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The Weekly Personal Finance Digest – Are Sales Really Sales?

Debt Roundup Personal Finance DigestI hope everyone has had a great weekend so far.  I know I have enjoyed my relaxing weekend, especially compared to the crazy ones that I have been dealing with the past few months.  I don’t know about you, but it is kind of nice to not have any plans every once in a while.  I could get spoiled this way.

Well, it is Sunday, and time for this week’s personal finance digest.  There was some good stuff out there, but I wanted to highlight one article in particular from Daily Finance.  They wrote an article about the embattled JC Penny.  After some investigation and employee information, this article notified customers that JC Penny’s sales might not be actual sales.  According to the article, JC Penny allegedly hicks up the retail price of an item, just to put it one “sale” for the regular price.  This was seen by employees working and some got fed up with it.  They didn’t like the practice, so they spoke out.

Now, what gets me about this article is that who didn’t know that this was happening?  This practice has been going on in the retail environment for years.  I am talking years.  Kohls is really good at doing this.  They constantly do it with almost every item.  How can any company actually have a special price on every item they sell?  If you go into a Kohls, you will see that pretty much every item is some percentage off the “regular” price.  Why do you think this is the case?

I know why retailers do this type of “sale” discounting.  People have been so ingrained to only buy when there is a sale, so why not have a sale every day?  I have been buying quick dry golf shirts from Kohls for years.  Now, I am pretty used to the price that I have to pay.  Every time I go in there, the price screen says that I am saving 60%, but I have always paid the same price each and every time.  I have even gone on their “sale” days where it shows that men’s shirts are on sale.  The prices are still the same.  It does show a big screen with “SALE” on it, but the price is no different than what I paid for my last shirt.  That is just the regular price.  Now, I buy the shirts because they are a good price and they fit well.

Our culture is all about shopping and spending money, but we want a sale.  We love to save money on the items we buy.  The only way a retailer can succeed in that such environment is to discount their items.  The funny thing about the JC Penny pricing scheme is that when they did away with coupons a year or two ago, people stopped shopping.  The prices didn’t change at all.  People were still spending the same amount with or without the coupon, but people love to shop with coupons.  They spark the spending splurge that people love.  That made me laugh a little bit.  It shows all too well that our spending mentality is just screwed up.  You can only know that you are saving if you actually compared prices.

What do you think of the article?  Did you know this was going on?

New Personal Finance Book

I was notified by CreditForums.com about a new personal finance book.  It was written by many of the personal finance bloggers that I follow and interact with on a daily basis.  I read over the book and really enjoyed it.  It is called 21 Days to Healthier Finances.  I would recommend you check it out and it is interactive on Credit Forums site.  I hope you enjoy.

This Week’s Reads on Debt Roundup

Top Personal Finance Articles

Shout Outs

I like to give those that link to my work a little shout out.  I really appreciate all of your support.  Without you, Debt Roundup would not be where it is today.  Thank you!

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About Grayson Bell

I am an average Joe, who built up over $50,000 worth of credit card debt and had to learn how to break it back down. It took 4 years of learning budgets, secrets, and many other personal finance tricks in order to cut the debt to $0. Now, I push to teach others not only how to get out of debt, but how to use credit wisely and how to start growing their wealth. You can view my other site, Sprout Wealth for ways to grow your money. I am also a freelance personal finance writer who provides staff writing and ghost writing services.

18 comments

  1. That sale article is fascinating! I’m with you on Kohl’s too. It’s frustrating because at these stores, if you happen to buy something full price, you may not get the best quality either because they discount their clothing so frequently that the quality has to give to keep profits happening. I totally see this at outlet mall “factory stores”, like Gap and Banana Republic. Not only are the clothes not the same quality as the real Gap and Banana Republic, but every time you go to one, the entire store is on sale. I still like to shop at stores like that 1-2 times a year because you can get clothes for affordable prices that are good enough in spite of the fact that their quality is not as great.
    Tara recently posted..You want it? Buy it….My Profile

    • They have to keep the customers coming in, so they just continue to have sales, but they aren’t really discounting anything. They raise the price to offer a bigger sale.

