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?

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FT is the founder and editor of Million Dollar Journey (est. 2006). Through various financial strategies outlined on this site, he grew his net worth from $200,000 in 2006 to $1,000,000 by 2014. You can read more about him here.
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Alan Hammond
12 years ago

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.

Lily
12 years ago

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.

Ms Save Money
12 years ago

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.

Father of Five
12 years ago

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,

vilkri
12 years ago

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.

Craig
12 years ago

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.

Sampson
12 years ago

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? ;)

Studenomics
12 years ago

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.

CanadianFinance
12 years ago

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!

Ray
12 years ago

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.