What is a bargain?

Excited woman shopping online for Christmas bargains pursing her lips in astonishment as she spots something she desires.

Here are 5 key rules to have in your mind before you buy anything in a sale…

Rule 1: Would you have paid the original price?

An often repeated rule, but a golden one is that something is not a bargain if you wouldn’t have paid the original price. Many shops artificially boost the ‘pre’ sale price to increase the illusion of how much you save.

Rule 2: Do you really need it?

We all get caught up by sale fever. Equally, many of us have homes filled with possessions we desperately wanted at the time and have never used first. It’s always a good idea to give yourself at least a day or two to think over a bargain, especially one that is online.

Rule 3: What goal in your life does it move you towards?

If you’re still convinced you want your sale bargain, put it to the test against your life planning goals. Will it help to enhance relationships, broaden your life experiences or move you along in your professional ambitions, if these are in the most important life goals? Anything else probably means that you’re just experiencing sale fever.

Rule 4: Is there a reason it’s in the sale?

You may have wanted this particular item for a long time and suddenly it’s affordable. But be a cynic. Is it in the sale because it’s about to become obsolete technology or a fashion item that’s so ‘last season’. If you can’t be a cynic yourself, find someone who is and run it by them.

Rule 5: Would you buy it next week?

Sales people use ‘buy it now or the deal will go’ all the time to spark that fight or flight body chemistry that will spur us into urgent action. The trouble with this adrenaline rush is that it can cloud our better judgment. But if you removed the element of time pressure would it really seem as urgent to buy it? Have a few simple rules to live by, including, never to buy from anyone who won’t let you walk away and come back when you’ve had time to think — especially on the phone when contract law means you may have a shorter ‘cooling off’ period in which to change your mind. Always give yourself enough time to go away for a while, talk it over with someone. And if you still want it — enjoy! May the sales angels be with you.