STOP! That Deal Could Be A Horrible Money Sucking Mistake

stop that deal could cost you moneyDeals are awesome!

I love it when I get a great deal on something I was going to buy already, especially if I had budgeted to pay the full price.

My favorite thing about deals is I have a ton of other ways I could either spend, invest or save the money I’m able to avoid spending.

That means I can get ahead on those other goals.

Unfortunately, deals are a double edged sword.

Deals Save You Money… Right?

Think about the last deal you took advantage of.

How did you find out about that deal? Did you see an ad in the paper showing you an awesome sale? Did you get a coupon in your email inbox? Or did you decide to make a purchase, then look for an awesome coupon to use?

My best guess is you fell into one of the first two deal finding examples, rather than the third. Sadly, that’s a problem.

See, while you may have found a deal, what you really found out was that advertising is effective and scarily so. In fact, you think you probably took advantage of the seller when chances are the seller was taking advantage of you.

Companies use deals all of the time to promote a sense of urgency in making a purchase. They want you to feel like you have to buy now or else the deal will never come back.

Now there are times where the deals never are quite as good as they were, but in most cases deals will happen again and again on some sort of regular basis or interval of time.

Take Advantage Of Deals When You Are Ready

Instead of taking advantage of deals when big corporate companies want you to, you should only take advantage of deals when you’re ready. What does that mean?

Instead of browsing through deal lists because you’re bored, only look through deals when you’re ready to make a purchase. If you find there have recently been deals or deals occur every few weeks or months, consider delaying the purchase until a deal pops up.

If you know you’ll be making a big purchase in the near future, research when deals normally pop up and try to time your saving and purchase in order to get the best price.

How To Avoid Being Bombarded With Deals

Deals find their way into my life in a few ways. Most often, deals are constantly emailed to my inbox after I’ve signed up for a newsletter or some email list to get a coupon or one time offer. They just keep coming!

To avoid this, set up a separate email list for all email newsletters and purchases from companies. That way, when they send you emails, you don’t have to see them unless you’re ready to log in to your deals email address and look for something you’re planning on buying in the near term.

Another way deals pry their way into my life is through TV commercials. Luckily, technology has allowed us to avoid TV commercials by pausing a TV show when it goes to commercial and fast forwarding through the commercial break. (Yes, I pay for cable and I won’t be cancelling anytime soon.)

Alternatively, if you don’t have to watch the show live, you can just fast forward through any show you’ve recorded on your DVR.

Finally, deals often find their way into my physical mailbox. I briefly look at who is sending me a piece of junk mail and if I think it has a coupon or deal I may want to take advantage of in the future I set it aside.

Once a month I go through the pile and look for expired offers and throw them away. Just be careful to only look at expiration dates though, you don’t want to be tempted by any deals!

There Is Nothing Wrong With Deals

There is nothing wrong with deals. The problem comes from us allowing ourselves to buy things that we weren’t planning on purchasing anyway because a deal make the item desirable to us.

By all means, take advantage of all of the deals you can. Just make sure you were planning to buy the item anyway or you’ll be out of some of your hard earned cash and likely regretting the purchase in the near future.

What are your thoughts on deals? Do you only look for them when you plan on buying something? Or do you fall victim to their advertising power and buy things you weren’t planning on buying anyway? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Image by: Images_of_Money Text added by: Lance Cothern

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About Lance Cothern

Lance Cothern, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is the founder of Money Manifesto. You can read more about him here or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.


  1. Very true. I got an offer in the mail for a free tablet just for completing a survey. Sounds great, right, but when I looked it up online it turns out it’s a lead-in for a time share company and that you’re agreeing to deal with them. Letter torn up and in the circular file.

  2. Hey Lance, good points. I just fell for a deal like that recently… kind of.

    (I still disagree with you about cable though. That’s a low hanging fruit right there, there are much cheaper, better options for TV/Movies nowadays.)

    • Depends on your definition of entertainment. We like TV for the things we watch that we can’t find on places like Netflix or Hulu. Still cheaper than many other entertainment alternatives in our neighborhood but to each their own 🙂

      • Barbchicago says:

        For the past two winters, it was so cold that they cancelled school. Thankfully, I had my cable. However, I will call when they try to increase my rates and I do need to consider changing companies.
        I also agree that cable is a cheaper form of entertainment. A corn maze is $13 each ($10 kids). A car museum is $15 each. The museums in Chicago are $15-$25 a day each unless you get free passes from the library or it is a free day/weekend which are always really crowded.
        However, Lance, I think your article is too vague. I coupon and bought 12 conditioners for about $16 with expensive Chicago tax. Though I did not need it now, I know I will use it in the future.

        • Barb, if you’re going to use it and it won’t go bad, then chances are you got a good deal. However, the problem is when there is a deal on something you wouldn’t have bought anyway and you bought it solely because of the deal.

  3. So true! I think it is easy to forget that sellers understand your psychology and know how to convince you to consume something you might otherwise not want to consume.
    I think the ideal situation would be to seize great deals (like credit card sign-ups) while trying to avoid the bad ones.

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