by Stacey Carroll, Contributing Writer
Whenever I see an advertisement for a product or get an email for a discount, the first thing that enters my mind is that I have to spend money to save money. I received an email from JCPenney. The subject read “Save 80% on clearance merchandise.” Another email from Victoria’s Secret read “Free Summer Tote With Purchase.”
In both of those instances, I have to spend money to receive whatever discount the company is offering. Most of the time, I opt to keep my money. However, when I do decide to spend it, I ask myself three questions.
1. Do I really need it?
Say you've been thinking about purchasing a Nook for the past week. The most basic Nooks are selling for $50. That’s a really good price considering they were $119 at one point, and about $200 when they first came out. I researched the specs. It’s just an e-reader. All I can do is buy books and read them. If I want to check email, I have to buy a Nook Color which costs $129 or pull out my laptop which already has an e-reader on it. Needless to say, I decided not to buy. While it's not a lot of money, if it's not something you actually need, you should save that money instead.
2. Can I afford it?
If I determine I really do need it, do I have the cash to purchase it without harming my financial stability? I have a 50% rule for large purchases. I will only spend 50% of my savings for large purchases.
In 2008, I needed a new bed. I had been sleeping on a futon for 10 years. The mattress was worn and no longer comfortable. The result left me with a sore back more mornings than not. The problem was that beds are expensive. The cheapest bed frame I could buy was an adjustable metal frame from Walmart for $35.00. The cheapest mattresses were between $300 and $400. I also knew that if I bought that combination, I’d be looking to replace it within two years.
I decided to search for a good price on what I really wanted – a Queen Canopy. I found one at Value City Furniture for $999.99. It was perfect. It was just my style. However, the frame plus the mattresses were going to total about $1700.00. I spent the next year and a half saving all my extra money. I saved until I had twice the cost of the bed. Then I purchased it. It took me six months longer to save twice the total, but I was much happier in the long run. I had the bed, and I still had money saved.
3. Will purchasing the item enhance my life?
In October 2009, I decided I had had enough of running to the Laundromat every time I needed to do laundry. It wasn’t that it was expensive; it was that it was time consuming not only to do laundry but to plan a week or two weeks worth of outfits. I decided to buy a washer and a dryer. However, I didn’t want to spend $1000. I only wanted to spend about $500, and if I could get away with paying less, I wanted to. I scoured websites.
The cheapest washer/dryer set I could find was $650. I didn’t want to pay that much. I decided to wait for the Black Friday sales after Thanksgiving, and I kept my eyes peeled for any early deals. The week of Thanksgiving, Sears had a sale. It was a washer/dryer set for $499.99. I jumped on it. It was a better washer and dryer than the set for $650, and I’d save $150 on the purchase.
The catch was that I had to purchase it online. I was leery. I had never purchased anything so expensive online before. I sucked it up and placed the order. It didn’t go smoothly. At first, I was charged twice. I called the company and they looked into it. After two days of tense waiting, I was only billed once. Thankfully, I did not see an overdraft charge. Like the bed, I made sure to have double the money in my account.
By using these questions, I very rarely make a frivolous or unneeded purchase. They force me to think about what I really need verses jumping on every sale that crosses my eyes.
Stacey Carroll is the author of the thriller series - Avia. She also authors the paranormal erotica series - The Blooddoll Factory. Stacey grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana. she went to college at Indiana State University (ISU) and graduated with a Bachelor's degree in aerospace in the professional pilot program. She has flown Cessna 152s, Cessna 172s, the Pipe Seneca and the King Air. She also graduated with a minor in computer science that specialized in web design.
She has always been interested in reading and writing, and the first book she was ever read was the Grimms Brother's Fairy tales. From the ages of 6 to 11, she read the Nancy Drew series. By the age of 11, she had graduated to Stephen King novels. A few of her favorites include Carrie, Tommyknockers, The Dark Tower Series up to book 3 (That's where it stopped in the late 80s/ early 90s), Pet Semetary, The Shining, Night Shift, The Stand, It, Cujo, Christine, The Eyes of the Dragon and Thinner (Richard Bachman). In her teen years, she moved on to Anne Rice and got through about four of those books before they degraded. If you've ever read Anne Rice, you know book 5 isn't readable. Stacey has read a couple Harry Potter books as she was introduced to them in the early 2000s, and she's never read or watched anything Twilight or 50 Shades. Sorry. I'm a vampire purist, and nothing needs to be said about the latter. You already know.
She is currently an author and freelance writer. She received an honorable mention in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine in 2008 for a short story entitled The Field. In 2014, she was published in 13 Stories by Us by MacKenzie Publishing.
Other books by Stacey
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