Who doesn’t love a good bargain? From apparels to appliances, on-sale items are just hard to ignore. Sometimes, all it takes to lure us into a store are signs like “50% OFF!,” “Now only P99.99,” “Save P300,” or “Buy 1 Take 1.” They’re also signs that you’re about to go out of your budget.
The thrill of buying items on sale is brought by marketing strategies that tap into our impulse to buy. This is explained by consumer psychologist from London Metropolitan University Dr. Dimitri Tsivrikos on a BBC article titled “The Psychology of Shopping for Bargains.” “The bargain price is appealing to you because it challenges the status quo,” he says. :The retailer appears not to be in complete control of the final price of the product, and this makes you feel that you are now in control.”
But while there are definitely “steals” that have huge price difference, it is important to tell legitimate sales from sketchy ones. The latter would lead you to believe that you are saving money from their low prices, when in fact, they are always marked “on sale” so you’re encouraged to buy more.
According to Dr. Tsivrikos, “Brain studies have shown that when we are excited by a bargain, this interferes with your ability to clearly judge whether it is actually a good offer or not.” So be extra careful when encountering the stores and items below.
Dollar and P88 & below stores
Upon seeing the dollar store sign or items priced at P88 and below, consumers automatically think of big savings. But while some items here are really worth the price, a few of them are actually much cheaper when bought from a grocery or department store. That’s just how the system works.
Keep a list of the best prices for your dollar store purchases and compare them with their grocery store price. This way, you can take advantage of the cheaper prices and not spend so much on some items.
For instance, party items such as balloons and gift wrappers are much cheaper at dollar stores, while toys and electronics may not be of good quality and may even contain toxic substances. It’s still best to buy them at department stores.
Sachet vs. bottled items
Some sachet items come at a discount, but if you’ll take a close look at the sizes and price per ounce, you’ll see that bottled items in bigger containers give you more value for money.
It can be very tricky, as most Filipinos have become so used to buying tingi or small, individual products, thinking that they can save a few pesos. See the difference per unit and you’ll be able to determine the real amount you can save.
Paying in cash vs. credit card
When you’re planning to buy appliances, weigh in the advantages of paying in cash or credit card. Often, there are bigger discounts available when you pay in cash.
But of course, the advantages of purchasing through a credit card may be the 0% installment payment and rewards conversion.
Note that most appliances are always on sale or offered at a discount regardless of your method of payment. And because you’ll be spending more for these items, it’s always best to compare prices before you buy.
Plastic containers and storage boxes
These items often come in bulk, or in big markdowns, enticing you with low prices for every package. These discounts can easily convince you to buy, but it’s not necessarily about the price but the quality of the plastic.
Always go for BPA (Bisphenol-A) and phthalate-free plastic containers as these are found to seep into food and beverages that can cause possible health hazards. Paying more for non-toxic items or better alternatives such as stainless steel bottles will be beneficial for you and your family’s health.
In the end, it’s all about being a discerning consumer. As Bargain Fever: How to Shop in a Discounted World author Mark Ellwood puts it, “Looking for discounts isn’t about being rich or not. It’s about being smart. And everyone wants to be smart.”