Buy it now, buy it cheap: a personal tale
Des and I went to look at getting a new kitchen over the weekend, something which we have been talking about for a rather long time, as our present one was heavily water damaged before we even moved into the house.
Whilst my timing was not really motivated by black Friday/cyber Monday (I refused to give capitalise these), I was aware that there might be some sort of incentive for buying that particular weekend. However I always think its better to pay more for what you actually want, rather than get a cheap fix.
After a rather enjoyable few hours looking at our options and virtually planning what a new kitchen could look like within our reasonably tight budget, the salesperson declared that he could knock off a bit more off the final price to get us "the best deal he could"
Once the final price had been magically rounded down under our budget, we were then asked if we wanted to put a deposit down there and then. Now I don't know about you, but I'm not the kind of person to spend thousands of pounds on whim, I like to have time to think about these things and plan my finances accordingly.
I asked for a week or so to think about things, which was met with the classic "I can only hold things at this price today as it's a special offer, things might change tomorrow."
He then added the rather emotionally manipulative: I've worked really hard to get you to this price."
Now call me a skeptic, but I'm pretty sure that he would have used that exact line on any weekend during the year. The fact that it was BF/CM, or whatever shopping event day, merely added to the sense of urgency he was trying to create in order to get a deposit out of us there and then.
This hard sales tactic didn't work. We decided against the purchase, as I felt far too rushed and came away feeling pretty dubious about the authenticity of the discounts too. The funny thing is, if he had given us a week to go away and think, we probably would of gone for it!
The buy now and buy because it is cheap mentality is something which only gets worse this time of year, as retailers vie for our Christmas expenditure. By no means am I saying i'm not immune to it (says the woman who just spent £50 on makeup for no good reason other than it was a "good deal"). However, I am finding myself increasingly critical of how discounts are used to manipulate buying habits and coerce consumers into unnessecary purchases.
What can you do to fight the desire to buy more than you need at Christmas?
After spelling out why I think overconsumption is a festive issue, I thought it would only be polite to provide some ideas on how you can tackle it.
One of the things I have recently discovered is this brilliant visual aid by Sarah Lazarovic - "The Buyerarchy of Needs"
The idea here is that if you want to have something new, you work up the Buyerachy, exploring each level in turn, until the need is met. In this pyramid buying is the last option and only available if every other level has proved unfeasible.
My second suggestion is that you *consider* not giving Christmas presents, or at least not buying them anyway. Instead you may want to give homemade gifts, or have a mutually assured non-present agreement with friends of family members. Not only does this cut your consumption, it also removes the financial pressure that many people feel this time of year.
Lastly, a method I frequently use when buying anything is to think clearly to myself "Do I need this, or want this?" If the answer is want, I then ask myself "Do I have to buy it or can I scratch the itch through other means?"
I hope you have found this a mildly interesting/useful post! If you have any suggestions for cutting down consumption in the lead up to Christmas, I would love to hear it!