How many times have you purchased something just because it was on sale? Was there a time when something fancy caught your eye in the store window on your way home from work and you just happened to have received your paycheck?
I have been guilty of it many times in the past and most of the time I regretted my purchase. I guess with age comes reason and I have learned my lesson. Experience is indeed the best teacher.
For me to avoid buying on impulse, I ask myself three questions before putting an item in my cart. It works pretty well for me so I am sharing it with you.
"Do I NEED it or do I WANT it?"
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There is really a difference between "need" and "want." Simply put, a "need" is essential for survival. These are the basic necessities, such as food, shelter, and water. To stress the extreme, a "need," if not met, may cause an individual to die. In contrast, a "want" is something we desire, or a wish, which is not going to negatively affect our well being even if this "want" is not met. Simply put, "I want a new car," will not be detrimental to our survival if we don't get it.
In mommy language, we can say, "I need to buy bread," and this would mean just enough for the family's consumption. If you see a sale for bread and say, "I want to buy bread," even if you still have 7 loaves at home, you still go ahead and buy 7 more loaves just because they are on sale. Now that is definitely impulse buying.
"How often will I use it in the next 30 days?"
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This is the question I ask myself when I am tempted to purchase a new outfit, shoes, sneakers, or a quirky kitchen gadget. Just when I am ready to whip out some cash, or my debit card, I stop and think long and hard. Being a work at home professional, new clothes are not a necessity. It is just so tempting at times to purchase a new pair of jeans, which, come to think of it, may only be worn once in the next 30 days.
One time I was window shopping in the mall when I came across a good sized crowd watching a product demonstration of a vegetable chopper. It was amazing because it did not need electricity to use it. Simply pull a cord and the two sharp blades inside the container will spin and chop your veggies. Guess what. I bought one. And I regretted it because I came home realizing that my purchase was just a manual food processor. How many times did I use it? ONCE. I returned to using my trusted high powered food processor. Money down the drain. Lesson learned: Stay away from product demonstrations.
"If I buy it, will it change the world?"
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Funny but true. This is the question I ask myself when faced with a major purchase. A new refrigerator, or washer-dryer combo, or a new oven. Some appliances, even if they are still working good may not be using electricity effectively, so replacing them with the new ones will be beneficial in the long run, giving me savings in my electric bill.
However, when vanity strikes, this question repeats itself in my head over and over until it makes me turn my back and leave the store. A new phone? Maybe ditch my tablet and get a slimmer, newer model? Maybe those fancy hair irons?
My response to the question is a definite NO, it will not change the world if I give in to vanity. I may have the money to spend but still, NO.
If I would want to effect change in the world, I would rather buy products from companies that donate part of their sales to worthy causes. I would choose products that are environment friendly and those that do engage in animal testing.
It is so easy to be tempted to purchase on impulse. The huge discounts being offered for goods that are not really essential for our daily survival. It is only wise to be frugal with our hard earned money. Save for a rainy day. Save for your child's college education. Save for retirement. Save for that well-deserved vacation you've been planning for years.
Focus on your blessings. Your family, friends, food on the table, a roof over your head, and clothes on your back. More importantly, practice the these three virtues - Faith, Hope, and Love so you will be able to make the right choices and live a happy fulfilled life.