Mar 18th, 2012 | By | Category: Senior Finances

Identify Real Bargains vs Glitzy Eye Candy

The Internet abounds with lists of deals to avoid, simply because they aren’t ‘deals’.  We senior citizens know what that means.  Someone or some ad suggests you will be getting a good deal or the deal of a lifetime.  Retailers provide only the information they think they need to get your attention, and get you so overwhelmed with the goodness of the deal that you forget to ask the right questions. Kinda like politicians these days.

Let’s take a look at a few:

  • All those coupons that fall out of your Sunday paper and come in the mail on Wednesdays are tempting to cut out and hoard.  But buying something with a coupon isn’t a deal unless you need it. So ask the right question first:  Do I need this item?  And be sure to compare the cost of the branded item with the generic one.  Often the branded item with coupon is still more than the generic item. Ask the right question:  Which costs more, branded w/coupon or generic?
  • Warehouse membership stores are adult candy stores.  We seniors love to walk around those huge buildings and see all the glitzy-displayed stuff that we would love to have.  And sometimes the jumbo-packed items can really save us serious money.  But the right question is, Can I use this much of this stuff before it goes to waste?
  • Because some of us seniors grew up during and after WWII, we have a tendency to be both stingy with our stuff and seriously attracted to a low cost item–whether we need it or not.  An elderly woman bought three identical knit shirts because they were priced very low, put them in her drawer and never wore them.  When her family asked her about them, and why the tags were still on them, she replied that she bought them because they only cost a few dollars each.  She didn’t need them and she never wore them (until her family took the tags off and put them in her closet); she just bought them because they were cheap.  The right question is, Do I need this and will I wear/use it?  It’s only a bargain if you can make use of it.
  • Probably the biggest trap for seniors is thinking we can solve problems by avoidance. The old adage, An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, remains true to this day.  Many seniors try to manage repairs in their homes or healthcare issues by ignoring them.  Betting that something won’t get worse, whether it’s a minor problem in your home or a minor health issue, is a very poor choice for senior citizens. Buying a long-term care insurance policy and then refusing to add the cost-of-living rider is a very poor decision.  Long-term care insurance isn’t the bargain it could be with the cost-of-living rider.  Ignoring the constant water-drip from your kitchen faucet raises your water bill.  Not changing the filters on your furnace increases your heating bills.  Prevention is always the wise choice.

These are just some of the bargain-blasters we came up with.  What are yours?

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