"We should go to the mall," said my wife.

Those words have caused horror to ripple through my body countless times before. Going to the mall usually results in me following behind my wife, filled with seemingly endless energy for hours, while we bounce from store to store looking for the perfect "something." 

It also has a high probability of resulting in spending more than we really should, which is how we go into the situation of needing to enroll in a debt consolidation program.

On this day, that something was new shorts for our daughter. 

Apparently a major department store was having a sale where shorts were on closeout for 20 to 25% off.  I was skeptical about whether the sale would really be worth it, but it's always worth looking.

Once we got to the store in the mall, we found that the sale was mostly on shorts regularly priced at $30 or $40, resulting in a sale price of either $22.50 or $30-still expensive in my opinion. We picked out a few anyway, and brought them to the cash register.

As we drove home, I just didn't feel very good about our purchase.  Even though the shorts were 25% off, I didn't feel like we got our money's worth for shorts for an eleven-year-old girl.  We approached an exit where I knew a discount store was located and pulled onto the off ramp.

"Uh, what are you doing?" asked Vonnie.

"I just want to check something," I replied.

I'd remembered that a few weeks prior our daughter had seen some shorts at the discount store that she really liked, but that we didn't get. 

I explained to my wife and daughter that I wanted to see if they were still there.  It took us a few minutes to locate them, but they were still there, for $6 a pair. For the price of one pair of shorts at the department store we walked out of the discount store with five pairs of shorts.

We all get caught up in the magic of a good sale: the higher the percentage, the better we feel about our purchase.

It makes us feel like we found something special when we find a great sale. JCPenney tried to get rid of sales entirely in favor of everyday low prices and it failed miserably.  Even though the prices were just as low as they would have been on a previous sale, shoppers didn't feel like they were getting a deal.

They didn't feel special.

I prefer to look at value.  I compare the price of an item to what I'm going to get out of it.  Thirty dollars for a pair of shorts that a growing eleven-year-old will wear for a season does not seem like a good value. Six-dollar shorts does-even if that's the regular price.

The next day I went back to the mall by myself, but I went happily: this time I was going to return something.

Related Links:

When Coupons Cost You Money...

Say it With Me, No More SALES

Tracking Spending Helps Me Spend Money Wisely

Travis Pizel, debt management plan customer with leading provider of debt relief, CareOne Services, Inc. Travis Pizel

Travis is a contributing writer for the A Straight Talk on Debt blog. He is also a very active member of the CareOne community forums. Travis is currently enrolled in a CareOne Debt Management Plan (DMP). Travis candidly shares his personal journey to pay off his debt and the tips he's learned along the way. As a father and husband he provides a unique perspective on balancing debt, finances, and family in Minnesota. You can also read more from Travis on the Enemy of Debt blog, where he is a featured blogger. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.

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