What Would You Do: Spend More to Save a Little?

Last night a friend of mine asked me a money related question and I thought I’d post it here to see what my wonderful readers have to say. Imagine you are shopping for clothes. The store is holding a sale where you can save $20 if you buy $80 worth of merchandise.

You browse the racks and find a dress you’d like to buy for $50. In your head you know that you don’t really need this dress, but you like it and decide it’s worth the money.

Now you are faced with a dilemma. Do you continue browsing for additional items in the hopes of finding another article of clothing that costs $30 or do you forgo the $20 savings and walk out of the store with only one item.

You know that it will be next to impossible to find an item that costs exactly $30, so you stand in the middle of the store contemplating your options. Odds are that you will find something that costs more than $30 and so you will pay an additional $10 plus any additional cost over $80.

The $20 savings is tempting. You are already planning to spend $50, so adding another $10 to buy an additional item seems to make sense, but is it really the right move? Is there a minimum or maximum threshold for this type of thing? Would you feel okay spending an additional $10 or $15, but not an additional $20?

Have you been faced with this scenario and if so what did you do?

6 thoughts on “What Would You Do: Spend More to Save a Little?”

  1. I refuse to buy anything I wouldn’t normally buy just because it is on sale. Regardless of the money savings (or non-savings), you are adding more clutter into your home. Items that you don’t need or even want, but are only purchasing because you feel obligated to.

  2. I only will if I end up spending less with the discount. For example, I often get a 50% off $30 coupon to a store, and if my item is $20, I’ll find something as close to $10 as possible so that my total for the two items is $15. Get more, spend less – its a win/win! I’ll even go up to $20 for the second item so that it’s basically free.

    But if I have to spend more, even $10 more, I won’t find the “extra” item. Not worth it, since I didn’t really want it in the first place.

  3. I will usually find an extra item. I can usually find basic clothing items, like layering tanks or tights, that I will always be always to use now or in the future. I always shop this way and since I don’t shop frequently, I don’t end up with a lot of extra stuff or money spent. I figure I end up saving money on these necessities by purchasing them in this method.

  4. In that particular scenario, the dress would go back on the shelf. In similar scenarios, I usually only go in with the intent to spend the amount on that coupon (I’m thinking Old Navy and their super cash). I know that nearly everything in there is in a size that fits me, so I usually go in looking to maximize my $80.

  5. I think it depends on the item(s) your friend finds in order to get the discount. If those are things she would buy anyway then go for it. If she’s buying them simply to get the discount, then I’d recommend just buying thge dress. My clothing philosophy these days is to buy only items I truly like, not just items that are good enough or are on sale.

  6. I always try to think if there is something that someone needs that will make up the difference. Think socks and underwear – even if you don’t need them right now, chances are within a few months you will. Of course if you don’t have the money to spend then you shouldn’t do the deal though.


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