Geek Chic

Tools for Life: The Three Strikes of Shopping

Who hasn’t had buyer’s remorse these days? From finding the same item elsewhere significantly cheaper to realizing the shirt you bought really isn’t you, there’s always at least one item you’ve purchased that you end up regretting the next day. For some of us, that feeling begins to sink in the second you leave the store. As an impulse shopper, this feeling is one I know all too well. I have developed a rule to shopping that has prevented myself and several others from purchasing something they didn’t want and/or need. While I haven’t necessarily coined a term yet for it, the rule is simple to follow: if you doubt it three times, put it back and move on. Some things just are not meant to be.

Online Shopping… Kinda. The internet is within your reach at all times, so use it already! A great way to avoid purchase mistakes is to try window shopping online. The key is to make wishlists and compare prices. You might even find a better product than the one you were originally shopping for! These tactics are universal, from dental insurance plans to shopping for bold clothing. If your weakness is clothing and accessories, like myself, then utilizing the cart within the online stores can also help you figure out the end costs after taxes (not the case for everyone). Just be sure not to press the confirm button and accidentally make a purchase.

Go for the Goal. When you go into the stores, go in with a base game plan. Know what you want and make a beeline for it. This is where the online window shopping really comes in handy. You can print your list and have it handy with you. A few people I know bring a specific amount of money to help avoid unwanted purchases. This trick really only works with bringing cash with you; this means that you have to leave the cards at home. You can’t spend what you don’t have, right? If you don’t trust yourself alone, opt to bring a friend to be the voice of reason for you.

Doubt Three, Not for Me. Regardless if you’re filling your cart online or in-store, you should be confident in your purchase. These days, every penny counts. Doubts are a great way to learn when it’s time to step back and really think things through unbiasedly. What if it’s a purchase you can’t return? Ask yourself, is it really worth it? If your knee-jerk reaction is to say no, then you should because it isn’t.

If you’re trying to buy something that you think you might be able to find somewhere else, but it’s the last item at the store you’re currently at, check with a sales representative on what the store’s return policy is. If you’re really trying to pinch pennies, also keep in mind the cost of returning the item whether it might need to be shipped or driven back to a store. One dollar in cash savings shouldn’t also include $10 in gas spent driving all over town.

Wanna see more tips for smart savings? Let me know!