When A Sale Is Not A Bargain

I love buying merchandise on sale. And the bigger the sale, the better the feeling. Who wants to pay full price for items that, with a little effort, can be purchased at a discount? No one does. And what better way to stretch your budget dollar than to buy items on sale? But is there ever a situation when buying items on sale isn’t the bargain that it appears to be?

The Goal: Live In Financial Freedom

What is it that we are trying to do when we purchase items on sale? We are trying to stretch a dollar so we can get more for our money. Why? Because a family trying to live in financial freedom is trying to meet all their family needs while at the same time:

  • Saving money for emergencies, retirement and future needs
  • Live debt free which may require paying down existing debt
  • Live within their means on a balanced budget
  • Be generous to help others in their community


When A Deal Is Not A Deal!

So, if purchasing items on sale helps us stretch our buying dollar and meet our budget, how on earth could buying during a sale NOT be a bargain? Here are three instances when a sale is not a bargain:

  • Too Much Of A Good Thing Is Not Good

If you don’t need the item, it is not a deal at any price. Have you ever had the situation where there’s a tremendous sale on an item, may 50, 60 or even 80% off full price? The sale sounds great except for one thing: If you don’t need the item that is on sale, then you are spending money that you don’t have to. Financial Freedom Lesson #1: No price is too good to pass up if you don’t need the item.

  • No Money, No Way

Here is a second instance when a sale is not a bargain: When you don’t have the money to spend. Meaning really, there is no price too good to pass up when you have to use credit. Going into debt to buy something, even when you intend to pay off the balance within the billing period, is a slippery slope that can quickly escalate into mounting debt that may result in interest charges that may mean paying more than full price for the item! Financial Freedom Lesson #2: Don’t spend money that you don’t have! 

  • When More Is Not Enough

Sometimes when we get into some really good sales, or get into a really good season of sales, like Christmas, we get mesmerized by the deals, so much so that we just want more and more. Next thing you know, the best deal is the next deal. The result: you’ve not only blown the budget by buying more and more, but you have developed an attitude of needing more and more. This steals any contentment and gratitude for a great deal and replaces it with an attitude of consumption, or worse, materialism. Financial Freedom Lesson #3: Maintain an attitude of contentment of where we are and gratitude for what we have.


We all need to be wise shoppers. It is a great feeling and accomplishment to purchase items we need on sale so we can stretch our budget dollars and “do more with less”. But remember, the goal is financial freedom to meet our needs and to have choices to achieve our dreams. Anytime we allow the “sale mentality” to cause us to buy stuff we don’t need, or buy sales items with money we don’t have, or develop an attitude of consumption, we go into dangerous territory that can result in negative consequences. Another way to say that is: More freedom (financial) is more valuable than more stuff.

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The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

One thought on “When A Sale Is Not A Bargain

  1. Great stuff! I love the idea of contentment! I think it is so important in life. Be content with what you have. Enjoy what you have been blessed to have because there are so many people in this world that would give all they have to be in the position your in!


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