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How to Shop Wisely for Products



As a rule of thumb, wait one day for every $100 the purchase costs to avoid impulse buys. Of course, that rule works less well with very expensive items, such as a house or automobile. But for most purchases, it works well.

We Americans generally aren't good at delayed gratification. But try to wait a day or more between wanting to make a purchase and actually making it. That delay gives you time to reflect on the needs versus wants issue I talked about earlier. Waiting helps mostly with optional purchases. But it also gives you time to reflect on a purchase you need but were thinking about upgrading, by buying a brand name or a product with more features.

I find that just the process of researching a product sometimes satisfies a buying impulse, or at least dampens it. Reading some negatives about the product, whether in professionally written reviews or user reviews, helps provide perspective that can also extinguish the buying desire.

Waiting allows that intense lust for acquiring something to subside. When you're clearheaded, you gain perspective about whether you really want it. Marketers know that time works against them. That's why high-pressure advertisements always tell you to "Buy now!" Infomercials entice you to buy, saying if you "buy now," you'll get bonus merchandise of some sort. It's why the car salesman says, "What do I have to do to get you in this new car today?"

There are very few purchasing opportunities that will disappear if you wait a day and reevaluate.

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From The 1-2-3 Money Plan Copyright © 2009, FT Press. Used by permission of FT Press, and Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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