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How to Avoid Overspending on Sales and Clearance Deals

Sometimes some deals are just too good to pass up. Whether it’s clothing, gift items, groceries, electronics, or other fun purchases, the sales and clearance deals can make it tough to stick to your shopping list. Often these clearance deals entice us to spend more money by picking up more items than we normally would, despite the lower prices.

“We convince ourselves it’s okay to overspend because we’re celebrating a promotion or because we’re pleasers by nature and want to buy a great gift for our spouse or best friend’s birthday,” says Leslie Greenman, financial advisor and author of Dating Our Money.

Greenman recommends sitting down with your spouse or partner on a regular basis, around once a month, to discuss your financials honestly and openly. She also advises setting some savings goals and doing an audit on your expenses as far as what you can cut and what you can’t. Another good tip Greenman likes to share is that you shouldn’t shop when you are feeling down in the dumps, just like how you shouldn’t go to the grocery store on an empty stomach.

Here are a few additional tips from Leslie Greenman on how you can outsmart the impulse to overspend:

  • “Get an accountability partner.” Check in with this person on a regular basis about your finances as a way to help keep you on track. This should help you stick to your budget while avoiding impulsive purchases. You can also call your accountability partner if you find yourself wavering between making a splurge and avoiding the purchase.
  • “Invest in relationships, not in ‘stuff.’” Many times the perfect gift can be the gift of time spent together. Even if you like to treat your friends and family to meals and special gifts, do your best not to overdo it and instead place the emphasis on bonding time.
  • “Remember, small amounts add up to huge consequences.” You can avoid unnecessary expenses by making smarter choices. Mix up your hot chocolate, coffee, or tea at home and bring it along in a travel mug. Switch from bottled water to filtered tap water. Find other ways to save money, avoid waste, and generally avoid those little things that quickly add up to bigger expenses.

“Even if the on-sale item is still too much for your budget, you convince yourself that it’s okay to splurge a little in this case because the deal being offered is so good,” Greenman says. “But let’s be honest. Going over budget is going over budget. It doesn’t matter what purchase is deepening your debt; just that your debt is increasing. So don’t let the temptation of great sales get the best of your budget. If an item is too much for your personal financial situation, don’t buy it.”

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