Wednesday, May 14, 2014

When a "bargain" is a feeling, not a fact!

I've often written in the past about how I find myself tempted, and lured into overbuying holiday foods that go on sale,  I mean, 50% off is practically free, how could I resist?  But last year I made a rule that I wouldn't purchase any of these foods, and I'm confident that I was 99.9% successful, making it all the way until the very last week of the year when I totally forgot, and out of sheer reaction, and old habit, picked up some Gingerbread Sauce on clearance after Xmas.

I lifted that rule this year by justifying that I could "trust" myself!  When I blew that I made a new rule in that I could still buy a clearance holiday / discontinued food, but I could only buy one item at a time, not in multiples.  Man, do I make my life complicated or what?  Time to simplify again....yep, you guessed it, it's not working out so good.

A couple of weeks ago I went into Grocery Outlet, Bargain Market for the very first time.  I needed some yogurt and I happen to be near one, so I thought I'd check it out.  I didn't find the exact yogurt I was looking for, but I found plenty of other stuff I wasn't looking for!  Everything was on sale....uh oh.  I got some yogurt (and a few other things) and high tailed it out of there!  But I kept thinking about going back another time because I was worried I might be missing out on a bargain!  I did go back a couple of times (two to be exact), and the experience was kind of the same.  I pretty much felt like a kid in a candy shop at first, tempted to buy all kinds of foods I would never pay full price for, and eventually talking myself out of most of those purchases.  I probably took more things out of my cart than I ended up buying!

Yesterday I drove a different route to work and guess what's going into a building close by?  Yep, a Grocery Outlet, Bargain Market!  Just what I need...NOT!  This got me thinking about the feelings that are triggered when I think I'm going to get a bargain!  "Feelings are not facts" is a phrase I came up with to describe the times we use how we feel to avoid the facts.  Let's look at the feelings and the facts behind some "bargains".

Feeling like I'm missing out.  I can't miss out on anything I don't know exists in the first place, so that's not true.  Miss out on something that will go away if I don't buy it now.  Not true, again, something I'm not aware of going away is a moot point.  Missing out on things I don't need, and wouldn't want at full price again proves the fact that I'm not really missing out at all.  

Feeling like I'm saving money.  Driving to a store that is out of my way costs me at least a gallon of gas ($4.19), and 30 minutes of my time, another 30 minutes shopping for stuff I don't need at even minimum wage ($10).  Wow, so far this has cost me $15.  Lugging it home, and spending another 15-30 minutes rearranging my pantry and fridge to fit in and organize all of the stuff I don't need ($5).  Let's not forget about overbuying foods I don't need and wouldn't miss that equal at least %75 of the total bill of the groceries, if not 100%!  ($20-$40).  Fact: I'm thinking it's costing me money.

Feeling like I'm the one outsmarting the retailers.  I'm so smart, aren't I?  If I thought about the energy I waste thinking about how to save a buck I'm not saving in the first place, the energy I waste thinking about things I wouldn't care about if I didn't know about them, and then finally wasting extra calories = pounds on my body on foods I'm eating  that I'm not saving money, time, or effort on...boy do I feel dumb!

Now let's hope that dumb is a feeling and not a fact!

ps.  I realize that some of these stores do offer great value to many people, and if you shop there I hope you are one of them!  At this point in my life I've come to start realizing that I need much less than I ever thought, and doing the math, with just Mark and I, it simply does not make sense.


Jen said...

Remember that Great store in Modesto?!! Those are the places that I find that I over buy. Not so much for a bargain, but pretty food gets me. I bought a bunch of those rainforest crackers that I didn't need. Sometimes I hear you in my head about over buying, thank you for that, it saves me from wasting!

Tracy Reifkind said...


Of course I remember! I've been to your place and seen your've got plenty of "stock"! lol Not over buying is the first step to not over eating! One can not exist without the other :)