I was recently faced with a conundrum. My parents came in town for a short weekend visit not too long ago. Anticipating their arrival, I went to the grocery store to stock up on a couple food items I knew they would enjoy. My mother, in particular, is partial to Diet Dr. Pepper (which I will refer to as DDP for the remainder of this post).
There were many packaging options available as always. Knowing that my mom enjoys drinking from the can, I naturally directed my eyes to the location of canned DDP. Here’s where the conundrum begins.
Displayed before me were cans packed in cases of 12 and cases of 24. If I were to buy a case of 12 cans, it would cost me $3.00, however if I were to buy a case of 24 cans it would cost me $4.00 (actual prices may vary; I don’t remember the exact prices). Doing simple math, I realized that the case of 24 cans was a much better deal from a quantity standpoint considering that if I bought two 12-packs, I would be spending $6.00, when instead I could just spend $4.00 for a 24-pack and get the same amount of product.
The problem is that no one in my household drinks DDP. Even though my mom loves her some DDP, there was no way she was going to drink 24 cans of it over a 3-day span. In purchasing the 24-pack, my mom may drink 5 or 6 cans over the weekend leaving the rest to age over time and eventually get tossed out. Therefore, it would make no sense for me to pay the extra $1.00 to purchase the 24 cans even though it is a better deal (if you are a DDP drinker).
Granted, this is obviously a small scale example of where sales, coupons, and discounts can mislead you. However, many small decisions like this can add up to a lot of wasted money over time. This scenario can also be true of larger purchases as well. For example, if you’ve ever purchased a new car, you’ll know that the salesperson always tries to upsell and trick you into buying something you know you don’t need.
The lesson: It’s worth the time to put some thought into every single purchase you make; big or small. Just because you found a 50% off coupon for your favorite clothing line, it doesn’t mean you have to use that coupon when you already have a closet full of clothes. Buying the jumbo bucket of pretzels doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting a better value if you only intent to consume the size of a smaller, cheaper container. If you listen to talk radio, then there would be no reason for you to pay an extra $500 for an upgraded stereo system when buying a new car even if that same stereo would cost you $1,000 to have it installed later on.
The solution: Make a list and stick to it. It’s all about discipline. Don’t base your list of the various coupons and sales you’ve come across. Base the list on items that you need. If it so happens that you manage to find some sales, coupons, or discounts related to something on your list… Great!
Do you have any additional feedback? Please comment below with any thoughts.
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