Who: This post is for people who see an awesome deal online and just have an uncontrollable urge to purchase the item, even if they don’t need it. This post will also marginally help folks who are looking to cut back on their splurge sprees just a little.
What: This post chronicles a phenomenon that is near and dear to my heart, The Awesome Deal Trap (TADT)

I’ve fallen into this trap many times and plenty of people I know continually fall into this trap. TADT is the trap that retailers spring on consumers on a regular basis. Sales, coupons, rebates, and killer deals are great when you actually need to purchase an item. However, many consumers fall into the trap of purchasing something they have no need for, just because the product is being offered on sale or with a rebate attached to it. Let’s go to an example:

[One week ago]
Trappee:
This inflatable dartboard and teflon soled shoe looks pretty dumb. Who would ever use these? They’re each $150, and I don’t even need them. I guess there is no reason for anyone to ever buy this.

[Today]
Trapper: Dude, check this out. I saw this coupon for $90 off on an inflatable dartboard. They also have these teflon soled shoes for $150 with a $100 rebate!
Trappee: Man, that’s AWESOME! I always wanted an inflatable dartboard and teflon soled shoes. They are SO useful. I guess I will go buy one right now.
Trapper: Idiot.

This is a common example of TADT. Other prime candidates include the mobius strip toilet paper and the braille pilot’s handbook. Do not buy something that you don’t need just because it is on sale. There are rare exceptions when you can re-sell the item for a higher price, but these opportunities are few and far between. In general, make sure you know you want an item before you go to check to see if it is on sale.

“But William, I am weak, how can I avoid the trap?” Well, I’ll be making plenty of suggestions for great deal sites on this blog, so it’ll be tough to resist temptation, but here are my top tips.

  • KNOW WHAT YOU ARE BUYING FIRST - If you succumb to temptation easily, do not frequent deal sites. Have your deal sites listed somewhere that aren’t always visible to you when you are browsing the web. When you KNOW what you want to purchase, only THEN should you frequent the deal sites FOR THE ITEM that you needed to purchase in the first place. This way, you won’t just be browsing and convince yourself that you need to make a purchase, when you actually don’t.
  • UNDERSTAND REALITY - Deals come and deals go. Some deals are better than others, but there will always be better deals. If you jump on a deal today, you may miss a better deal tomorrow. Opportunities open up and close every second, and it’s not necessary to jump on every opportunity, especially in this area (compulsive purchasing) since there will always be more opportunities, there will always be new products, and there will always be better deals.
  • ASK YOUR WIFE/GF HUSBAND/BF - Ask your significant other if you need to purchase the item. This is the definitive best way to avoid falling into TADT. Unless your significant other is as bad as you, in which case neither I nor anyone else can help you.

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