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8 Ways to Prevent (or lessen the blow) of "Buyer's Remorse"

The number one answer I'm sure some of you are thinking right now: just don't buy it.


If it were only that easy, right?

I'm a very minimal person in that I don't purchase things often beyond necessity, holidays or birthdays. However, whether it's a perceived need or a want, I get hit with buyer's remorse often.

And during the holiday season when there is a sudden rush of sales, new trends, fun styles - I'm easily overtaken by the desire to buy what I think I should, confusing it with what I actually wanted, spending just a few minutes in the store isle to consider if it's actually worth it.

Some examples of how buyer's remorse can manifest itself are:

You don't feel confident in it.

It's not your true style of decor.

Just doesn't work

The kids only used it once.

It tasted bad / made you extremely bloated.

Not as fun as you thought it'd be.

Wasn't great to watch or listen to.

An overarching theme in the above is the experience was not what was anticipated.

We may also feel like we've invested time and finances into something that wasn't even worth it in the end. "What a waste" is a common anthem for me in moments like this.

You could say the solution is simply to lower expectations, but let's be honest: we like to have high expectations.

It's a thrill, and make's buying stuff that much more fun. It also feels like an extra affirmation that we're headed in the right direction - pumping us up before the purchase.

Over time I believe we can train our mindset to shift - to change how we perceive our wants and needs - it's not a sudden change, nor should we expect it to be.

That said, here are eight ways we can prevent the struggle that is buyer's remorse, and how we can confront the frustrations as they come:

1) Write your List, Create a Budget, & Strategize

This is such a crucial step in the process - which is why it's number 1 on the list (and honestly, where do you not see something similar to this step on any other guide out there?).

When we make a list before going to the store or opening up our computer to get some goods online, we set ourselves up for major success with getting what we need (and want) while staying within the safeguards we put up with our budget.

Budgets - the fun part. I would suggest looking first at what area of your life the purchase falls into (example: entertainment, food, personal care) and determine what that week or months' budget will be. If what you're looking into purchasing will stretch that original limit, be realistic and extend it to what is possible for what you can do.

What do I mean by strategize? Basically, look at all the different shops near you (or online) and compare pricing on the item(s) you're looking into. Also take into consideration if there are any weekly or seasonal deals and sales taking place. The holiday season is fast approaching and it can get harder to not purchase random stuff that's not already on your list. If you have a history of buying things on a whim because the marketing team is fantastic (and it's something you "didn't even know you needed") consider including an extra amount to your budget to spare some wiggle room for one or two things. That way, you prevent hating yourself a little less for not sticking to the plan.


Side note: check out some local thrift shops first if you're in need for some house items or clothing - you honestly never know what you'll find! Look for a thrift shop near you here.

2) Consider the Longevity of the "Want"

This doesn't apply to the list with sponges, laundry soap or groceries.

This is really for the purchase that fall more in the personal, entertainment or home improvement category.

Look at that beautiful list you put together and ask yourself how long you've thought about getting it. If it's been less then a week - and it's not for a special occasion - I suggest crossing it off the list and adding it to the next one if you still have the item on your mind.

3) The Reason(s)

I'm just going to come out and say it: is it for the 'gram? Is it to be trendy? To be accepted? I'd vote that if those are your founding reasons, don't buy it (or them, plural).

If all of that provided some influence, that's fine. I think the main factor here should be that you love it for you, or the person(s) it's for.

We shouldn't spend our money for the sake of getting approval from strangers.

Another major "uh-oh" is buying an item (or two, or three) just because it's on sale.

I am totally guilty of this - did I just buy a waffle maker for $7?


Did I need one?

Well, no.

I don't necessarily regret this purchase (because, hello, waffles), but my point is I bought it on a whim because of the price tag. 9/10 when that happens I hardly use the thing, or even like it after the high of the buy wears off.

You know what's better than buyer's high? Guilt free shopping.

4) Stick to the Plan

A follow up and emphasis to the previous point. You know the times when you go grocery shopping hungry so you buy 5 frozen pizzas, some candy, and a case of wine? Okay, well if those things weren't already on your list - you end up spending more than you planned and thus go against your personal goals.

Don't get me wrong - if you want to grab a candy bar for $1, do that! Maybe just don't spend $50 extra on things that will end up pushing your budget or making you feel gross.

Personally, I grab a kombucha and dark chocolate peanut butter cups whether or not I'm hungry. Woops.

5) Check the Return Policy

If you're buying the item brand new, it's best to assure you understand the return policy or if you would be eligible for a full refund.

This is especially important when you do some good ol' retail therapy after a hard week, splurge and spend more than you really should have based on your budget.

Even if it's something you've been wanting for awhile, it's good to be safe since you never know until you have it in your possession. And if it's a gift for someone else, be sure to get a gift receipt in case they have a reason to return the item(s).

6) Call a Friend

Still feel indecisive about your potential purchase? Phone a trusted friend, send a few photos, fill them in on the what, when, where and why.

If ever I'm stuck with whether or not I should go one way or another, there's always one person who can ask the right questions and stabilize my view long enough to help me determine what I really need or want. Sometimes that means not buying anything at all (at least for the time being).

7) Gift it

When all else fails, give the purchase to someone else. I know this option might seem tacky or "cheap" to some - but if it's something you bought brand new, don't like it, can't return it, and you know someone who would actually find use for it and love it - pass it on!

There's no reason to hoard it in your closet or collect dust in the garage when it can bring joy to someone else.

8) Take it and Leave it

You knew it was coming, right?

Apply grace in the moments you kick yourself down for buying something you "didn't need" or "wasted time with".

It happened, it's done.

Yes, we should take our spending more seriously as our finances don't magically grow out of thin air.

And odds are you worked hard to get the money you've earned to spend, you may have just spent it on the wrong thing this time around.

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