and start dressing like an adult (whatever that meant).

The reality was that I really didn’t need the extra clothes or extra stuff. I didn’t need more clothes to transform myself into a new or different version of myself. These bargain hunts were really my way of trying to make myself look more expensive than I could reasonably afford. I bought a lot of things I never even used because the price was “too good to pass up.” What I didn’t realize until later were the hidden costs of my bargain deals.

After spending months carefully decluttering through everything I owned, I am much more mindful of what I allow into my home and into my life. The above list are things I tell myself whenever I feel tempted to engage in mindless shopping and product browsing. I hope you found them helpful!



Ayla is a co-founder, writer, and designer at Bloopy Things. She helps individuals embrace simple living through practical and actionable guides in all areas of life.

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Ayla & Atle

We're a husband-and-wife team who help you simplify your life so you can focus on the things that truly matter and still have some time left for the bloopy things.


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