The ‘Deal’ That Spawns Spending

The "Deal" That Spawns SpendingWe’ve all been there: You score that killer dress on the flash sale site for $50. Budgeting victory. Or is it?

Because you want to wear the dress out, you decide to splurge on those tickets to the benefit. Then as it approaches, you realize none of your shoes quite go with the dress, so you need a new pair. Come to think of it, those earrings you thought would work with the dress don't quite match after all ...

You see where we're going with this. The hidden cost of a deal? Its nefarious spawn—a mess of commitments in the form of time, money and attention. Items always have a "carrying cost," like the trip to the cobbler once the heel on your new shoe breaks. And hey, time is money.

Click on each image below to see how two purchases spiraled out of control. (These are both based on the experiences of two LV staffers—pre-LV, of course!)  Even if you haven't had quite the same sized "waterfall," we've all been there. So the next time you're about to make a purchase, make sure you think about where it might lead you—some purchases spawn more spending than others! Have you ever had this happen to you? Share in the comments below!

 

Avoid This Mess

Check out our insider tips to using Groupon and other deal sites, plus what to do if you regret your purchase.

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  • Anonymous

    Hah! What kind of high-maintenance diva would let herself spend this kind of money??

    • HABIB_SHAHEDI

      M Love

  • http://www.smartmouthblog.com Nicole Longstreath

    I know too well how wardrobe spending can quickly get out of control. The best strategy is to always have a clear picture of what’s in your existing wardrobe, and also what you need to complete it. So, when that deal comes along, you know instantly whether or not you should spend or skip the expense.

    http://theWardrobeCode.com

    • Anonymous

      Its also important to have classic pieces that are interchangeable.

  • Stephanie in NYC

    I guess I don’t see why it would be different for a sale dress versus the same dress at full price.  It still seems like one would spend the money to buy accessories, theater tickets, etc. if the dress called for it or the person wanted all that stuff, and I’m not sure that it has anything to do with how much you actually spend/save on the dress. 

    I agree with Nicole.  The key is to just take stock of what you have and complement it. 

    • http://senseofcents.blogspot.com/ Michelle

      I agree.

      • Alyson Gallant

        I think that the point they were trying to make was that rather than use something you already own (and have worn before, with the appropriate accessories), you buy something new since it was such a great deal.  Agreed though on taking stock of what you have and complementing it…I need to do this more.

      • Alyson Gallant

        I think that the point they were trying to make was that rather than use something you already own (and have worn before, with the appropriate accessories), you buy something new since it was such a great deal.  Agreed though on taking stock of what you have and complementing it…I need to do this more.

        • Anonymous

          That is the seduction of the sale price, it makes you think you have saved money, therefore you have “extra” money to spend.  Its like the coupon’s they send, it makes you believe you are saving, but its just an enticement to spend.  If you discard the coupons, it seems like you are “throwing away money”.

  • Anonymous

    Rather than buying big items on sale, I usually ignore anything except maybe a fun scarf or bracelet to accessorize with. That way, you already have an outfit in mind, you’re just adding to it. The only thing I really feel are a good investment, and I may jump on a sale, is when dress pants go on sale. I have a really hard time finding quality dress pants, so when NY&Co. has a sale…I try to look into it. Then again, I’ve been “looking” for the last six months and still haven’t bought any. I wear the same three pairs of slacks every week!

  • greeny

    Hilarious – I’m remembering when we bought 2 movie tix for $9, with 6 months to use them. SURELY we’d see 1 movie in 6 months, despite 2 little kids, work, etc., right? The day before they expired, we scrambled to book the tickets, find a sitter, and work in a dinner reservation (seeing how rare a night out was for us). $200 dollars later, we were less sure that “2-for-1″ was such a great deal (though we did enjoy the forced date night!).

