Have you ever returned home from a shopping trip with that uncomfortable feeling that you spent too much? Or maybe you’ve felt sick about buying something on a whim that wasn’t at all what you thought it would be. For me it often happens when I shop for gifts. What seems like a great gift in the store, turns out to be a terrible idea when I take time to really think it through.
We’ve all felt regret over purchases at one time or another. Feeling rushed, emotional, or impulsive, we spend more than we should on things we may even end up not liking. Don’t let it happen again! Here are 6 ways to prevent that sick feeling of buyer’s remorse.
1. Establish a “Wait Time” Rule
I have learned through our no-spend months that it is not only possible, but practical to give yourself time to think about purchases before you make them. Many people have a 30-day rule for major purchases or purchases above a certain price limit. After waiting to make a purchase, you might decide you don’t need it after all, find a work-around, or spot a better price. Setting a time limit, even if it’s just to “sleep on it,” will prevent those impulse purchases that often lead to buyers remorse.
2. Save For It and Pay Cash
If you’re used to buying on credit or buying things you haven’t budgeted for, this one’s for you! Saving for what you’ve got your eye on, then paying cash, will make your purchases more intentional. It’s a lot harder to give up cash than it is to swipe a card. Plus, you’ll be much more careful with money you’ve saved, which means fewer regrets.
3. Do Your Research
Buying on a whim without doing research often leaves us unhappy with the outcome. Not only will research stretch out the time between the want and the purchase, but research will help you make the best choice. Comparing prices, reading reviews, and knowing the specifics about items you want to buy will help you choose the item at the price that’s right for your budget.
4. Keep Emotions at Bay
We all know what happens when we grocery shop hungry. Food isn’t the only emotional purchase. If you’re tired, grumpy, or upset, don’t go shopping. Our emotions can easily take over our better judgement. Retail therapy will only leave you with regrets that lead to more negative emotions. If you’re tired, you won’t think through your purchases. Go shopping when you’re in a good mood and be intentional about your purchases.
5. Know the return policy and don’t be afraid to use it.
When I know that I can return something easily, I have fewer regrets. I can show my husband, try it on with other things from my closet, even sleep on it (the decision, that is) before making the final call. Be sure to know the restrictions on returns and be sure to return items on time. If you have a bad habit of forgetting to actually return things, this isn’t an option for you!
6. Follow the Resale Rule
When there is no return policy (garage sales, second hand stores, etc) I like to be fairly certain that I can resell the item for at least what I paid for it, though usually I sell things for more. As long as I know that I can resell something, I figure I’ve got nothing to lose. You know yourself best though; if you know you won’t actually get around to selling an unwanted item, then you can’t rely on this method to prevent buyers remorse.
How about You?
- What kind of purchases do you most often regret?
- What do you do to prevent buyer’s remorse?
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