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Spending is not saving

Hurry!  Act now!  This deal won’t last long!  Spend, spend, spend!

As the Today Show reported today, retailers are trying to get people to spend more money quicker.  They set up limited time only deals and use other tactics to get the consumer to buy impulsively.  The longer the consumer has to think about the purchase, the less likely she is to buy it.

As someone who works in retail (whose paycheck depends on the growing sales in the store) I want people to spend their money, too.  However, I don’t want them to spend to the point that their families go without food or heat.  The mentality that in order to save you must spend is a dangerous one and gets many people in trouble.

Say it with me: spending is not saving.

The Today Show interviewed a mother/daughter duo who are addicted to online discount sites.  They admitted that they are thrilled when they get a good deal.  The question that wasn’t asked was, “Are they actually getting a good deal?”  The daughter sees a $600 designer dress marked down to $200 and instantly she has to have it.  One click and it’s hers.  “I just saved $400!” she probably thought.  What she really should think is, “I just spent $200 on a dress.  Will I wear it enough to get that value out of it?”

This mentality is where problems arise.  The consumer thinks she is saving when really she is still spending.  Unless it is a necessity, like food or water, then everything else is a luxury and should be questioned before purchase.  This mother/daughter duo looked like they were well off but this thinking is dangerous for people of all stations.  The Today Show didn’t question the mother if there was any debt involved.  That is exactly where people are headed when they continually buy impulsively.  First the credit cards get maxed out and then there’s no money in the savings to pay it off.  Fees start piling up and the debt spirals out of control.  It could end in losing the house or having to declare bankruptcy.

There is a way to avoid all of this.  When getting a “deal” on a purchase, think “I spent…” rather than “I saved…” and see if you cringe.  If you don’t, try it again in a day or two.  If you’re still satisfied with the purchase, then keep it.  If you’re still cringing, get your money back.  Another way to save could be when passing up a “deal” like the $200 dress, take that $200 you would have spent and put it in your savings.

Let’s say it one more time: spending is not saving.

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2010 in Rants

 

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I make my money in singles

Fred and I went to Cosmic Bowling last night.  Basically, it’s the same as regular bowling but with black lights, loud music, and colorful lights flashing around.  It’s pretty psychedelic.  Not only that, but there are special orange pins that are worth cash.  If the orange pin is in one of the three corners and the bowler gets a strike, he then gets money.  If the orange pin is in the front, it’s $1, to the left $2 and to the right a whopping $5.  One could win back his money should the orange pin rotate in those positions enough and if the bowler has a decent throw.

Now, Fred and I are not great bowlers but we are rather competitive with each other (see blog post “For the win”).  I’m the worse bowler of the two of us.  I get more gutter balls than anyone I know.  I consider breaking 80 a good game for me.  Fred’s a bit better and can usually break 100.  Still, in the bowling world, we both kind of suck.  Last night was no different.  My first frame I got a total of 9 and the next frame I got a whopping 1 (and that was because the ball bounced out of the gutter at the end and hit the pin).  Once we got into the game, though, things improved and both Fred and I were able to get some spares.

Fred was the first to get a “money shot” when the orange pin showed up in the 1 spot.  He threw the ball and it looked like it was going quite straight.  It hit the pins head on but there wasn’t enough umph to knock all of them down.  He didn’t win any money.  My first “money shot” was also in the 1 spot but I fared far worse than Fred; I threw my ball directly into the gutter.  However, that was not my only shot at getting money.  The orange pin showed up again a few frames later, again in the 1 spot.  I took a deep breath as I lifted my 12 pound ball from the rack.  Carefully I placed my feet by the dots on the floor and hoisted the ball toward my chin.  I sized up the pins and the lane, took a deep breath and wound up my arm.  I threw my ball and had a good feeling as it rolled down the center of the lane.  I held my breath as it hit straight on, knocking down 9 pins, the last one wobbling.  Finally it fell.  I’d hit the jackpot!  I jumped up and down with joy.  I’d won a whole dollar!

The next frame was another “money shot” for me, this time worth $2.  Again, I positioned my feet and wound up my arm.  I threw the ball with as much force as I could muster.  It sped down the lane but was off to the right.  I knocked down 8 pins.  While that would normally be a good shot for me, it wasn’t good enough to get me more money.  Alas, I had reached my earning potential for the night.  Our allotted game time was done and of the $28 Fred had spent on the games and shoe rentals, we’d – I mean I’d – won only $1 back.  Still, it was mine to keep, along with bragging rights.

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2010 in About me

 

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