v. To spend money on items priced below normal retail cost and thus save the difference.
Other Forms
People will risk their lives to spave — spend to save — at Ikea. The most dangerous part is getting your flatpack off the self-service warehouse shelves. You can almost hear varicose veins popping as the weight bears down on shoppers. As I loaded my trolleys with 23 packs of Tundra-laminated floorboards I wondered if the casualty rate was high. Surely, like that scene from On the Waterfront, where dock workers are crushed under pallets of banana boxes, Ikea customers regularly face death by falling flat-packed sofa.
—Kate Muir, “Fraught & social,” The Times (London), December 01, 2001
1996 (earliest)
For the non-beachbound, Kings Dominion, Williamsburg and Busch Gardens are favorite destinations. But did you know that the No. 1 tourist spot in the Washington region is the Potomac Mills megamall? So watch out for the "spavers" headed southbound on Interstate 95.
—Adrienne T. Washington, “Beach means rejuvenation for everyone,” The Washington Times, May 24, 1996
People who spave have an unofficial motto: The more you buy, the more you save. This sounds at first like some twisted brand of mathematics — call it Retail Math or Shopaholic Math. But the spaving secret is to purchase something — in particular, an item that you would have bought anyway — at a reduced price. For example, if you go to the mall and see an item you need that normally costs $50 on sale for $25, you'd save $25. Nothing wrong with that.

Problems arise when the shopper confuses the "reducing expenses" sense of "saving" with the "accumulating money" sense. The shopper would figure that, although he only needs one of them, if he were to buy two of the sale item, then he'd have "saved" a whopping $50. "Heck, I'm making money here," he says to himself. "Why not buy four of them and save $100?" The amount not spent becomes the target, and he enters the mathematical la-la land of the out-of-control spaver.
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