For the past several years I have seen a growing trend of homeowners throwing away tons of money on purchases, simply becasue the items were “on sale”. Most Sales, especially 50% off or more, are typically final unless you purchase them from a big box store, but not even that guarantees anything. After the economy dropped off, stores starting getting really creative in the way they brought product to the market, including the big guys. So in an effort to get your hard earned dollar they create the illusion that there’s big savings to be had, and you have to buy now! That sense of urgency creates an emotion of missing out – so you buy, buy, buy. But that item may not be right and it may not really be the BIG savings you think it is. Here’s two great examples of this:

How to navigate a bargain and truly save

Example 1: I had a lady call me wanting me to “figure out” how to use her new rug. On an impulse she purchased an 11 foot by 15 foot area rug made of 100% wool. Cool, sounds fancy! But that wasn’t the case. Apparently THIS rug was handmade by elves in a small fair trade country in Narnia, and it came with it’s own bag of fairy dust. Why? Because she bought it. This rug was golden yellow and her entire house was brown, blue and orange, but she thought it such an incredible deal for the size, that she’d work around it. It was marled as a $10,000 rug marked down to $3500. A steal yes, a bargain no.

Example 2: One of my clients emailed me on Friday excited that a throw that she had been admiring was on the flash sale site, Joss and Main. The perception was that it was $50 off, so she really wanted to buy it. Notice I mentioned the perception. The truth of the matter is, flash sale sites ARE NOT always bargains. Sure they offer discounts, but their goal is to convey value, create the perception of a deal, while simultaneously creating urgency so you buy – and then because of the perception of the incredible offer, you buy it, and then you can’t return it. Remember they are in this to make a profit, so it’s a business model.

How to navigate a bargain and truly save

I immediately recognized the throw and low and behold it was less expensive on the manufacturers site, and they were offering free shipping; which saved her even more money. Luckily I earned my cookies that day! Often times people don’t see the value in the service an interior designer provides. Not only do we create beautiful rooms, that go above and beyond what you could ever dream of, we also scour high and low for the best deals and products on the market.

In an economy that has everyone more mindful than ever about savings, everyone is on the hunt for that unbelievable bargain, no matter the cost. With TV shows like Design on a Dime and Extreme Couponing, everyone seems to be joining in on the mad craze, wanting to get a piece of that savings mirage. And why would anyone question it?

How to navigate a bargain and truly save

I think the better question is, Is it smart to be spending (on said bargains) when the goal is to save? Does an 11 foot by 15 foot yellow rug make sense (when your house has no yellow) just because YOU THINK you are saving 50%?

In the end, the yellow rug client ended up spending her savings on design time, and new furnishings so her “bargain” would work. And she is not alone. On average I work with at least 7 clients a year trying to fix their mistakes.

Most of those “SALES” you see are marketing schemes. My staff and I are redoing my new office and there are two lamps that I would like to purchase for the new conference room. I was just reviewing them this past week and low and behold yesterday they popped up on a very well known “online discount company”. They were THREE times the wholesale cost, BUT LISTED as 65% OFF. That my friends is not a discount, that is a marketing ploy to get you to purchase an item at regular retail without you knowing it. And that is how you end up with a lemon colored rug. Unfortunately, this is the new way of doing business and it seems that everyone is buying into that savings mirage. And the worst part? Your “bargain” that was probably purchased at full price is non-returnable which is music to that manufacturers ears!

So if your goal is to roll up your sleeves and knock out your project on your own, look into hiring a consultant to help navigate the waters. You don’t know what you don’t know, and the last thing you want to do is invest in a product meant to save your hard earned money – only to find out your stuck with it and hate it!

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