This is the fourth in a series by Dr. Laura Connerly on money myths and how they can damage your best financial management efforts.
Consumers may think “sale” translates into “savings,” but that’s not always the case, said Laura Connerly, assistant professor for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.
“Most consumers love the feeling of finding a bargain,” she said. “Discounted prices can be enticing but shopping sales isn’t always the best way to save money.”
Here are three things consumers should consider:
1. Know the real price. “Check around,” Connerly said. “Other retailers may have the item at a lower price. Stores have been known to artificially inflate the price so that they can later advertise the item as being ‘on sale.’” Check the product’s recommended retail price online or at other stores. Know when a sale is really a sale.”
2. Compare similar products. A discounted name brand may still be a significantly higher cost than similar generic or store-brand products. “Make the most of your money by finding the brand that meets your needs for the lowest cost,” she said.
3. Consider your needs. “Advertised discounts can prompt consumers to make unplanned purchases,” Connerly said. “You’re not saving money when you buy unnecessary items on impulse. Do you feel like you’re being drawn in by a sale advertisement? Stop and think before you make a purchase decision.”