  2. Not having plans for the weekend sometimes is a great thing! That’s what I’ve been doing as well.

    I agree that most have to know by now that the sales being advertised aren’t true sales. I haven’t shopped at Kohl’s in a while, but when I do (or anywhere else really) I try to buy what I think is a good value. If I’m okay with the price and I think it’s worth it I’ll buy it. Most of the time I find myself at the clearance racks anyway.
    E.M. recently posted..Posts of the Week #2My Profile

    • I have talked to a few people since the article and I was amazed that many don’t realize it. It is kind of sad that more don’t do price comparisons.

  3. Thanks for mentioning 21 Days to Healthier Finances! Glad you enjoyed it, I am still completely blown away with the great writing we received. Also, stay tuned actually have a few additional bonus chapters that we will be adding to the end of the book shortly.
    Kevin Fleming recently posted..Pay Off Student Loan Debt FasterMy Profile

  4. Glad you had a relaxing weekend, Grayson – you deserve it after all of the hard work you’ve been doing! Thanks for the mention, and have a wonderful Sunday with your family. :-)
    Laurie @thefrugalfarmer recently posted..Do You Share the Habits of the Wealthy? Good Reads for the Week Ending 7/26/13My Profile

  5. That happens all the time and in some cases it’s so obvious. My wife and I were talking about it the other day. We see pot sets in the housewares department of many stores and they almost always say Reg $799.00 on sale for $199.00 so you think you are getting a smashing deal when you’re not. It’s so important to know your prices at as many places as you can compare. I have a post about that on the blog written last year. Pity they do that, frustrates many consumers and pulls the wool over others.
    canadianbudgetbinder recently posted..Greek yogurt stuffed cherry berry smoothieMy Profile

    • Yeah, those make me laugh. There is no way they can sell them for that discount, but when they are actually not close the the “retail” price, then it is easier.

  6. Thanks for the shout out Grayson! Our weekend certainly wasn’t relaxing, but it was a lot of fun.
    Matt Becker recently posted..What is a Budget?My Profile

  7. I think yesterday might have been one of my last trips into Kohls. Before that, it had been well over 6 months since my last trip, where I got so angry I left empty-handed. I went with my mother yesterday because she had $10 “Kohls Cash” to use. Good thing she knew exactly what she wanted! It was a bath mat on sale for $9.99. Original price? $40! She picked it up and I whisked her out of the store. The mere fact that they can sell it “on sale” for 9.99 means that it cost them soo much less to buy it for re-sale in the first place. $40?!?! I don’t think so! She brought me to Bed, Bath & Beyond and we saw the same exact product for $9.99 – not on sale, that was the real price. It disgusts me how much stores mark this stuff up, just to sell it back to us !on sale!, and most people will gladly drink it up and ask for more.

    • I agree. I will still shop there, but only for the shirts that I wear because they fit me well and I have been buying them for so long that I know the price. They have never once used the “regular” price, but it still makes me laugh that they pull this and people love it.

  8. This is my supermarket’s modus vivendi. They are part of the Walmart group so I imagine all Walmarts do the same. They also “forget” to update a price change when the price goes down, which is really annoying because if you point it out they have to call the manager while you block the line for 10 minutes, and they will not fix it, just fix your invoice. I hate that bad faith.
    Thanks for the mention!
    Pauline @ Make Money Your Way recently posted..How to Start InvestingMy Profile

  9. Hey Grayson, sorry I’m late with this, thanks so much for including my article!
    Catherine recently posted..Some Truths About Life…My Profile

  10. Thanks for the shout out Grayson! Was on vacation for the past few weeks, so got a ton of PF articles to catch up on. Keep up the good work.
    thepotatohead recently posted..Everyday Matters : 6 Trends That Are Way OverratedMy Profile

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