Thursday, July 16, 2009

Who Is Really Spending Your Money?

Most of us are making our lists and checking them twice as the national consumer news reports acknowledge that times are tough and money is getting tight and tighter. As we continue to work at filling our preparedness pantry, while at the same time keeping decent, healthy food on the table, the reality of the situation more and more resembles “Mission Impossible”. This is causing more of us to pay closer attention to the ads and what we think are sale prices, than we have in a long time.
However, I would once again challenge you to take the time to accept some insight that can make a difference in how you view those ads, that in turn will affect what and how you buy. With the goal in mind to be able to be properly prepared, and a goal to still be able to afford chocolate once in awhile, you may need some help in knowing how to read what you think you are seeing. You must be aware of plots, ploys and marketing strategies that affect your perception of a “great sale”.
The “layout” or appearance of the ads will change with what is going on with the economy. The changes are directed toward you and your budget. Whatever can be done to encourage you to spend more in a specific store will be a fundamental part of those ads.
For example just this week I discovered an ad that used glowing colors and HUGE print to proclaim:
MILK .99ȼ a Gallon
Now that surely is a bargain hunter’s bargain! That is until you look at the lower right hand corner of the text box where tiny print proclaims: with a $35.00 purchase.
This is not in any sense of the word a bargain for you. There is an absolute rule that says, Read the Fine Print!
This particular kind of ad is called a Conditional Ad. What are the conditions you must meet? How much must you spend in order to buy only one of the fabulous bargain items listed?
Remember, when it is your budget the prime purpose is to stretch it to be able to get more buying power. That means you take a few more minutes to READ, not look at the ads.
The “bargain” items will be positioned so that they are clearly noticeable. The large, bold price and colors will grab your attention. Then the adrenalin will flow so that you want to run out the door and BUY. Such a deal! Milk at .99ȼ a gallon, when two weeks ago it was over $2.50. You will be the one who misses out if you don’t take advantage of it. Right? – Wrong!
The other built in response – from you the shopper – that those in marketing are counting on is, “that is not such a bad deal. I’ll get a gallon of milk for .99ȼ and I have to buy groceries anyway. Why not spend my $35.00 here?
If you think that way I will haunt you! How can one even think of spending $35.00 to “be allowed to buy” a .99ȼ item? What if you could stretch that $35.00 with far greater buying power elsewhere?
Or what if the items you would be interested in buying do not add up to $35.00, are you going to say, “in order to get the milk, I’ll go ahead and spend the $35.00.” When if you look closer the rest of the fine print usually says – “limit one”.
Don’t allow your thinking to go in that direction! It’s your budget! It’s your money! You must be aware of how you spend it – not how it will be spent for you!
The other rule of thumb is that if the price is so outstanding that It seems too good to be true – it usually is!
You need to do all you can do to spend wisely and frugally in order to fill that pantry. You must remember that one of my favorite sayings is that I love the thrill of the hunt. That holds true for being able to read the ads discover what the true bargains are and know that you are winning the battle of the budget.
It is so fun to be able to read the ads and determine where and how those prices fit in your budget – or not. I always count my blessings when I realize that I have been able to stretch a dollar a little bit further and buy a little bit more. I love it when I bring the groceries home and can put just a little bit more on a shelf. Many times I stand in front of my shelves and whisper, “Oh, thank You, thank You.” Some of my most spiritual conversations take place as I realize that I have been blessed in my stewardship of the budget once again.
Yes, times are getting harder. My challenge for you is to gain the enthusiasm to enjoy the thrill of the hunt and keep learning how to stretch that budget!