Wow! You saved more than you spent!


Last week I stopped by the grocery store on my way home from work with the specific task of buying some things that we needed, which also happened to be low-price-leaders for the week. Armed with my “club card” and with an iron will to only buy the true bargains that we truly needed, I entered the store like a man with a mission.

Attack! . . . Dodge! . . . Swerve! . . . Attack again!

I quickly and systematically went to those parts of the store with the best deals (that I also needed). I grabbed 10 lbs of Nectarines for $1 a pound. Then I went for the tomatoes, but as I was loading up the bag I realized that the 10 lbs for $10 was exactly that – if you buy anything less you pay $3.27 per pound! Sneaky little devils.

But I couldn’t use 10 lbs of tomatoes, so they didn’t get me – I swerved just in time. Next, on to the roast for $1.49 per pound . . . you get the picture. A couple times they almost got me, but each time I escaped. I felt pretty proud of myself on the way to the register.

You see, I only enter that particular store when on this kind of mission, and I never buy the other outrageously priced stuff while I am there. I try to beat them at their game, and I felt like I had.

The funniest comment I have heard in a while

So the lady at the register rings it all up and tells me it comes to $30.47. Then, as she looks at the receipt she proclaims, “Wow! You saved more than you spent! Great job!” She said it in all sincerity and with a look of true amazement in her eyes. As I walked away I looked at the receipt and, sure enough, it said that I had spent $30.47 and saved $44.89.

Does anyone else find that comment as funny as I do?

I didn’t save more than I spent! I spent! I spent wisely, but I still spent. I have always found it funny how these stores put the “savings” at the bottom of the receipt. Do they think that I would have spent $2.98 per pound on their nectarines if they hadn’t been on sale? I wouldn’t have, and so I didn’t “save” all the money that they indicated. I spent what I had planned to.

They could have just as easily said that the nectarines usually sell for $15 per pound and I “saved” $140 on the nectarines alone! What a joke. But the funniest part to me was the lady’s sincere awe that I had just saved more than I had spent. I laughed about it most of the way home. (I know, this is the kind of thing that only members of the ABA (Addicted Budgeters Anonymous) would find funny – it’s a warped world that we live in).

So . . . what’s the point?

I cannot count the number of times that I have listened to people tell me about the incredible deal that they just got on _________. As I listen, it almost always becomes apparent to me that _________ was something that they never intended to buy when they went to the store. That’s not a great deal. That’s you getting duped out of your hard earned money, buying something that you never intended to buy.

I don’t care if ________ normally costs $100 and you just got it for $25 – you just spent $25! You didn’t save $75, you spent $25. (The exceptions to this would be, 1. You turn around and sell it for more than $25 or, 2. you were already in the market for this item and needed to buy it and found a great deal. In these two cases you actually saved/made some money).

So, the next time that someone is trying to convince you of the great deal that is being offered – of all the money that you are “saving” – stop and think. Does spending = saving? Usually not.