The Diary of a Budgeter – Day 17

Bobbi Olson Articles, The Diary of a Budgeter

The Deal

Today, Scott and I went to Outdoor World – what a massive store! While shopping, we were stopped by two different salespeople – one wanted to sell us a vacation, the other wanted us to sign up for the store’s credit card. They were two very different experiences, and we had the most fun talking about how to make the most of both!

The first, who wanted to sell us a vacation, was pretty high pressure – he definitely did not want us to walk away without buying! He kept “sweetening the pot” with offers of extra nights at no cost, store gift cards and a really inexpensive price for the resort stay! The more we said no, the more he wanted to throw in “for free.” He made it sound great and the extras were tempting, but the poor guy never have a shot; we had no intention of budging no matter what he offered. Here’s why:

First, we don’t make decisions like that without discussing it first. This guy didn’t even want us to look at each other, much less discuss it! On principal alone, that was enough for me. If you can’t even let me discuss a financial decision with my husband, I have no time for you and I’m not buying anything you’re selling!

The discussion, if we hadn’t had it already, would have been how much money we have in a vacation fund, or if we wanted to take money from another fund to pay for the trip. In addition to the price of the resort stay, we would need to factor in travel expenses, food and recreation. This is not something we are comfortable saying yes to in a store, at a moment’s notice.

Ironically, we’d just been discussing vacations on the way to the store and agreeing that we were much more interested in saving for other things than a vacation – especially this year, as we’re focused on the couch and job loss fund.

But it occurred to us that if we were seriously interested in the offer, we should go back another day and let someone else pitch us. After listening to his sales pitch, we’re confident this isn’t a one-day promotion. We could say no several times, as we did today, and wait for them to offer all the extra goodies, then finally say yes – knowing that was our decision in the first place! And if we were wrong and it was a one-day promotion, so be it. In no way did we go to that store looking for a vacation, so we know we can live without it.

The second salesperson offered us a store credit card, which would give us $20 off our purchase today, another $20 off our second in-store purchase and another $20 off a purchase from a different store. We said no in the moment but asked if we could change our minds at checkout and she said yes. As we wandered around the store, we talked about how we were planning on buying a gift card for our nephew’s birthday, as well as a few other items, so $20 off would really help. We use one credit card for everything – and we usually say no to other offers, but with $60 total on the table, and our history of only using credit cards for purchases we would otherwise make from our checking account (always with the money in the bank to pay for it that day), we decided there was really no downside! Since it’s the first time we’ve said yes to a new credit card in 3 years, the credit check wouldn’t be a big impact on our score, and we know we’re going to need more supplies from the store, so why not get another $20 off next time? When we checked out, we signed up for the credit card, purchased our items and got $20 off. We came home, put our new items away and paid off the credit card.

Promotions like these are typically designed to get you to spend more money than you otherwise would, sometimes on things you otherwise wouldn’t have purchased. But we have our own minds! We can think for ourselves! We can take a step back and think it through, to make sure it’s in our best interest – and our budget’s! Always use that power and don’t let anyone pressure you. You can always walk away.

Have a similar experience? Tell me about it!