On Sale: Why Saying No To A Discount Is So Hard

By Clinical Counsellor Talia Camozzi,

Have you ever been drawn in by the sale rack and made a purchase you’d never have made?  Or have you ever bought something that was on sale for such a great price that even though you didn’t need the product any time soon you bought it anyway?  Most of us have done this at some point or another, it’s just the degree to which we do it that varies.

Like most things, if it was easy to avoid most of us wouldn’t have ever bought a few of the things that are lingering at the back of our closets or deep within our cupboards or maybe even strewn throughout our homes.  To put an end to the needless consuming, we need to look deeply at it because the roots of our spending are often mental and emotional.   Let’s look at five of the most common reasons we find ourselves making these unnecessary purchases.

One: We’re in the habit of it.  As humans, we’re creatures of habit.  We take the same route to work, we often make the same food to eat, and we keep with our same hobbies and sports.  If you’re in the habit of looking for sales on different online forums, websites, or in person at thrift stores, garage sales, or retail stores then you’ll be much more likely to follow those patterns and to be looking for the sales and discounts you’ve been accustomed to looking for.

Two: We get an emotional high from finding good deals.  This is one of the biggest reasons we overspend especially on sales.  Have you ever heard of retail therapy?  It’s what many people do when they’re looking for a boost when they’re experiencing some low times, and if you want to avoid unnecessary purchases then avoiding shopping while you’re feeling depressed or low could be a powerful choice you make for yourself.

Three: Advertising.  Why do companies spend millions of dollars on advertising?  The obvious answer is because it works.  Sometimes we hear about a product through advertising that is actually quite beneficial for us, but most of the time we’re just being inundated by things we don’t need.  And over time it can start feeling like you don’t just want an InstantPot but you actually need one.  What happens when you find an Instantpot on sale?  If you’re like many people, you’ll jump on that sale without thinking much about it.

Four: Keeping up with the Joneses.  Do all your friends have an Instantpot? Or maybe they all just bought new SkiDoo snow mobiles or maybe it’s a certain new style everyone is wearing like Buffalo Plaid button up shirts. Whatever it is, when our circle is all seeming to be rich with things then it’s natural for us to want to have those same things.  It also helps us feel like we’re fitting in with our crowd to have the same things that the other people in our crowd have.  The thing is though that we’re all different and have different needs.  A great way to distance ourselves from keeping up with others is to sit down and create a budget for our basic needs as well as what we like spending our discretionary budget on.

Five: You aren’t aware of what you have already.  Once over-purchasing becomes more of an issue, this reason becomes more of an issue because our lives become more cluttered.  You might find yourself with five floor fans or 60 pens in different drawers around the house.  And as things start stacking up in your home, your mind doesn’t necessarily search for a place to put a new purchase in your home.  Instead it tells you that it can be stored with all the other things that you have.  This is usually where guilt enters the picture as well as being confused about why you have so many things that you don’t use.  The best advice I’ve found for decluttering and getting back to a feeling of enjoyment of our homes and the things we keep in our homes is from decluttering professional Marie Kondo:

“To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose. And if you no longer need them, then that is neither wasteful nor shameful. Can you truthfully say that you treasure something buried so deeply in a cupboard or drawer that you have forgotten its existence?
When you know the reasons for anything you do, it becomes so much more simple to find the solutions to that problem.  If you find yourself wanting to make a change in your spending habits especially around the lure of the sales rack, aim to do so with compassion for yourself.   When we’re mindful about keeping things around us that we truly love and letting the rest go, it starts to become easier and easier to continue the new patterns of spending and living in an environment that brings us happiness with a lot less stuff.