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It’s sales time! Don’t you love it when you grab a bargain? Except when it’s not really a bargain…  So how do you tell?

Well I think there are six questions you need to ask yourself:

1)    Can you afford it?

A simple first question. If you don’t have the money now or don’t see where that money is coming from, only buy it if it’s essential.

If you’re spending money you don’t have it’s the opposite of saving

 

2)    Why do you want it?

Is it just because it’s so much cheaper?  Have you been dazzled by the discount? You might be saving £30 on that coat but is that the style you want? Mince pies might be half price now but do you actually like them?

If the only reason you want something is because it’s a bargain put it down and walk away 

 

3)    Do you need it?

Last year I wrote about my girlfriend and I getting over excited when faced with cheap Converse and other shoes in America. We already had enough pairs of shoes at home so buying even more pairs of footwear between us meant we didn’t ask ourselves this question.

If you don’t need it, don’t buy it

 

4)    Is there a cheaper alternative?

This is a key question for those big ticket purchases. The fridge section of our fridge-freezer packed in last winter so I spent some time researching what was in the sales. John Lewis had some decent reductions on a couple of Bosch models that do well in Which? reviews. But when I looked on the non reduced pages of the site I found similar, if not better ones, for the same or less. It’s the same situation all year round – sales prices aren’t necessarily the best prices.

The same question should be asked of other purchases. Those Choco Liebenz might be 2 for 1, but will a pack of own brand digestives do the job?

A discount doesn’t mean it’s the best value purchase

 

5)    Is it really a bargain

The penultimate check. If something has a label you can often see the usual price with a reduced or sale sticker over the top. This makes it easier to tell if it’s a decent discount.

Often though, shops will hike up prices before offering a discount.  Yes that bottle of wine or TV is half price, but there’s a good chance it’s available for the reduced price more of the year than not. You can check price history on sites such as Idealo, Camel Camel Camel and MySupermarket.

And beware multi-buys where the saving could be as little as pennies.

Check if it’s a real reduction

 

6)    Can you afford it?

Once you’ve gone through the list of questions, ask yourself this again.

It’s not a bargain if you’ve no money

 

Good luck with your bargain hunting, and remember to follow BeCleverWithYourCash.com on Twitter and Facebook for the latest deals and tips. You can also read my guide for getting the sales bargains first without getting all Black Friday furious!


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