No matter where you go, you always hear about deals. Whether it’s a new coupon site or a store-wide sale, snatching a “deal” is totally trending. But sometimes, and more often than not, you are just wasting money. My boyfriend is the king of deals. Not so much in the sense that he searches for the best deal quality, but rather any deal quickly catches his eye. Try as he might, it’s common that the deal he finds is not a bargain. Here are a few tips to follow so you don’t fall victim to a bad deal:

Is it Really a Deal?

You can find anything for a deal these days: a night out on the town, a massage, a mattress, clothes, food and more. Do a little bit of investigating first. What is the quality of the product or service that is being offered? Does the reduced cost equate to the worth? On the surface, it seems awesome that you are getting a steak meal with sides for $50 off. But look closer: That deal may only include certain items, leaving you to pay for drinks, appetizers and dessert. Don’t be fooled!

Are You Buying Quality Items?

Deals are often found on products and services that are lacking quality, but not always. When my boyfriend and I go shopping, he is always looking for a good deal, but often ends up wasting money because of the lack of quality in the goods he purchases. Something is usually on sale for a reason. Consider your options: Is it worth the small amount of money for something of moderate quality, or would you rather dish out a bit more for something that will last longer?

Do You Need it?

When you’re at the store and see signs like “buy three, get two free,” are you automatically adding those goods to your cart? Think again: Do you really need five bags of chips? The answer is probably no. Grocery store deals are often unnecessary, so carefully consider how you spend your money. This rule doesn’t apply to luxurious services like massages, a discounted yoga package or a mani-pedi, but you should still carefully evaluate these purchases.

Buying products for a few dollars seems like nothing at the time, but if you spend $5 on something that you don’t need every week, it adds up. My deal-loving boyfriend is always saying “It’s just $3!” Sure, that’s a miniscule amount of money at the time, but would you throw away $3 just because it isn’t a lot of money? You sure wouldn’t! Don’t buy something just because it is on sale. It will just add to the pile of junk collecting dust in your apartment, and put you $3 further away from that vacation you’re saving up for.

Like quality books, movies and music, there are quality deals out there, but you have to sift through the bad ones first. Deals are everywhere, and if you don’t take the time and effort to determine a deal’s validity, you may end up with further behind than when you started.