November 23rd, 2010

How Do You Know When A Sale Isn’t A Sale?

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**Today’s guest post is contributed by LearnVest **.

“Sale” is a hard word to resist. It implies that you’re lucky, you’re smart, and you’re one-upping everyone else in desperate need of, say, an iPhone 4. But anyone who has plunged into a sale and emerged with an armful of items never to be used (we remember one particularly poignant frying pan from IKEA) knows that the magic s-word can entice you to spend money you wouldn’t have otherwise—and there’s nothing lucky about that.

Stores Can Be Tricky.

So when isn’t a sale a sale? When it’s chock-full of marketing tricks and false price comparisons. LifeHacker compiled a list of common sales-that-aren’t. Here’s one of our favorites:

Beware of rebates. Manufacturers love rebates. Why? Because next to nobody completes them. Return rates for various industries and items range from 2-60% which means a lot of cash left in the manufacturer’s pocket—in 2005 almost half of new TiVo subscribers failed to mail in their $100 rebate, leaving $5,000,000 unclaimed. Look for deals with instant at-register rebates or skip rebates all together—the rate of return is simply too low to trust yourself to get around to it before the deadline comes up.

Read the whole story at LearnVest!

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