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Frugal Tip: Sleep on it



While writing about delaying gratification to save money,  it got me thinking about another saving strategy that we use on a day to day basis which helps on those instant gratification urges while shopping.

Frugal Tip: While shopping, before buying something over $100 (or whatever your budget allows), make sure to wait 24 hrs to think it over.  More often than not, after you sleep on it, you’ll discover that you don’t “need” the indulgence after all.

One of the largest budget busters is spontaneous buying.  It can happen to any of us while we are shopping and it’s what gives retailers their fat profit margins.  Ever wonder why the pharmacy is located in the back of the store?  Or why you have to walk through the entire store before getting to the sale rack?  Stores are designed to convert browsers into buyers.

You can set the limit to whatever your family would consider a “budget buster”, but for us, we would notice if we were to purchase a $100+ item without planning for it first.

Just the other day, we were at Costco and there was a gadget on sale that I justified that I would need.  However, since the item was over our $100 limit, I decided to think over the decision before purchasing.  Low and behold, the very next day the urge to buy the gadget dissipated and I realized that I probably wouldn’t use it that often anyways.

Do you use a similar strategy when making larger purchases?  If so, what is your limit before pulling back the reins?





23 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. I totally agree with this advice, and sometimes wait even longer like 2 or 3 days. It drives my wife absolutely crazy, and she refuses to see my reasoning sometimes, but I convince her (and myself), and after a few days we rarely still want the item. I’ve probably saved thousands just using this method alone.

  2. 2. paul s

    Gret topic.

    I never go to Costco. Spend too much money on items I didn’t intend to get. When I want groceries I go to a store that has groceries only. And I also have a snack before I go!

    Waiting 24 hours for big ticket items is a great ideas. The same could be said for a stock purchase or sale. Never be in a hurray.

  3. 3. Oliver D

    I do this indirectly. I very rarely make any large purchase (for the sake of argument let’s say over $100) without carefully researching the product. I want to ensure that I am buying a quality product for a reasonable price, so the temptation to buy something spontaneously is rarely there.

    I’ve broken my rule before – for example, the day I sold my stake in the company that I cofounded I treated myself to a PS3 and some games and accessories because I happened to be eating at a restaurant next to Futureshop. However, these purchases are few and far between.

  4. 4. Kevin

    100% Agree with this advice. Whenever I used buy items on impulse, I found I always had buyers remorse the day after the big purchase. Since applying this waiting period I’ve not only saved money but cut back on the remorse of wasting money on an unneeded expense.

    I agree with Paul to an extent. I try to stay away from grocery stores that sell car tires and clothing as well as food. Something just doesn’t sit right with that type of store concept.

  5. 5. Miranda

    This approach has saved me and my husband from many a wasteful purchase. Most of the time, our M.O. is to plan to save up for a large purchase that we want, and then if it goes on sale, we jump the gun. But at least it’s something we have thought about beforehand. We stopped shopping at Costco and WalMart for the same reason Paul did: too many impulse purchases. We did it on the little things, so it didn’t really register how much we were spending until much later.

  6. 6. Shayne Slinn

    We do things a little differently. When we want something we save for it in a different sort of way. For every extra five dollars we put against the mortgage we get a dollar for a want.

    We recently spent $2500 for a home theatre system (more than my first car, ridiculious) but that was only after prepaying the mortgage by $10250.

    When the mortgage is paid in a few years we will do the same only only invest then satisfy our wants.

  7. I think 24 hours is too short. For something thy isn’t a vital necessity and costs more than $100 I usually wait 30 days before making a decision.

  8. 8. Kathryn

    Great post! We do something similar. For every $100 we try and wait a day. If we want a $300 BBQ, we wait 3 days, a $600 dishwasher, 6 days, etc etc. It’s a simple way to keep us from making rash decisions.

  9. If by some magical twist every consumer could read this post, particularly the section about how retailers set up their stores in order to maximize their profit margins, lives would certainly be changed for the better.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for businesses making a buck, everyone needs to, but buyers need to be educated in “the way of the world.”

    Great post and keep changing lives!
    Alan

  10. 10. Mark

    Ironically, prior to becoming an avid reader of your posts, my wife & I would be the “buy & go” type of clients…

    Since then, my wife & I have discussed our purchases, planned our budget — putting a LOT of money in our savings — and I can say that it feels really good when you take the time to see if you really need it.
    We do however have a 100$ budgeted monthly for each of us for a “splurge” purchase…

    My wife was a little harder to convince but since then, she’s even tabled her 100$ over 4 months so that she could really splurge on a larger purchase!!

