The "saving money by spending it" fairy tale

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An impressionistic ripple effect tree reflection in the river Areuse, Switzerland, 2012.

Once upon a time, children saved money in a piggy bank and grand parents had an old sock underneath their mattress that held their savings. As time went by, saving became more sophisticated and a profitable business. Savings books and later shares replaced the pottery pig or the woolen sock. I believe we have now reached the most evolved method of saving: By spending money! Consumerism advertisement tries to convince you that paying less than the regular price equals saving money. This is a very smart concept and a fallacy that many succumb to. However, nobody has ever saved money by spending it! 

I have just visited three major photography retailer websites (Adorama, Amazon, and B&H). Two of these (Amazon and B&H) inform me with a dedicated title instant saving or you save that I save for example 80 or 200 USD and only have to pay 300 or 3500 USD, respectively. In contrast, Adorama seems to pursue a more correct and commendable strategy: They only announce a special price and a regular price, but do not promise any savings. Does this make the Adorama deals less attractive? I hope not - the opposite should be the case!

Save is one of the most mis-used words in advertisement and at the core of the consumerism brainwashing machinery. What I find particularly shocking is that savings seem to replace criteria of quality and actual need. Often, cameras (and of course also other products) are advertised solely with the savings that their purchase promises. The meaning behind this advertisement language is: "We have absolutely no argument why you should buy our old and soon to be replaced camera and therefore we make you believe to save money by buying it so that we can get rid of our stocks." I hope that you are aware of this meaning and do not fall victim to such promises of great savings.

I do not at all suggest to refrain from buying cameras, lenses or any other tool or item that you really want to use. I would even help you decide what photography equipment is most useful for you, if you want. If you can afford, buy all the things that you really want to use and rather decide based on the quality of the product than its price or novelty. However, do not believe that you will save money by buying something, because you will not. Similar problems are actually commonplace in other areas as well. For example, you neither loose weight by eating nor do you protect the environment by buying a new car.

2013/04/21 by Florian Freimoser
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