It’s not a ton of money, but it is pretty big sum to regret having wasted.
I had been searching for a rug. I knew in my mind what I wanted, but everything I was seeing was outside my budget at that time.
It was errand day so I ran over to our local home improvement store to pick up a small item. The store set up required me to walk through the area rug department and my eye caught that dangerous yellow sign. You know the one, yellow background with large black lettering for the word “CLEARANCE” (fun fact yellow catches our eye more than any other color).
With a startling quick motion, I head straight for the sign. Well, I’m sure you can guess what happened next. I spot a rug 75% off. It was not what I had in mind, but it was 75% off. Helloo, 75% off.
I bought the rug and you guessed it, not only was I never happy with it because it was not really what I wanted, it was pretty bad quality for the original price. I was actually thankful (sort of) that it did not last long.
As I look back on this purchase I am really amazed at how much I learned from this mistake and a few others like it, on how to avoid shopping regret. I hope these tips can help you to avoid buying things only to later regret the purchase.
So here you go, my eight lessons learned to avoid shopping regret.
1. Give it Time
Patience has never been my strong suit and that combined with giving into our “I want it now” culture are the two biggest contributing factors to purchases I have regretted.
On the flip side, when I have taken my time before a purchase I don’t end up with shopping regret.
When you are out and see something you want, don’t purchase it then and there. Take a few days, or even better, a week to think about the purchase. By doing this you will find that if it was something you really didn’t need, the enthusiasm for the purchase wears off. You end up deciding that you no longer really want the item and avoid shopping regret.
If you find out that you really do want the item, then you can always go back and buy it at that time.
2. Only Shop Sales with Intent
You find out your favorite store is having a blowout sale. Of course, you make a plan to attend hoping they will have great bargains on something you can really use. As you get to the store you’re so excited to find many things marked down between 50 and 75%.
You head over to the towels because yours are looking worn out. Darn, they sold out of the ones you were hoping for. They do however, they have the cheaper ones in stock and even though the color really isn’t what you wanted, you go ahead and grab four.
You continue making a few more impulse purchases all at great bargains.
Once you’re home, you quickly realize the color of the towels are even more off than you thought. Immediately you are disappointed and regret making the purchase.
When you go to a sale hoping they will have something you can use at a bargain, you are setting yourself up for shopping regret.
Sales are designed to make us buy. Any major retailer has conducted massive research on the most effective way to get you to spend. Their research is indeed effective.
Sales are tempting, we all like a deal, but the only way to cut down on shopping regret is to go to a sale knowing what you are looking for. You have to make a list and stick to it.
One of the things I like to do is keep a wish list of things I want to purchase. If a sale comes up on an item on my wish list, I’ve already done my research and know it is something I really want or need.
By shopping from this list, you will be far less likely to regret your purchase. A wish list stops impulse buying and avoids shopping regret.
3.Quality Over Quantity
Instead of purchasing several inferior items, it’s so much better to purchase one high-quality item. Higher quality items last longer and you won’t have to worry about replacing the item as frequently.
To make sure that you are purchasing a quality item look at reviews of the item. Ideally, it is best to check reviews from a few different sources. Reading the reviews should help you determine whether the item is in fact a quality item worth purchasing.
By purchasing high-quality items you will avoid shopping regret.
4. Plan Your Purchase.
A big mistake we often make is to decide we need something and then just run out and purchase it. To avoid shopping regret, it is so much better to make a plan for your purchase.
I like to give myself at least three weeks before making a big purchase. This allows me time to compare other perspective purchases to the purchase I want to make.
By comparing products in this way, one of three things happens. You forgo the purchase, realizing there is something you want more. Sometimes you’ll realize the planned purchase is not the best purchase. The third alternative is, you make the purchase and are happy with it, knowing that it really was the best purchase.
Each of these alternatives ensures you won’t regret your purchase.
5. Don’t Purchase for Your Future Self
Be honest here, how many times have you made a plan to start a new hobby or exercise routine. You go out and spend money purchasing the supplies you are going to need. It then turns out that you never consistently pursued the hobby or exercise routine that you made the purchase for.
If this is the case, you did little more than regret that purchase.
Start the new activity and make do with what you have at first. As you go along you can buy things as you actually need them. Even then, make sure to consider how long after the new adventure you will continue to use the item.
If it is not something you will use regularly, avoid shopping regret and skip the purchase.
6. How Painful Will It Be to Get Rid of
After spending so much time, decluttering and getting rid of unnecessary items, the last thing I want to do is bring something into my home that I’m just going to end up getting rid.
I have learned the importance of asking these questions before a purchase:
Is this an item that would it be hard to part with?
Would this be hard to sell or donate?
How bad would I feel having to throw it out?
The answer to these questions can reveal whether the purchase would be one I would regret or not. If the item would be no big deal to get rid of or throw out, is it really worth buying?
7. How Hard Is It to Store
At this point, if you have no place to store or keep an item don’t purchase it. The quickest way to have clutter take over is owning a bunch of stuff that you have no proper place to store.
Avoid shopping regret by avoiding the purchase.
8. Have a Set Budget
If you’ve never set up a budget before, you really need to. In as much as budget sounds restrictive, it is so much more freeing. A preset budget allows you to know exactly what you can spend. It also is one of the best ways and to help you avoid shopping regret.
When you have a specific dollar amount, you are able to spend each month, in specific categories, you will be much more picky with your purchases.
You don’t have to give up purchasing things you enjoy. All you need is a little preplanning. Ask yourself these specific questions before going shopping so you can avoid shopping regret.
This will free your money up to be used for things that will truly add to your life. Soon you will be using all that extra money to enjoy many more experiences instead of a house full of useless stuff.
Now live simply, live fully and make each day your Favorite day!