Equal or Lesser Value

In this time of bigger is always better everyone is out to get the most for their money.

That is certainly not a bad thing, who doesn’t want to feel like they got a bargain but there are still cases where people are given the choice between “equal or lessor value”.

A few areas that come to mind are coupons where you can buy one of something and get a second of equal or lesser value free, or places that offer a free upgrade to the next size up of drink or fry. This is a pretty good marketing technique because in most cases, the upgrade doesn’t cost the company anything but a small profit margin but it sure gets people in the store to shop for that product, and while they are there, they will most likely buy something else.

I can definitely see the reason the businesses offer this sort of promotion from time to time, but something I have always wondered is, why in the world would anyone choose something of lesser value?

Until recently, I had never met anyone (or bothered to talk about it with anyone) that chose something of lesser value instead of taking everything they could get. My wife did this at a Charles JR when we had a coupon for buy one get one free.

I cant recall what the actual purchase was (I think it was, buy a sandwich and get a free Medium or Large drink) but I recall thinking “what are you doing???” but instead I toned it down a bit and asked her, “Why did you choose the Medium when you could have gotten the Large?”.

She very plainly stated to me that the Large is too much drink for her and she didn’t want it to go to waste..

I was somewhat baffled and it really changed the way I think in some situations.

Now, when I am offered the upgrade for a small increase in price, I am more likely to pass it up. When I am not hungry, I will more likely pass up free food, which used to never happen. And when I am browsing the store and see something completely unnecessary, but way cool! I can more easily keep on walkin’. I have become more frugal because of that one incident.

Here is the personal finance aspect of the story. If you really don’t need it, you should think twice about buying it, even if it is a bargain.

Have any of you ever passed up the free upgrade?

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2 People have left comments on this post

» AshleyNo Gravatar said: { Aug 31, 2009 - 04:08:15 }

My mom raised me to have a mentality that a really good deal on just about anything is always worth buying because you can either use it later, give it as a gift, or at some point will find someone that needs what you picked up for a bargain basement price. As I got older I found that mentality results in you having a bunch of junk that you’ll never use. Nowadays, if I can’t use it in the moment or near future (6 months to a year) I don’t buy it no matter how hard my inner frugalista tugs at me.

» Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar said: { Aug 31, 2009 - 04:08:21 }

Ashley, I am right there with ya. My parents would always stock pile. I grew up in a really big family (one of seven kids, big to todays standards, not so much back then) and we had several months of just about anything we used saved up.

Now I find there are certainly some situations where I buy in bulk because I will actually use all of it eventually, like rice. But I second guess myself far more than I used to which is a good thing.

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