Consumer: Money Talk with Helen Collier

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WHEN is a bargain not a bargain?

You must have been on another planet if the words Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed you by unnoticed in the last few week. The scenes as people got trampled in the rush to bag a bargain television on Black Friday were amazing to watch. Internet users were inundated with adverts for fantastic deals not to be missed on Cyber Monday. There were bargains galore to be had.

Well what do you know, I’ve just read about a survey that said 1 in 3 items bought had been sent back! That’s a lot of people who bought what they either didn’t need, didn’t want or wasn’t what they imagined.

So what’s happened?

Dopamine! Anticipation of that great feeling of getting a bargain. Wow, this is too good to be true. This is amazing. I must get it. I’m going to feel great when I’ve got it.

Guess what, when the dopamine settles down the bargain might not seem so great. So back to the question, when is a bargain not a bargain? Answer: If you neither needed it or really wanted it and you couldn’t afford it. If you got caught in the excitement of the moment and did it for fear of missing out.

Here’s a tip for next time: Pause, breathe and ask - Do I really need this or am I just getting caught up in the excitement of the moment?

> Leeds-based Helen Collier is one of only two coaches in the UK trained with the Money Coaching Institute in California. She helps people who are often embarrassed and ashamed about how they’ve handled money to create a financial life they can be proud of. www.harmoneylife.co.uk.