    • http://senseofcents.blogspot.com/ Michelle

      I’ve bought that deal before, we used it the next day! But then again, I don’t have kids haha :)

  • greeny

    Hilarious – I’m remembering when we bought 2 movie tix for $9, with 6 months to use them. SURELY we’d see 1 movie in 6 months, despite 2 little kids, work, etc., right? The day before they expired, we scrambled to book the tickets, find a sitter, and work in a dinner reservation (seeing how rare a night out was for us). $200 dollars later, we were less sure that “2-for-1″ was such a great deal (though we did enjoy the forced date night!).

  • Eryn Alana

    I can’t even imagine a situation where my spending (or anyone else’s in their right mind) would spiral out of control this much. I’ve bought several deals, and never have they incurred more than a few dollars of extra charges for what the deal did not cover (for the item that the deal was for, not add-ons). While I appreciate this example of a situation where it’s possible to spend more money than initially committed, there’s a big difference between possible and probable!

  • Faith A

    This is a great example of not computing the “package cost” of your event! My mother, a frugal fashion diva, would suggest borrowing jewelry for your classic LBD, and investing in a elegant scarf/wrap and current classy shoes. Do your own hair & makeup, and finish with a sheer mani. She was right: the shoes do it every time!

  • Kate

    Isn’t this how just about every home improvement project goes? First you upgrade the bathroom, and then realize that it makes your kitchen look shabby, and then shouldn’t you get new windows…? (;

  • MC

    In defense of the camera scenario — my husband is a rather good amateur photographer. And we have 7 grandchildren. He was fretting over the amount he spent on a significant camera and lens upgrade a few months ago and I did my best to assure him it was all fine. I said, “You’re 54 years old, you don’t have a Corvette, a Harley, or a girlfriend. I figure we’re getting off cheap.”

  • MC

    In defense of the camera scenario — my husband is a rather good amateur photographer. And we have 7 grandchildren. He was fretting over the amount he spent on a significant camera and lens upgrade a few months ago and I did my best to assure him it was all fine. I said, “You’re 54 years old, you don’t have a Corvette, a Harley, or a girlfriend. I figure we’re getting off cheap.”

  • SCI FI CHI

    This is so me! I thought it was just me! I couldn’t figure out why I spent so much sometimes and now I realize all the little extras that I think I need….this was very helpful.

  • http://www.mangomoney.com Mango Money

    Ah, yes. “The deal” that turns into a $200 spending spree. It’s kind of like low-fat dressing. You see “low fat” on the bottle, so you pour twice the amount on your salad than you would with regular dressing, and then, once your lettuce is nice and soupy, the whole “low fat” thing goes right out the window. You end up with more “fat” (or in the case of a deal, spending more money) than you would have without the “discount!” 
    The way I think about deals is, if it isn’t something I actually need and am currently, actively looking for, I don’t get it. Otherwise, I really am just spending money (no matter how little) on something that I wouldn’t have purchased otherwise. I work for Mango Money and we recently did a great video on tons of other ways stores and merchandisers try to “dupe” you into spending more. Check it out: http://www.mangomoney.com/blog/trends/the-booby-traps-of-in-store-marketing

  • Amira

    this is why i only buy dark colors. my family doesn’t understand why i only have black dress pants or skirts. it’s so hard to match other colors! i have a great pair of gray dress pants that fit me perfectly. but they are sort of dotted and i had the hardest time trying to match them with something! i just don’t wear them that often.

    and i definitely don’t wear white because i fear it’ll get dirty too easily because i am a clumsy person.

  • http://www.womenssavingclub.com Taraificsaver

    In our Women’s Saving Club, us gals each have a list of restaurants we want to try or items we’d like to purchase. If a deal comes up specifically for an offer on the list, then it’s purchased! If not, delete it quickly. You’ll find that once it’s out of our inbox staring you in the face, you forget about it and find the so-called special offer less alluring. 

  • Writebrain

    I think these are both very appropriate examples of how our spending spirals out of control. It may be subtle and take a month or so to come full circle, but we’re culpable.  I recently bought $16 worth of gelato for $8 for my favorite store through an Internet “deal.”  When I arrived with the coupon, it was only good for one person, and to spend it I would have to eat it all myself in one sitting.  I never read the fine print, and have hence ignored those “deals” that come to my inbox.