How To Make Purchases You Really Won’t Regret

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.


  • it’s a trap for younger people, when you get older, you realize that there are no cheap perfect items and things are not as important and you gain a sense of being realistic about purchases.
    Still, I sometimes buy the best graphics card or CPU but I regret less these days

  • I always research prices, reviews, upcoming tech, etc when it comes to replacing technology (laptops, tv, etc) but I still feel burnt.

    Latest one was an Asus G74SX I bought in August. Beastly laptop! But PLAGUED by technical problems (no numlock on release and keypad still doesn’t match what’s in the manual), audio issues, screen issues, USB3.0 problems, etc.

    I knew I should have got the MSI GT760 instead…

  • As Smith says: it is inevitable.
    I define my needs, and objectively look for the product that suits those needs best at the pricepoint I choose. No doubt there will be something better, cheaper at some point in the future. But if I choose well, that won’t alter the ability of the product I chose to satisfy my needs.

    Recently I updated my phone because I had misjudged my needs and how well they would be served – a mistake that cost me some $260. But, to be fair, my old phone was quite alright for the first year I had it. As my requirements changed, it just couldn’t keep up. On the other hand, the core components of my PC are 3 years old and it’s still perfectly adequate for my needs. I’d love a new machine but I can’t justify it ’till either this one dies or I finally work through my backlog of old games!

  • Subscribe to choice magazine and use their guides for major purchases like whitegoods. Their reviews are very thorough and they include a best-value recommendation.

  • This article works well with the other ones recently posted such as only buying something you KNOW you’ll wear out.

    I avoid buyers remorse by using another old trick and framing the cost otherwise. For example, if I buy a new phone before this one kicks the bucket, it’s going to cost me 5 weeks of groceries to get a new one. That puts me off enough to where I can keep using the old phone until it’s dead. And when I do buy a new one, it’s a necessity, not a desire, so I feel better about buying it.

  • Definitely agree with the article, and particularly with some of the comments made.

    I bought a Nikon D90, and although there are newer models coming out which have articulated displays, better noise reduction, etc. I don’t feel bad about buying my camera because I never would have been able to take the photos that I did if I had waited to purchase the newer cameras.

    The use that I get out of the stuff I buy generally outweighs the marginal increases in benefit that I could have gotten if I had waited for the new stuff.

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