    Alan sure is right, if consumers were a little more aware…

    Continue the great posts!
    Mark

  11. 11. Dk

    I would add that in while you are in the “waiting” period it is a good idea to do a quick comparison shop online. I find it usually helps to write down the model number of the item you want and just plug it into google. More often thann not we manage to find the identical item at a cheaper price somewhere else. We also quickly check competitor’s websites, redflagdeals, amazon, ebay, and pricegrabber. And finally, if you do find it cheaper somewhere else, ask the original store if they will price match. Nowadays many stores match competitor’s prices and may even take off an additional 5 or 10 percent off the difference.

  12. 12. mjw2005

    Interesting post….for me what I used to do when I was a full-time employee (and this drove my wife nuts…)…was say “We should wait to buy it at our next paycheque”….(I would say this for things that I wanted as well)….my wife would agree and by the time our next paycheques rolled around 9 times out of 10 we would have forgotten about whatever it was that we wanted to buy….

    I also do not enjoy shopping at costco never found the value of buying jumbo quantities of stuff….

    Anyways interesting post….

  13. 13. KM

    Please stop sharing tips like these until after consumer spending starts to grow again and the economy starts to turn around.

    Just kidding.

    I also try to avoid impulse buys by convincing myself to go home and research the purchase a little more thoroughly. If I still “need” it, then I’ll go back to get it the next time i’m in the store but more often than not, I forget why I thought it was so important to in the first place.

  14. 14. Ray

    Delayed Gratification is a very hard thing to master, there have been several psychology studies showing those who can delay gratification are more successful in life than those who cant.

    I try not to go out shopping with anymore money than I know I will need, if I see something and dont have the cash I cant buy it. If i need it i will come back with more money, I guess it’s similar to what you are suggesting.

  15. Good tip, more people need to actually think before they part with their money.

    I agree with Oliver D. I don’t necessarily have a 24 hour rule, but I do hold off on the purchase to do some research. I subscribe to consumer reports and will often search online to make sure that it’s a good product at the best price. Of course at Costco, it normally is the best product at the best price!

  16. I must admit that when I get the urge to buy something I really can’t resist. Lucky for me I rarely ever go shopping but as soon as I step into a mall I can’t help but purchase something.

  17. 17. Sampson

    Interesting to hear the different strategies and honest opinions of sometimes avoiding shopping.

    My wife and I are both adamant frugalites (read ultra cheap-O’s). Sometimes it’ll take months for us to buy something – we always keep a tally of pricing in our head – always want to get the best deal (both in terms of $ and quality).

    We do go to Costco all the time – breakdown on occasion and buy a big bags of chips – Costco is a bit of a bane – since by the time we build up the courage to buy what we want, its long off the shelves.

    The bottom line is we get as much enjoyment out of saving money – than actually buying the goods.

    Sounds freakish doesn’t it? ;)

  18. 18. Craig

    That has affected me in the past. Sometimes I get a buying high and the excitement takes me away. Instead of waiting a little bit of time to pay less, I get crazy and spend more to have it right away. Stepping back and sleeping on has helped me on a recent decision with an iphone.

  19. 19. vilkri

    Very good tip. Living on a budget seems to be in vogue again. I am sure your readers welcome every tip that makes this task easier.

  20. 20. Father of Five

    I like the idea of thinking twice on large purchases. How about thinking twice on small purchases too? We kinda have a rule in our family that if it costs less than $20, then it is likely useless junk, or junk food. Can’t get clothes, gas or clothing for less than $20, but you can waste $20 pretty easy in a Tim Hortons,

  21. I try doing that too but my limit is $500. Anywhere lower than that – if it is an impulsive (must have item) buy it’s hard for me to stop myself under that amount. But what really helps is that I’m picky about the things I purchase so it’s not very often that I buy things on a whim.

  22. 22. Lily

    How about spending some time researching the product? Does it do what you want? Is it well made? Does this store have the best price? Is the price going down? When you know everything there is to know about it, then you are ready to make an informed decision. And while you are researching you can save up enough to pay for it in cash.

  23. I like Lily’s reasearch idea. I think that if we can force ourselves to wait until we at least begin research, we’ll often find something that tells us we don’t want or need to make the purchase.

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