Ever read a sales headline similar to this? "20% off if you spend $100 or more." Or how about something like "Save now, pay later." Don't you just wish people wouldn't get suckered by this crap? Oh wait, you might very well be one of these people. Don't feel bad, my wife is one of them too. What I think is hilarious is that the majority of retail businesses or virtually any business for that matter has at some point or another tried using a sales gimmick to grow their business. And it's these sales gimmicks as well as intelligently placed ads that have transformed public perception into believing they are saving money when they are in fact anything but. Let me explain.
You know the whole fad of "fat free" or "low fat" foods? How about the fact that many Americans eat these types of foods because A. they think they are healthy and B. they think they can eat as much of them as they want because they are lower in calories? "Fat Free" is one of the biggest sucker tactics in the entire food industry. 9 times out of 10 is that what they don't tell you is all the chemical garbage put into said foods to make them fat free hence making them more than likely worse for you then the full fat versions eaten in moderation. What they also don't tell you is that most Americans end up in fact consuming more calories because they wind up eating so much more of the low fat version that total calories are a total wash. So not only are you eating more and getting fatter, you're also likely spending more money because in order to be healthy you have to pay more. Sounds totally backwards right? But it's not. It's just the way it is and it's no different when it comes to "saving" money and the tricks companies use into getting us to spend more.
I can't tell you how many times my wife has come to me and said "All I have to do is spend $200 and I can save 25%, isn't that great?" And I simply say back, "No, it's not great. It's not great at all. You're spending money!" However, what I say goes in one ear and out the other. If you are like my wife then you're a "believer." A "believer" is what I call a person who gets sucked into nearly every promo or sales pitch and actually thinks that it's going to benefit them in some way when it inevitably will not.
What amazes me is that this all revolves around an extremely simple concept. Whether you are spending a tiny amount or a large amount of money, you are still spending money, period. Since when is the act of spending money saving money in any way, shape or form? It is not, and yet so many of us have been duped by this concept time and time again. And until all of us figure out that we're not saving money at all, these mind altering tricks will continue to work. Yes there's merit to spending "more" on a quality product that lasts over time because you'll have spent less in the long run than if you had to keep replacing crappy products. But don't ever forget this: you still spent money, period.
I love how people buy so much crap in bulk thinking they're saving money. They'll spend $100 on a gazillion boxes of cereal that they'll never fully eat because they "saved" 50 cents per box totaling about $5. Hint: You could have bought one box for 50 cents more and spent over 90 dollars less. And yet people just don't think this way anymore. We buy what we don't need and spend what we don't have thinking that in the end, we'll have saved more.
So remember this one fact if you remember anything at all. There's no such thing as a discount. Sure, something may cost less in one store vs. another. Or perhaps a price has been reduced on an item you've been seeking. That's wonderful. But remember, if you are spending money then you are spending money, period. I find it hilarious that people simply don't get that concept whatsoever.
I rarely if ever say that I'm saving money when I'm excited about spending less on something. I simply say "I spent way less than I could have." That way I remember I still have less money after having purchased anything than I did before it. We need to unlearn all of this trickery we receive on a daily basis, and fast before we all go broke.
Written by Garrett Parker
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