Five Steps to Give You Power Over Purchase

by Joe Plemon on October 20, 2010

She may need to use Step One: Wait overnight before purchasing.

Have you ever made purchases you later regretted? Me too. I have written several posts about my Airstream purchase – one that I would have been better off avoiding.

Let’s say you have planned and dreamed and saved for that car or TV or leather couch. Good for you. But slow down a bit before you buy. These safeguards* will help that purchase be one you love today and not regret tomorrow:

1. Wait overnight before making the purchase.

You have already been waiting for weeks or possibly months. It won’t hurt to wait one more night. As you are doing so, ask yourself one more time, “Is the Ipad worth the money?” Why wait overnight? To make sure that your purchase is based on your buying criteria and not the emotion of the moment.

2. Carefully consider your buying motives.

I know. You have been thinking and dreaming about owning this item for some time. Great. But before you plop your money down, review your motives one more time. If you think that this purchase will make you happy or impress your friends, you have the wrong motive.

3. Don’t buy anything you don’t understand.

That new hybrid car or the latest computer might be exactly what you need; just make sure you understand what you are buying before you get it home. I wish I had understood what I was getting into before buying that Airstream. I thought I did, but it turned out to have many more problems than I thought.

4. Consider the “opportunity cost" of your money.

Opportunity cost simply means that the money you spend for this item is money that can’t be spent on something else. For example, if you purchase a $15,000 car, you can’t put that same $15,000 into a retirement investment. The car will be worthless in a few years while that investment, if it grows at an 8% annual rate, will be worth over $328,000 in thirty years. Something to think about.

5. Communicate with your spouse.

Even if the two of you have agreed to this purchase, you need to continue discussing it. Why? Because sometimes circumstances or priorities change. Be sure to voice any misgivings BEFORE parting with your money. Once the money is gone, it is too late.

I hope you will not only be able to make that purchase you have dreamed of, but also be able to look back later and be glad you made it. These tips will help.

Readers: what purchases have you made that you later regretted? If you knew then what you know now, what would you have done differently? Any other tips for getting power over purchase?

*The five tips came from Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University program. The comments are mine.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }