When Is a Bargain a Real Bargain?

January 26, 2014 Updated: January 27, 2014

Surviving January after getting paid early in December is a gruelling task especially when there are sales all around us. Now if you cannot manage to stay away from the shops and keep that credit card hidden away then remember if you do happen to venture upon an exceedingly good “bargain” note the other Mr Kipling’s advice and keep your head when all about you are losing theirs.

Don’t forget that a “bargain” is a rare and quite subjective thing. These days a sale is really a stock clearance, “with up to 50% off”, which should really read, if you’re lucky you might find something here that has 50% off and we still can’t shift it.

I guess I shouldn’t be too hard on the retailers as they have had a hard time in recent years. Mind you some of the larger supermarket chains seem to create all kinds of special offers to totally confuse their customers. My advice is to use that calculator on your phone to make sure you get value. 

Did you know that all of the following give the same discount? You might have to buy more but the final discount is the same. If you avail of an offer that says, half price, two for the price of one or buy one get one free, then you are in fact getting a 50% discount on the usual price. Now wait for it, if the offer says you get 50% extra free, then you are in fact getting a 1/3 discount (33.33%) of the normal price, which is the same as saying, three for the price of two or buy three get 1 free or 1/3 off the price.

Confused? Perhaps not. Don’t forget, 1/3 extra free (33.33%) is the same as saying if you buy 3 we will give you 4 for the same price which means you get 4 but pay for 3. Yes, 25% off or the same as saying buy one get second half price. 

Why do they use so many ways to say the same thing, confusing or to confuse? The latest thing I’ve seen and it always catches me out is, the large sign with the amount you get off the price with the details in small print beside it. Of course we all see the price we get off and assume it’s the actual price until we are paying for it; by then we often feel it’s too late to change our minds or better still after we get home and by then we just accept the dupe. 

There’s a supermarket that I shop at frequently, and almost every time I go there I have to get a refund for some special offer that’s not been deducted properly; it’s great fun altogether. But seriously, it is so important to check prices on shelves, and if it’s a special offer then take a photo with the camera phone and check the bill after to make sure you get that special offer; it can be a bit of hassle but well worth the effort.

If you’re like me and haven’t managed to kick the coffee habit this year, then here’s a little bit of discount info for you. If your local coffee shot gives you a free coffee with every six purchases then you almost getting 15% off; if they only offer a free coffee wth every nine purchases than that’s a 10% discount.

Good luck hunting down those bargains, and remember, never shop on an empty stomach.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.