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What is Spaving? Understanding How It Can Lead to Overspending

According to CNBC, the term means spending more to save more, and it's a sneaky yet "common pitfall" that many people unwittingly fall into.

By Tarique Anwer
Published on :

What is Spaving: “Spaving” is when you add an extra item to your cart just to get free shipping.

According to CNBC, the term means spending more to save more, and it’s a sneaky yet “common pitfall” that many people unwittingly fall into.

The reality is, that even if you spend a little bit extra to save some money, you’re still spending more than you planned.

According to consumer savings expert Andrea Woroch, spending can lead to excessive buying habits and high-interest credit card debt in the long run.

Spaving – what does it mean?

Under the guise of saving, you spend more money.

According to CNBC, this can manifest in many ways, such as taking advantage of ‘buy one, get one free’ offers or adding more items to reach free shipping thresholds.

As HuffPost put it, “Buying things you don’t really need just to get a good deal might be the answer.”

As Woroch noted to HuffPost, “sales often create a sense of urgency with buzzy terms like ‘one day only,’ ‘limited time,’ ‘daily deal,’ and ‘flash sale,'” which can cause shoppers to feel as if they’re missing out.

Is spaving actually a spending trap?

According to Jacqueline Howard, the head of money wellness at Ally Bank, spaving can trick you into spending more for a certain savings benefit.

Spending an extra $30 on a top to save $5.95 on shipping isn’t exactly a good investment.

HuffPost pointed out that another trap with spaving is that you may end up purchasing through sales that “often come with limited or nonexistent return policies.” You may not be able to undo the impact on your wallet even if you see the light later and realize the item wasn’t that great.

What can you do to avoid spaving?

When you are tempted to spend a little more just to secure some savings, here are some tips and tricks you might turn to:

You may believe you are getting a great deal based on the language of advertising — but the cold, hard numbers do not lie. You will quickly discover that “the percent discount often remains the same for some ‘buy more, save more’ deals, but they are disguised as a greater value” if you crunch the numbers.

Unenroll from sale alerts. You won’t feel tempted to shop sales if you don’t know about them. Consider taking yourself off email lists from favorite brands so you don’t get notified every time a sale is running. Also, do not walk into a store if there is a sale on.

Do not stray from your shopping list. If you have a shopping list in hand that you have created ahead of time and that you do not allow yourself to stray from, you will be less likely to add additional items to your shopping cart. You can also use this tactic to take advantage of sales — “keep a list of products you intend to buy eventually and refer to it whenever you see a sale,” said HuffPost.

If you make yourself wait before buying, you might be able to get yourself out of an adspeak-induced shopping frenzy. In accordance with HuffPost’s conversation with Woroch, one way to do this is to implement a 24-hour waiting period so you can confirm you don’t have the item or something similar, as well as shop around, compare prices and even look for refurbished options.

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