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How to save money when you buy on sale

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
We all know that one lure of sales items is the perception that we're saving money, even though we know intellectually that it isn't true. What if we could actually save money when we buy a sale item? Would that slow our buying or allow us to throw caution to the wind and buy even more?

Some months ago, I read a suggestion in one of the men's fashion magazines (GQ or Esquire) that after buying on sale, one should invest the savings in an untouchable account and thus actually save money on the sale(!). Since then, whenever I buy a sale item, I've transferred the difference between the sale price and the retail price from my checking account to a mutual fund account and discover that for me it has several salutary effects:

1) I think more carefully about purchases, since I know my checking account balance (discretionary spending money) is going down by the full retail price
2) I feel less guilty about the sale purchases I actually decide to make
3) my checking account goes down so my purchasing slows, despite the reduced guilt
4) obviously, my savings have increased

Naturally it takes the self-discipline not to touch my mutual fund account(s) after transferring money in.

Has anyone else tried this, or even considered it? Do you think you could do it and would it be beneficial?
post #2 of 24
pretty good idea
post #3 of 24
thinman. to tell you the truth, i have never thought of this idea. sometimes i get the notion that where did all the savings go when i continue to buy stuff? i basically cancel it out after a run of purchases.
i am going to try this. i believe that sf is not only a bad influence, but there can be some virtue as well. thank you sir.
post #4 of 24
So if you had bought a $240 RLPL suit at woodbury, you would have transfer between $3k and $4k (maybe more) to savings??
post #5 of 24
Interesting idea. I wonder if the guys that come home with those incredible thrift finds are willing to do this...
post #6 of 24
I was going to respond with humorous-tinted flame, but it's an interesting idea.

On the other hand, some deals are so good ($1200 bag for $99?) I am simply incapable of putting that much cash aside. And the bag was worth $200 to me at the most.
post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by polar-lemon View Post
So if you had bought a $240 RLPL suit at woodbury, you would have transfer between $3k and $4k (maybe more) to savings??

Yes, that is what I mean. Since I maintain a strict discipline that makes the savings in my mutual fund account(s) untouchable except as emergency funds, that money is unavailable to me for purchases. Thus my buying habits have changed, to the benefit of my net worth (measured in dollars, not pairs of Lobbs ).
post #8 of 24
You seldom save money when buying something on sale. The only case I can conceive is when you were about to pay a sum for something, then it turned out it was on sale for less than that. In other words, say you're willing to shell out $1000 for a briefcase. You might find a $1000 briefcase for $500, in which case you actually save money. However, you might find a $3000 briefcase for $1000, and spend exactly what you intended. Or you might even buy a $4000 briefcase for $1200, in which case you actually spend more money than you intended.

If you're anything like me, you set your upper limit on an item first, then get the best value at that price. In my own example, if I found a $1000 briefcase for $500, I'd likely hold out for something better, and often will end up spending more than I intended.
post #9 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Renault78law View Post
You seldom save money when buying something on sale. The only case I can conceive is when you were about to pay a sum for something, then it turned out it was on sale for less than that. In other words, say you're willing to shell out $1000 for a briefcase. You might find a $1000 briefcase for $500, in which case you actually save money. However, you might find a $3000 briefcase for $1000, and spend exactly what you intended. Or you might even buy a $4000 briefcase for $1200, in which case you actually spend more money than you intended. If you're anything like me, you set your upper limit on an item first, then get the best value at that price. In my own example, if I found a $1000 briefcase for $500, I'd likely hold out for something better, and often will end up spending more than I intended.
Worst savings plan ever. Money is a tool, not only a means to buy clothes. When you have the money, the clothes aren't all that important.
post #10 of 24
I usually buy when sale period



about bottom to 30%~~~~up to 90%??
post #11 of 24
I think one of the problems, at least for me, is that a sale item that I purchase is typically something I have no real need for. Thereby making it a money loser no matter what, if it was never on sale I would have likely never purchased it anyways. I just chalk it up to entertainment and try not to get into any deeper meanings

Things that I DO need I like to buy on sale anyway, I hate paying full price unless I absolutely have to
post #12 of 24
Great post, Thinman. I set my clothing and saving budgets well ahead of time. For me, buying on sale simply allows for more diversity within my set budget.
post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by sho'nuff View Post
thinman. to tell you the truth, i have never thought of this idea. sometimes i get the notion that where did all the savings go when i continue to buy stuff? i basically cancel it out after a run of purchases.
i am going to try this. i believe that sf is not only a bad influence, but there can be some virtue as well. thank you sir.


Were you the lucky fellow who just bought that RLPL blue blazer? So you going to send that $2K price differential over to savings now?

For me, I don't know that this would work. Theoretically, yes, but when I have to explain to my wife that the HF suit I just scored for $300 means I have to take another $1K out of the checking account she might disagree with the notion. Or, this would mean my clothing budget (as loosly defined as it is) would shrink drastically b/c the x dollars I intend to spend on clothes would not buy as much. Hell, that means I owe about $1500 or so to my savings account just from the Incotex pants frenzy.
post #14 of 24
Hm... I'm kind of the opposite. I invest my money first and spend when I have the budget. So when there's a sale it just means that I end up paying less than my original acceptable threshold.
post #15 of 24
I think there's some merit to this idea. The current economic downturn (to put it lightly) has revealed that most Americans are pretty irresponsible with their money. Like some of you guys, I'm guilty about buying things on sale that I wouldn't want/need otherwise. However, putting $2k-$4k aside when paying $400 for a suit on sale may not be possible for all of us. How about setting aside a percentage of what you finally paid? So instead of that $2k-$4k differential on a $400 suit, you set aside 20%, or $80. One could think of it as a "gift-to-myself" tax. Lame name, but it makes the point. The rate could be adjustable depending on how much you want to encourage/discourage your buying habits.
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