Kohl’s "Savings"

There is a true saver inside me, even though I have my spending moments – as shown on this receipt from a recent date-night shopping outing with my wife.  Look how much I “saved”, but look how much I spent too.  I’m one of those people who doesn’t like the use of the word “savings” when it comes to store discounts.  It is understandable why the word is used in that context.  If while shopping one receives $100 worth of stuff for $50 the perception is they “saved” $50.

The problem I have with calling this “savings” is the fact that this is not money being added to my savings account.  It is ALREADY IN my account.  I already worked hard for it, put it in the bank, and disciplined myself NOT to spend it until this transaction.  All I’m doing is spending less, which means “DISCOUNT” to me, not “savings”.  And I would rather Kohl’s put “Total Discount” at the bottom of the receipt because when I think of savings I think of my own hard work and effort to earn and save.  But when I think of discount I relate it to someone or some business that had to GIVE me a discount.  Then I would think of Kohl’s as being generous to me by GIVING me something – a discount.

Shawna, my wife, is more of the spender in our house.  She argues with my thought process on this saving vs discount issue.  It is a peaceful and light-hearted disagreement about the legitimacy of “saving” money by spending it.  Shawna would say I COULD have spent $213.72 on the pictured receipt, but I didn’t – I only spent $66.19.  Therefore, according to her, I “saved” $147.53.  The thing is I would have NEVER spent $213.72 for the stuff we got.  It would have gone back on the shelf and stayed there as I left the store.  But since Kohl’s was offering us such a great DISCOUNT on those items I chose to spend $66.19 for them.  Shawna still doesn’t agree 🙂

The items we bought at Kohl’s were TOTALLY discretionary.  We could have put them back, waited, bought much cheaper alternatives at Goodwill – whatever.  We did not HAVE to spend that money by any means.  So I refuse to say I “saved” anything.  I just prevented spending $147 from the money already in my savings account.  HOWEVER, had we been starving to death, nothing in our cupboards, and desperately shopping at the grocery store to where discount or not we were going to leave there with something to eat, and we happened to spend $147 less than full retail, then I would feel like we actually “saved”.  In that scenario the money was gonna be spent with or without the discount/savings because I’m gonna eat one way or the other.

I guess spenders would go a couple weeks without eating anything as long as they could have that next fun spending experience, but that just isn’t the case for me.  I’ll wear the same clothes every day and holy underwear before I go hungry.

This argument is all in good fun spenders – try and see it from the savers point of view for a minute and realize that having money in the bank is just as important to us savers as having fun is to you spenders.  What fun and light-hearted spenders vs savers arguments would you offer up to this discussion between Shawna and I?

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