The Stock Up Mindset: Why This Shopping Habit Can Cost You

Before you’re inundated with Black Friday deals and emails I want to introduce you to the stock up mindset. Do you have it and does it serve you?

The stock up mentality or mindset is when you “stock up” on your favourite products during sale time.

The logic here is that if you love a product you should buy multiples or backups at this discounted price.

It makes sense right?

If you’ve inherited this line of thinking you could be spending more money than you realize. How?

What is the Stock Up Mindset?

Purchasing an item on sale that you ordinarily buy will save you money. But, the stock up mindset applies this principle out of context.

By framing a favourite product like an eyeliner pencil as a “staple” you’re framing this eyeliner (or whatever product is of interest) as something you would have bought ordinarily when that’s not actually the case.

Loving something doesn’t inherently make that thing a staple, or a product you can regularly afford to buy. But, we use this logic to convince ourselves that this item is something we should buy. When we do this we end up disguising wants as needs.

Let’s do a little math

Let’s say you regularly buy an eyeliner from the drugstore for $11.99 and this is your staple go to item and you buy four a year.

$11.99 x 4 = $47.96 on eyeliner a year.

During a 20% off sale you decide to buy the Stila eyeliner that originally retails for $32.50. You buy three eyeliners total, each costing $26 after the 20% discount.

So, your three eyelines before tax is $78. Let’s also imagine that you use 4 eyeliners that year but you decide to buy your favourite drugstore eyeline as the 4th bringing your yearly eyeliner spend to $89.99.

That’s $43.03 more than your regular eyeliner spend.

If you’re someone who doesn’t use the Stila eyeliner regularly because it’s too expensive you’re stocking up on something you wouldn’t be buying at another point in the year.


the takeaway

When you have the stock up mindset there’s two potential factors at play:

  1. you convince yourself that an expensive or “treat” item is a staple because it’s a favourite
  2. you buy more of said expensive product (again, convinced that it’s a staple) and spend more money that you ordinarily would on that item category

I’m not trying to nit-pick your finances or tell you how you should spend your money.

What I am suggesting is that there are sneaky ways we convince ourselves that buying something is worth it. That a sale is actually saving us money, when that’s not really the case.

To some spending an extra $40 a year isn’t a lot. But, to others it is.

This line of thinking can expand beyond beauty and skincare too. Have you ever been to the grocery store or Costco and one of your favourite snacks is on sale so you decide to stock up? Perhaps it’s a few cases of pop, or maybe some extra bags of popcorn, mac and cheese, or bagels.

It’s really nice to treat ourselves and buy the tasty treats or favourite skincare, but these sale buys aren’t the things we’re actually eating or using day to day. It’s also a line of thinking, or a mindset, that can cost us hundreds or thousands of dollars a year if we’re spending this way across multiple categories. We tell ourselves we’re saving money when we’re spending more than usual.

Sales aside, there’s also the question of: how many eyeliners do you have already? If you buy multiples, can you use up the last eyeliner before it dries up or expires? Do you like to try new brands and formulas? Is there a chance you’ll try other formulas throughout the year further pushing back the length of time you’ll own your “backup”?

When we buy back-ups we’re committing to something until it’s used up— but did you actually take that under consideration when you bought it?

I’ve seen it all too often where people buy backups, even of their absolute must-have favourite products and then their opinion changes, their preference changes, or the product goes bad and they’ve now wasted money.

It is also true that buying back ups can save us money. I personally buy soap, toothpaste, and a handful of pantry staples in backup.

But this the case for you and the particular “staple” you’re telling yourself will be worth stocking up on?

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