When reading couponing blogs, you will undoubtedly come across many “good deals”. The key to couponing is determining what is a good deal for you, and then taking advantage of those deals to save you and your family money.
A good deal isn’t really a good deal if you can’t afford it.
If the price of a house for sale was cut in half, that would be a good deal but you wouldn’t necessarily run out to buy it because it still has a hefty price tag. Apply this mentality to all of your purchases. You may find a good deal on a higher price item such as a TV, but if buying a new TV isn’t in your budget then that isn’t a good deal for you.
Just because it’s expensive doesn’t mean it’s not a good deal.
Similarly, just because an item is high priced even after a deal doesn’t mean it’s not a good deal for you. If you need to buy a car, or a tv, or are planning a vacation you can still find good deals. The actual dollar amount paid may still be high, but it’s all relative to what the “normal” price would be. If you get a $5,000 vacation discounted to $3,500 you’re still spending a lot of money but it is a good deal because you are saving $1,500 on something you would be doing anyway. Again, it is all relative.
A good deal isn’t necessarily a good deal if you don’t need it.
I admit, I’ve fallen into this trap. I’d see a sale in a weekly drug store circular and think “Wow, what a great deal! My favorite body wash is on sale this week and after my coupons it will only cost $0.50 – I better buy as much as I can because it’s such a good deal!” I never stopped to think that I already had 10 of the same item at home from the last time it was on sale, so I ended up spending money on things I didn’t really need. The reality is that even though you are getting a good deal, you are taking money out of your budget for items you don’t need.
Can you actually use the item?
This goes along with the “do you need it” theme. Say there was a sale and you were able to get beans for $0.20 a can. Since it’s a good deal you buy 20 cans, but you only eat beans 3 times a year and they expire in 2 years. At the most, you’ll use 6 cans and the other 14 will expire. You’ve just wasted $2.80 – not a good deal anymore. This isn’t just for food – lots of spices, medicines, even cosmetics and cleaners eventually expire. I only buy quantities that I can expect to use in a reasonable period of time. Stockpiling is great, but if your stockpile far exceeds your actual usage, chances are you will not be able to use everything. I tend to think that 3-6 months stockpile is a good amount (obviously varying for short expiry items). Of course, you can always donate items to food kitchens or shelters, so if you’re inclined to do that you should never have anything that expires!
The moral of the story is, you have to evaluate your budget and determine what you really need. If you need beans and they are on sale that’s a good deal for you. If you’re planning to travel to Paris, saving $1,000 is a good deal for you. Keep in mind that while one person may consider something to be a hot deal, it may not be worth the money for you no matter how low the price.