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Thread: Sucker for a bargain
Saturday, 11th February, 2012, 09:45 AM #1
The Great Druid (Lvl 17)
Sucker for a bargain
A friend of mine has this exceptionally irritating habit of never buying anything unless he gets an extremely good deal for it. On the surface this might sound like solid reasoning but when taken to an extreme, like he does, it means never enjoying all the goodies that life has to offer. For instance, he loves my big screen TV and my xbox and my espresso machine and keeps pining about how he'd like one but he refuses to spend the money on any of them because he can't find a super awesome, below cost-level type deal on any of them.
It took me almost twenty years of nagging just to convince him to buy a Mac.
Anyway, lately I'm finding that this annoying trait has somehow infected me as well. Whenever I decide, "Ok, I want this, I'm going to buy it!" I then go on this exhaustive search for an awesome deal. Nine times out of ten, I turn up nothing and then have an anguishing inner battle with myself over justifying buying it at a less than bargain-basement price.
Another problem with this attitude is that when I spot a super bargain on something, I find myself almost incapable of resisting the urge to buy. I'm now so hooked on bargains that I'm subscribed to two websites that are specifically about posting bargain alerts and I have trouble even buying groceries that aren't half-price specials.
My latest bargain was finding an Xbox 360 Slim 320GB HDD for $99 AUD and a 12 month Live Gold subscription for $45 AUD. The best prices I could get elsewhere were $147 and $77 respectively... bargain! I *saved* $80... of course... I need neither of these things... so, I'm not really sure I actually 'saved' anything...
Are you a sucker for a bargain?
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Saturday, 11th February, 2012, 10:39 AM #2
Time Agent (Lvl 24)
I generally try to get the most bang for my buck, but low price is not my pole-star. I will spend more on something if I have a good reason to, such as a desire to support having a specific kind of business in my vicinity.
Saturday, 11th February, 2012, 03:00 PM #3
Superhero (Lvl 15)
I predict that spending a little time looking for a bargain before making the decision to purchase something will save you (possibly a substantial amount of) money over the long run, even if you decide to purchase something at full price after doing so.
That said, it seems that both you and your friend are missing an important variable in your calculations: utility.
In your friend's case, he purchases things only if they have been discounted from their original price without calculating what the product would be worth to him. It may be that the use and enjoyment he would get out of the product could outweigh the original cost, or not--it's a variable that should be included in the equation, though.
In your case, you seem to be doing the opposite: chasing bargains you have no need for. If you were to include utility in your calculations, you might (probably) find that even a heavily discounted item is a bad deal for you. (This is why I ditched cable, by the way--sure, I'd get lots of channels, each for pennies per month--but I would only watch a handful of them. Effectively, I'd be paying much more for the channels I would use--and suddenly it's no bargain, at all!)
So, the TL;DR version: No calculation of value is complete without factoring in utility.
Saturday, 11th February, 2012, 05:30 PM #4
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
I look for deals (but not as well as my wife), but it isn't the be-all-and-end-all. I also tend to factor in quality and how long an item will be used - we just today bought new bedroom sets for the kids, and while we didn't get the cheapest ones, we got ones that will last so we don't need to replace them as soon as we would had we gone the super-bargain route (although, we did get a bargain - furniture stores give pity on parents of twins it seems
Saturday, 11th February, 2012, 07:49 PM #5
The Great Druid (Lvl 17)