How to tell a deal from a sales trap

Do you spend money to save? There’s a term for that: “spaving”.  Sometimes buying more of the same thing saves money in the long run – providing you’re very careful.

Do you need two pairs of school shoes, or pyjamas? Then why not wait until there’s a buy one get one half price or similar offer at Number One Shoes or The Warehouse?

Likewise if you can fit 3kg of sugar in your pantry, then it’s usually cheaper per gram to buy it that way than in a 1.5kg bag. Or spending money on LED lightbulbs could save you money in the long run.

The key is to know when more is more and when to resist the temptation of flashy sale signs for unneeded purchases. Take a look at these tips below as we head into full-blown sale season.

When spaving can work…

BOGOF deals

Buy One Get One Free (BOGOF) deals are a great way to save money – if and only if you need two of the same thing.

Catering wholesalers

Do you know someone who owns a business and has a membership of a local cash-and-carry warehouse such as Gilmours? Why not use their membership card, or get one yourself?  If you’ve got a freezer or can store dried food you can save an awful lot of money over time. If you drink, stock up on cheap alcohol while you’re there.

Two tips. The first is to remember that the prices are usually ex-GST, so don’t forget to add 15 per cent when doing your arithmetic. The second is to factor in the petrol and time costs of driving to your nearest wholesaler!

Group buying

Group buying, AKA collective buying is clubbing together with others to buy goods at discounted prices. One-day-deal websites such as Groupon and GrabOne are also called group buying sites because retailers are willing to offer goods and services for less through them knowing they will sell in bulk.

Seasonal sales

Buying up large at sale time sometimes makes good sense if the item in question keeps. For example, you can probably snap up a good deal on some winter coats in the peak of summer, just watch out for getting “on-trend” pieces that clearly date. It might be best to keep this to the tried-and-true basics when using this tip.

When spaving can fail….

It’s human nature to love a bargain and the road to credit card debt is “spaved with good intentions”. Just because something is on sale doesn’t mean you need to buy it. If you don’t need it you’ve lost money, not spaved.

If your favourite label of trousers are on sale from $150 to $75 and you buy them, you haven’t necessarily saved a cent. In fact you might have spent $75 needlessly.

What’s more, bigger boxes of washing powder or cornflakes in bulk aren’t always cheaper than the smaller box. You do need to check.

To avoid falling into these spaving traps, stop and question every item you buy.  Whip out your phone and do some research on the internet, and ask the shop assistant if the item has been on sale before.

And finally, spaving on credit doesn’t work. If you’re paying interest you’re not saving money. And, to add to that research and shopping around is not reserved for all those sale items at the store. If you are using a credit card, check that you are using one best suited to your needs. For example, don’t spend more on fees for a rewards credit card if you’re only making the minimum in credit card repayments each month. While we can’t come with you on your department store trips (unless you’re inviting us??) you can check credit card types and rates, even on the go! Just follow the link below to check out how New Zealand credit cards stack up.

compare credit cards with Canstar

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