The Little Joys of a Big Bargain

Words by Hashwina (she/her) 27 VIC

One of my unfiltered joys in life is to brag about how cheap I got an item, either on sale or through a deep internet dive. I’m not quite sure where I picked this habit up from. Maybe it’s from my immigrant mum who loves a good haggle or from my dad who sieves through the aisles of Costco, always buying way more than we need for the house – just because he saw a good deal.

I’ve seen others share this passion too. Often on the internet, where the most fashionable retail thrifters show off their latest promising finds, or on the pages of Facebook Marketplace, which is probably the most used part of Facebook by hordes of young people.

In this inflated economy, is this joy a given right or a hard-earned find?

More and more young people caught up in this cost-of-living crisis are turning to their Depop’s and Facebook marketplaces to be their saving grace.

In an era where the cost of living often seems to escalate faster than our incomes, finding a good bargain isn’t just a financial relief – it’s a cause for celebration. The thrill of hunting down a great deal is a universal joy, one that transcends economic status and cultural boundaries. Whether it’s discounted designer wear, a second-hand book in pristine condition, or a steep price cut on your favourite coffee brand, a bargain has the power to delight and surprise.

The joy of finding a bargain starts with the hunt.

Unlike regular shopping where purchases might be planned, finding a bargain is often unexpected and, therefore, more thrilling. There’s an element of surprise and a sense of achievement that comes from discovering something valuable for less. This hunt involves more than just saving a few dollars; it’s about the challenge and the competitive thrill of getting the best possible deal before others catch on.

Bargain hunting can also be seen as a form of treasure hunting. In thrift stores, garage sales, and online marketplaces, the search for a bargain can unearth items of unexpected historical or personal value that are not found in mainstream stores. Each item has a story, and finding something special at a low price feels like uncovering a hidden gem. This sense of discovery adds an enriching layer to the shopping experience that goes beyond mere consumerism.

The joy of finding a good bargain often leads to a smarter and more conscious consumer lifestyle. It encourages shoppers to evaluate what constitutes real value and to make more informed decisions about their purchases. In a way, it educates consumers to resist impulsive buying and to appreciate the worth of items they’re investing in. This can lead to a more sustainable lifestyle, as people learn to reuse and recycle, giving items a second life.

Psychologically, scoring a bargain can have a positive impact on a person’s wellbeing. It provides a dopamine rush, the brain’s reward for successful endeavours, which in this case is securing a valuable item for less.

This feel-good neurotransmitter is the same one triggered by eating chocolate or falling in love, which explains why finding a good deal can feel so exhilarating.

In a climate where most major purchases such as houses, cars, and international travel become unaffordable, maybe the little joys of life lay in the $2 top we thrifted from Savers…


Illustration by Aileen. You can find more of her work on Instagram @aileenngstudio

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