How many times have you ever bought an item only to wake up the next morning and suddenly have that feeling of remorse for the transaction? Odds are, if you’re a person over the age of 12, that’s happened to you at some point.
What if you’ve had this experience multiple times in your life and it just seems to happen over and over again? If that’s you, you’re not alone. Sometimes things just seem to “happen” and we end up spending a lot of money on something only to regret it later on.
Fortunately, there is a way we can fight against this situation.
If you struggle with this issue, consider taking some of the following action steps. Write down the following information when you get that feeling:
- The date.
- The item you purchased.
- The amount you spent.
- Where you bought it.
- Were you alone or with someone else/others? (Some people spend more when they’re with other people. Some people spend more when they’re alone).
- Was the item on sale?
- Was it a planned purchase, or an impulse buy?
- Did you use cash, debit, or credit?
- What kind of day were you having? (Some people spend when they’re having a bad day to make themselves feel better. Some people spend when they’re having a good day to celebrate. And some people spend when they’re bored.)
What does all of this do for you? It helps you to identify certain triggers that may contribute to those purchases you later regret.
If you do this for one circumstance, and can identify most or all of the things mentioned above, think back to other situations where you’ve felt buyer’s remorse. Were those situations similar in any way?
Were you by yourself, or in a group?
Were you in a good or bad mood?
Was the type of item similar to this most recent experience?
As you run down the times this has happened, the ones you can remember at least, you may see a pattern or two. Take note of any common threads in these situations.
In the future, when you’re out and about and find yourself considering making a purchase, think about if any of those factors line up. If so, take a moment and really think about if that item is really necessary. If it is, it should be in your budget. If it’s not, place it back on the shelf (or step out of the driver’s seat, whatever it may be).
A little proactivity can go a long way to prevent future buyer’s remorse. As Benjamin Franklin astutely observed, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” In the world of personal finance, that rings especially true.
Focus on your financial goals and avoid the pitfalls of impulse purchases and retail therapy. You can do this!
H/T Kelsa Dickey at Fiscal Fitness Phoenix