Is That Really a Good Deal?

I’ve heard people proudly announce that something was a great deal because their payment “only went up $45 a month!” (for who knows how long.)

I have to say, that’s probably not my idea of a great deal.

I’ve also heard people say that they got a great deal because an item was 50% off. That actually could be a good deal — given the right set of circumstances — but my first instinct is to wonder “off what?”. After all, if it was 50% off the store’s regular price of $100, but you can buy it on Amazon for $30 including shipping, it wasn’t a deal.

So what makes a deal a deal?

There are three things that have to be true in order for something to really be considered a good deal:

  1. You have to have already been looking for, wanting, or needing to buy the item.

    If you weren’t, it was a successful sales ploy, not a deal. (That’s where the old joke that “A bargain is something you can’t use at a price you can’t resist” comes in.)

  2. It’s got to be priced significantly lower than you can find it for anywhere else.

    Stores can easily have high “normal” prices in order to make you think that you’re getting a good deal, but if you get to know the typical high and low prices for what you’re thinking of buying, you’ll be able to tell when something is truly at a deep discount.

  3. You have to be able to afford the item.

    A deal that you “just couldn’t pass up” isn’t a deal at all for you if you needed that money for something else instead, or if you end up paying interest on it.

Once you know what you’re looking for, the #1 way to find a good deal is to be patient. Keep an eye out for what you’re looking for, and consider buying used. Set alerts online to notify you of price changes and deals on exactly what you’re looking for, if it’s something you can get online.

Then be ready to pounce once the deal does appear. Your wallet will thank you, and you’ll deserve those bragging rights.

Today’s tweetable: [tweetherder]The number one way to find a good deal is to be patient [/tweetherder]