Money

How To Make Purchases You Really Won't Regret

It’s happened to all of us: Not long after you buy something important, along comes a newer, better version or you start second-guessing your purchase. Although buyer’s remorse is common (especially with ever-evolving tech stuff), there’s no reason to be laden with the guilt trip. Here’s how to minimise buyer’s remorse.

Photo remixed from an original by Supri Suharjoto/Shutterstock.

Planning ahead is the best prevention for that unpleasant post-purchase regret.

Avoid impulse buys; sleep on big purchases. “Limited time offers”, like one-day deals and other marketing tactics can trip you up. For things that aren’t “now or never” purchases that you would regret passing up on, make a rule to wait a week before pulling the trigger on substantial purchases (say, anything over $50 or whatever your spending comfort level is). Add a reminder in your calendar for a week from now, and if you still want that TV or laptop, go for it.

Research all major products thoroughly. Part of that research should be taking a look at your needs and comparing the desired item’s features against your needs — right now and for the lifespan of the product. For example, when buying a laptop, you might make a list of the essential features you require (14-inch screen, under 2kg, SSD, etc).

Only buy what you can actually afford. This is the most common-sense tactic, but too many people regret purchases when the credit card bill arrives. A survey of homeowners who had buyer’s remorse found that 22 per cent of them were unhappy because they couldn’t afford the monthly mortgage. So be sure to consider your budget — create a spending plan that’ll help you avoid buyer’s regret.

Finally, realise that buyer’s remorse is inevitable, but if you did your due diligence, in all likelihood, what you bought still meets your needs and you paid the best price you could at the time. Remind yourself that you did your research, and take another look at how the product matched what you were looking for.

As an example, not long after the much-hyped Droid Bionic came out, Motorola announced the Razr, “World’s Thinnest Smartphone”. Some of the Droid Razr’s new features, while attractive, probably don’t warrant returning the Droid Bionic if you bought it, or lamenting its purchase: Do you really need Kevlar coating? How much of a difference will those few millimetres of thickness make?

Rest assured, there will be newer, better products to drool over and consider buying when you’re done enjoying what you bought now.

Got any tips for avoiding or minimising buyer’s remorse? Let’s hear them in the comments.