Overspending on Clearance Deals

Last week, as I was meandering through the grocery store in search of Thanksgiving ingredients, I stopped by the clearance shelves and I heard voices.

“Take me home,” said a pie past it’s “best by” date.

“Me too,” said a slightly dented can of veggies, heavily discounted, of course.

“We’re such a great deal!” yelled a pack of unpopular nutrition drinks.

I’m a sucker for a good deal, it’s true.

Such savings can add significant wiggle room to my family’s budget, like the time I found 10 torn boxes of travel food pouches for my son at less than half their normal price.

But “savings” are only savings if they actually save me money.

Sounds obvious, I know, but how many shoppers (face it, ladies, it’s usually us) load up their carts with “good deals” that end up costing more than the items we would have purchased instead?


That dented can of veggies, for example, isn’t a good deal if my family won’t eat that particular veggie. Yet it still tempts me.

And it’s usually still cheaper for me to make the pie myself than buy the discounted one. That is, if we need pie at all.

The nutrition drinks might be a great deal, but we still have some left from the last time I found some on sale.

I’d be better off buying a can of veggies my family will actually eat while they’re on sale and skipping the pie and nutrition drinks altogether.

But they call to me like little happy voices of thriftiness, tempting me to overspend my family’s grocery budget.

And the little buggers succeed every once in a while. Why else would I have about 20 bottles of barbecue sauce in my pantry? Or packages of drink mix we don’t really like? Or two bottles of dressing we probably won’t use?

Ugh. But as tempting as it was to purchase these things, I also can’t bring myself to throw them out.

They’re technically edible, I reason, and I might use them someday. Many cannot be donated because food banks typically don’t take food past its date stamp.

Maybe it’s the chorus of little voices that keep me from throwing them out.

Whatever it is, it takes ruthless control for me to resist the awesome deals and let them haunt someone else’s shopping cart.

Maybe the slogan “just say no” was invented by a thrifty shopper and only later applied to drugs?



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