Scary Good Deals!

Perhaps partly due to an unhealthy obsession and partly due to an empty wallet, Columbia students hoarded Nutella. This was their way of increasing their food supply without spending money.

Perhaps partly due to an unhealthy obsession and partly due to a strict budget, Columbia students hoarded Nutella when the college began providing the popular spread at breakfasts. This was their solution to a prevalent college problem of getting edible food without going broke.

In the eyes of nearly every college student, finding something to eat is tantamount to passing classes. In the beginning, everyone aspires to combat freshman fifteen by hitting the gym everyday (free at Queens College for students and faculty!) and eating healthily. Over time, these quixotic goals transform into a more idealistic one of trying to incorporate a salad into a daily diet of the artery clogging ramen noodles. College students buy the notoriously unhealthy food because of their strict budgets. By paying for their tuition, they do not have much leftover to spend on food. Therefore, the cheapest option is the only option. The cost of snacks in particular can eat away (pun intended!) at students’ wallets, especially in cases where convenience is a major factor. Fortunately, with Halloween right around the corner, you have the opportunity to replenish your shelves, which are by now undoubtedly devoid of any substance that could satisfy your sweet tooth when you are on the go or are in a time of need.

No matter how old you are, the contents of a vending machine are always tempting. Since some of us don't have the willpower to go on a diet so as to deny ourselves from eating such foods, a better alternative is to buy them at a cheaper price.

No matter how old you are, the contents of a vending machine are always tempting. Since some of us don’t have the willpower to go on a diet so as to deny ourselves from eating such foods, a better alternative is to buy them at a cheaper price.

Right now, there are many opportunities during the day in which you can waste your hard earned money by being completely ripped off. The vending machine is by the far the biggest, most nefarious trap. Ubiquitous on campus, it provides the ultimate temptation by enticing those who are contemplating eating something with a wide selection of sweet and satisfying snacks. Most people justify caving in and buying something by rationalizing that it is only a dollar. If you indeed want to save money, then this logic is completely skewed. Hearing people say this truly incites my anger. By looking at the big picture, you can get a better sense of how much you are really spending and wasting. While it costs $1 for a Twix, you could buy a whole box of Twix, or a bag of the bite size kind, for under $4. Not only would you proportionally spend less, but it would also last you longer. (Put in mathematical terms: buying 12 Twix bars from the vending machine would cost $12, whereas the same amount could be bought at Shoprite for 66% less!) Similarly, in the cafeteria, chips are sold at nearly double the price of any regular supermarket.

Despite knowing that they are getting ripped off, people still buy from both places. At first it boggled my mind: how could people be so blind to the brazenly inflated prices? As I contemplated the matter more, I realized that the cafeteria and vending machines both offer something that, at that very moment, no supermarket can provide: convenience. These goods, with their higher prices, are easily attainable since they are right there to be purchased. For example, a student rushing to class needs to simply drop a dollar on the counter and then run off with the bag of chips; there is no need to walk to the car, drive five minutes, go to the snacks aisle, and then wait at the checkout counter. Ultimately, the profit made by selling these items is equal to what buyers deem to be the cost of convenience.

Impulse buys are those small goods located next to the check-out counter. Especially if they are with children, shoppers will impulsively reach for the item because it is only around a buck (and it will silence the incessant, annoying pleas). Impulse buys test the willpower of the shopper, to see if they will yield to one last, ostensibly insignificant purchase. My advice is, as difficult as it might be, to avoid such tempting items. The benefit you gain from them will ultimately be less than the price you pay.

Impulse buys are those small goods located next to the check-out counter.  Shoppers will impulsively reach for these items, especially if  they are with their children, because they are only around a buck each (and doing so will silence the incessant, annoying pleas). Impulse buys test the willpower of all shoppers, to see if they will yield to one last, “financially insignificant” purchase. My advice is, as difficult as it might be, to avoid such tempting items. The benefit you gain from them will ultimately be less than how much you initially think they are worth.

While most people value convenience, I value getting a good deal; if you are on a strict budget, you should too. (Of course, only to a certain extent: driving 30 miles to another store to buy milk that is 50 cents cheaper is actually counter productive because you end up spending more due to the cost of using more gas!) Never buy on impulse; instead, you should buy when prices are advantageous to you, the customer. During specific times in the year, items associated with certain time periods go on sale in their respective seasons. For example, around Halloween time, candy is sold for a discounted price.  There is a surplus of candy in the available inventory due to the anticipation of a higher demand. Supermarkets lower the price so that people keep buying, in order to keep replenishing the shelves.

Just because a top businessman thinks of an idea does not mean that it is good-or, better yet, legal! Bernie Madoff used a Ponzi Scheme to earn money at the expense of many others, which is both ethically wrong and federally a crime.  Stocking up on goods when prices are lower is a creative, legal, and, in my opinion, a commendable way of saving money!

Just because a top businessman thinks of a way to make money does not mean that it is a good idea. Bernie Madoff used a Ponzi Scheme to earn money at the expense of many others, an act that is both ethically wrong and entirely illegal. Stocking up on goods when they are on sale is a creative, legal, and, in my opinion, commendable way of saving money!

Sales are directed toward children, but there is no reason why you cannot take advantage of the deals, too. After all, creativity is the how professionals on Wall Street makes their millions; if you can find a way to save money both honestly and legally, go for it! (Maybe you could also teach some of the crooks who promote themselves as legitimate businessmen how to do so.) By stocking up at a discount, you can always have a sweet treat to carry around.  That way, you can avoid having to pay the astronomical prices that the vending machine charges for as long as your cache lasts. Buying these snacks now is essentially an investment for the future. Think about how much you can save by not buying these expensive options; those mere dollars add up!

In general, an important way of saving money is by first looking at goods and their prices, and then considering the long-term benefits of stocking up. Seeing Halloween sweets on sale might appear to be a nice holiday gesture on the surface. However, if you think on a deeper, economic level, you can figure that investing at such a cheap price will decrease your food bill for the next few months. Now that you know of this financial tip, have fun getting in touch with your inner child!

 

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Published in: on October 31, 2013 at 2:38 am Comments (0)
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