Monday, September 12, 2016

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?"

Photo credit: http://fami.com.ph/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/needwant.jpg
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?"

Photo credit: http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/y2ldv5eufb3jcrtfouye.jpg
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?"

Photo credit: https://qzprod.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/china-impulse-buying.jpeg
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. 

18 comments:

  1. I try to stop myself from buying it when I first want it and wait 24 hours. If I still want it then, I think about things like this!

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  2. These are such important questions! I really like the one about how often you'll use something. I think that's so important to take into consideration when making a purchase.

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  3. I'm fortunate to have always had a good handle on want vs. need, which means that I'd paid off my second mortgage at 40 and never paid a cent in credit card debt. Even now that I'm debt free my spending habits haven't really changed.

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  4. LOL Love this post! So accurate and helpful!

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  5. It really is easy to be tempted by impulse with so many messages coming at us all the time! What we need and what we want, are often very different indeed. If you realize that marketers are playing to our 'wants' and our emotions, it makes it easier to stop and assess if what we are wanting…is actually something we are needing. Thanks for sharing the reminder with us all. In a world where many of us have more than we need, it makes sense to stop before we buy.

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  6. I am guilty of purchasing things on a whim and then regretting it if not immediately then soon after. I've been working on getting better about it lately and your first two questions are ones that I ask myself. I find that if I "justify" something as a need (i.e. I "need" it to review for my site) I usually weed it out at the next question of "Will I use it after I review it".

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  7. I struggle with this daily. Just because you have the money to go out to eat everyday, should you do it? I wonder if I'm just a hyper-consumer that needs a reality check. Thanks so much for this post, it was a much needed wakeup call.

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  8. I try to always ask myself do I need this or do I just want it? I think it really helps you evaulate things better. So many of us are quick to just buy.

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  9. I have become so good at not impulse buying, that my husband will now say just get it. I like to research most things before I buy them.

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  10. It's definitely a good idea to think before making purchases on a whim. Those sales and clearance deals are certainly hard to resist. It's why many of us have too much stuff lying around the house and not having them put to much use. - Tee

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  11. Of your three questions, I only ask myself the first one, is it a “need” or “want.” But I like the “how often will I use it in the next 30 days.” That’s a good one, especially for kids. I also wait at least a week or more before I make small purchases. And for larger ones, I wait at least 30 days.

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  12. This is so good to remember! I often want to impulse buy but I need to slow down. We took a Dave Ramsey money saving course years ago that changed our lives but I feel like all these years down the road we might need a refresher - this was a great reminder, thank you!

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  13. We have to take that into consideration specially when buying bug items. Need and want are far away from each other. WE might want but does not mean we need =)

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  14. These are great tips that I am teaching my daughter when she wants something. She has recently started getting money every month for the things she wants. When she looks at her "wants" with these questions, it is amazing how much less she suddenly has to buy.

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  15. These are such great questions to ask! I am currently working on my spending and these are great ideas to add to my arsenal whenever I am out shopping!

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  16. I used to buy things on sale (even if I didn't need them) thinking of the money I saved in the process when in reality, it was still money spent and lost.

    I believe I'm wiser now and I try to purchase local as much as possible.

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  17. I'm pretty good about asking myself these questions before making a purchase, but it is a whole different story when it comes to purchasing things for my kids! Now, if I were to ask "How many times will they use this in the next 30 days?", they wouldn't have near what they have now. Which would be a good thing! :)

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  18. I've gotten a lot better about my shopping needs and wants. These are all tips that I can still benefit from when I find myself leaning towards just wanting to buy something I don't really need. Not easy but these tips definitely help.

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Feel free to share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you too.