Have you ever wondered why stores put things on sale? Is it to do you a personal favour? Is it a form of charity work? NO! It’s to get you to spend more money in their store. Guess what: the place that offers great deals on bulk purchases is trying to make more money than the place that sells small amounts for more money. But it doesn’t really matter: they’re all trying to get all the money you’ve got, plus your credit card debt, and possibly your mortgage.
Case in point: Costco. Sure, the toilet paper is waaaaaaaay cheaper than the downtown grocery store down the street, but when I bought toilet paper the other day, I walked out $100 lighter and I STILL had to go grocery shopping. My friend who brought me (he has the membership) spent $300 and also still had to hit the grocery store.
On the other hand, when we just shop at the expensive store down the street, we can do our groceries for a bit over $100 per week, and that’s for 2 adults and a preschooler (the baby doesn’t eat yet, and we use cloth diapers). Sure we pay a shockingly high unit price, but maybe because of that, we’re more restrained with our purchases than when we visit buying clubs.
This brings me around to one of the hidden dangers of car ownership. We shop at the expensive downtown store because it is close, we don’t have a car, and with 2 kids, we just don’t have time to bus out to the burbs to do our shopping. A friend of mine who lives downtown bought a car awhile ago and she noticed that while it allowed her to get better deals at the outlet stores, it also, step one, allowed her to step foot in the outlet stores a lot more often.
Really, whenever I go shopping, I am swept up in the carnival of consumerism. There is such amazing, cool, really nice STUFF out there. And I want to buy it. My number one spending-reduction tip: don’t go into stores.
My number two tip: don’t get a car that can give you better access to stores.
And number three: sometimes it’s worth it to pay more, if it means spending less in the long run.