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When a Bargain is Not a Bargain

Not every bargain is a bargain. Unfortunately, it can be hard to spot the bogus bargains from genuine finds. Here are five times when a bargain is not one.

  1. When you had not planned to buy the item. If you find a new home speaker system marked down from $399 to $249, you just scored a great deal, right? If you were not shopping for a new stereo and had not planned to buy one in the future, you have not saved $140, you have wasted $249.

Before you buy, ask: Would you buy this if it was not on sale?

  1. When you cannot afford it. If you cannot pay for this item with cash today, it is likely not a bargain. Spending money you do not have just because it is on sale is a great way to break your budget and weaken your financial health. In general, do not buy it if you cannot pay for it today. One exception is when a sale hits on something you have been saving for and have most of the cost already saved. Just be sure to pay that savings toward your card as soon as you can.

Before you buy, ask: Can I really afford this?

  1. When it is a faulty product. Sometimes, what is too good to be true truly is not. If a price is glaringly lower than its market price, and you cannot find it marked down as much through any other retailer, there may be something sketchy about this sale. You may be looking at a knockoff that will look and perform like the cheaply made bogus product it is, or you may be buying someone else’s heavily used item that is being sold as a new product. 

Before you buy, ask: Is this a quality product or worthless junk?

  1. If there is a cheaper alternative. Do not assume every bargain you encounter is truly on sale at the lowest available price you can find for this item. Before plunking down your money on a large, marked-down purchase, do research. Look up this item online to see if it on sale through other retailers at a lower price. Depending on the item, you may also find a quality generic version that does the job well for a fraction of the price. 

Before you buy, ask: Can I find this at a cheaper price somewhere else?

  1. If it is not really a bargain. Not every sale is a sale. Retailers will often inflate the “original price” they print on a price tag to make it appear as if the current price is a genuine bargain. To spot an actual marked-down product, look for an older price tag that is topped by a newer tag sporting the sale price. 

Before you buy, ask: Is this actually a bargain?

Holiday Closure: All DoverPhila locations will be closed Saturday, May 25, and Monday, May 27, for Memorial Day.

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