Is It Really On Sale?

The outdoor furniture set you want is in this week’s home improvement store advertisement. As you’re thumbing through the discount store advertisement, you run across a picture of the vacuum cleaner you’ve been eyeing up for a while. Since the item is in the advertisement, you assume it’s on sale, but that may not always be the case. Make sure to do a little research before you pick up a costly item that appears in a weekly advertisement.

Retail organizations use a variety of tactics to create the illusion of a sale, one of which is to place items in their weekly circulars with the regular price. This strategy relies on the consumer to assume the product is on sale. The concept may sound obvious, but some products do not ever really go “on sale.” So, the retail store advertisement is still moving merchandise by advertising products, regardless of whether they are being sold at a discount from the regular price. What the retail stores count on, is that consumers will believe the inference that all items in the advertisement are on sale, when this may not be true.

Take a number of precautionary steps to determine whether or not that bigger-ticket item is actually a good value. First, take a closer look at the advertisement; does it show a savings amount? If so, then odds are that the item is discounted from the store’s regular price. Another step is to check online. Some competing online sites may offer a better price on the product, along with free shipping. The online site for the same store advertising the product in the weekly ad may also list a different price online. Also, check with friends who may be more familiar with the item. For example, although I am surrounded by electronics products that I’ve recently purchased, I am fortunate enough to have some friends who are more knowledgeable about the gigabytes, terabytes, and operating systems of these products. So, I often ask for their advice in my comparison shopping & research to make sure I’m getting the best value I can at the time. Since buying a new laptop and a new desktop within the past year, I have yet to see comparable items at the same value level, which is a testament to the research and advice I’ve received from those with expert, or at least better, knowledge.

Do some preliminary research on products to determine the price trends. Odds are, you are not going to pick up the Sunday ads and decide to purchase a laptop, outdoor furniture, or vacuum cleaner without having some forethought on these products. When you are at stores running errands for other reasons, check out the regular pricing on these products. This will help you determine whether or not the item is really on sale when you see it in the store advertisement. This simple preliminary step can help you get familiar with both the product you have in mind, as well as similar items. Product features can vary, even within a similar price range.

Saving money when shopping for more expensive products can be made easier with a little bit of research & asking some questions. It doesn’t have to be a rocket science or an extensive process, but when you are looking to purchase items beyond your normal purchase level, or what would be considered big ticket items, you should always do a little research. Keep the “I want” voice at bay long enough to make sure your decision to purchase is one of value. Make sure the sale is an actual sale that benefits your bank account, not the retailer’s.