When to Buy. And When Not to Buy.

is this deal worth it for me?

Do you often feel like there are so many good deals out there — and on KOAB — that you don’t know when to buy, and when to pass?

Here was one such query I got from reader, Miriam, last week:

How do you manage to take advantage of the different sales especially kids clothes and toys and presents for friends all while staying within your $600 monthly budget? It seems overwhelming to me.

While I love finding great deals for my readers, I love even more knowing that they have the tools to know when something is truly a good deal for their family.

As I’ve said many times before, it’s not a bargain if you can’t afford it.


End of story.

If you’re going to “save” $30″ on something by putting it on your credit card and figuring out how to pay for it later, then that’s not a blessing to your family. It’s definitely not saving you money.

It’s costing you money!

That said, I know most KOAB readers are living within their means and don’t struggle with debt — #rockon!

So if that describes you, but  you still aren’t sure when to buy (and when not buy), here’s my best advice, which I also shared with Miriam:

Here’s my secret: I don’t buy every deal I post.

In fact, sometimes I mean to buy something, but I’m so busy posting that by the time I go to order it, the price has already changed.

Oh well! One thing I’ve learned in three years of blogging deals and sales is that what comes around, goes around. Very rare is the one-time-only-ever-in-your-whole-life sale.

It may be the lowest price we’ve seen yet. Or we may not have seen that price in over a year. So, yes, there is a component of timeliness.

But if I don’t have room in my budget today, I pass. And I do it without (too much) angst!

All that said, my $600 food budget (which is now $750, since we are couponing less and eating “whole foods” more… plus a bunch of other factors) only covers food and household items (like cleaning supplies & toiletries).

Gifts and clothing come from a different budget. When my budget is especially tight, I shop thrift stores and garage sales, rather than retail clearance. Over Shabbat, I wore a skirt I got at Savers for less than $3 and got a ton of compliments on it!

When it comes to the grocery store, it can also be a challenge to balance your current needs with wanting to start your stockpile. Here’s a post I wrote about fitting stockpiling into your budget, which you might find helpful.

How do you balance the great deals with living on a budget? Have you ever passed on a deal only to regret it?


  1. I used to regret passing on deals, but what comes around once will usually come back around again sooner than I think and 5 bucks cheaper! Sometimes it’s a no-brainer, though- like the probably never-worn Armani Exchange sweater and very-gently used Adrienne Vittadini bag that I found at a Salvation Army blowout sale for the combined price of 6 bucks. Yeah, the clerks must have been sleepwalking that day and I wasn’t ABOUT to shake them.

  2. Esther O says

    Good advice. The other day I saw a deal where something that was normally $200-something was $99. I was thinking of buying it and then realized that I don’t have $99 extra dollars to spend. Even when I do decide to buy something, I try to let it sit in my online cart for a few hours so I can really think about whether I need it. Sometimes it sells out before I get back to it, but I know it will always go on sale again.

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