Have you ever been out shopping, bought some expensive items and then when you arrive home regret buying them or think why the hell did I buy this? That ladies & gentlemen is buyer’s remorse and it happens a lot more than you might think.
Traditionally buyer’s remorse is associated with higher value purchases such as houses and cars as due to their higher value they put more pressure on the buyer, however it is not uncommon for the effects to be true for smaller purchases as well.
I believe it is fair to assume that we have all felt this at some point in our lives but how can we avoid it in the future?
Before we look into how we can prevent it, let’s look into some of the main causes of these types of purchases.
Reasons for buyer’s remorse
There are several factors that can help push a consumer to making bad decisions that will inevitably lead to buyer’s remorse.
Some of the most common are:
- Impatience: This is one of the biggest culprits. You see something that you want and rather than waiting until you can afford it, or until you have had a chance to find the best place to buy it you jump in and make a quick purchase. You later get home to find you could not afford it right now, or that it is much cheaper elsewhere.
- Decision fatigue: You have had to make a lot of decisions during the day and when it comes to shopping you start to get fatigue that can lead you to making quicker, less rational purchase decisions.
- Persuasive marketing: Stores know how to get you to part with your money, it is their sole focus. The whole layout of a shop is likely designed to make you spend the most amount of money possible. Big banners showing 50% of TODAY only and marketing that forces you to rush your decision to purchase or make you believe you want something that you don’t really need is a a big culprit.
- Forgetting your needs: When you are walking around a shop you can sometimes forget what it was you were actually shopping for and get distracted by other items that you simply do not need.
How can you prevent buyer’s remorse?
Prevention of buyer’s remorse is closely linked to having more control over your emotions when shopping and sticking to a clear plan/budget.
The old saying “Prevention is better than cure” could not ring more true than here.
Before you hit the shops, make sure you have a set list of everything you NEED to buy and a budget assigned to it.
When you enter the stores you need to remain focused on your list and more importantly your budget.
If you find the item you are looking for in the first store but it is above your budget then continue to shop around to make sure you can find it for the right/best price.
The worst thing you can do is buy the first one you find and then walk into the next store and find the same item at 10% less – that’s instant buyer’s remorse right there. Note down the prices and the stores with the best price as you evaluate then when you have checked all your options you can head back to the relevant stores to get the best prices.
With larger purchases such as cars and houses the best way to avoid buyer’s remorse is to ensure that you research them fully before making a commitment.
For cars think about whether you really need a new car, will the new car you are buying see you through the next 5-6 years? Are you buying it based on style or practicality?
Once you have thought through these points you should be better placed to decide if you should go ahead with the purchase.
When buying a house make sure you understand the value of other similar houses in the area, don’t overpay when you can wait for a better more affordable option, is the house in the area you want to live in for at least the next 5 years? Can you afford the mortgage without having to stretch your budget?
Buyer’s remorse is avoided by taking time to make decisions and ensure you have all the information you need to make a purchase before making the commitment so don’t be afraid to slow down and consider everything before parting with large chunks of your money.
I have always been good with money – I budget well, avoid making impulse purchases and attempt to adopt a frugal lifestyle as much as possible. I love to share my personal finance tips with you to help you achieve your financial freedom as well.