Ever walked past a shop, seen a bargain in a catalogue, found the deal of a lifetime on eBay and thought ‘I have to buy it!’? The fact of the matter is that there are so many purchases we make that are not premeditated in the slightest.
Marketers know this only too well and exploit it as much as possible. Think about your typical trip to the store where you have just 3 items on the list. You are made of steel if you can make it past the half price chocolate and the buy one get one free soft drinks.
With smaller items it perhaps doesn’t matter too much and won’t exactly break the bank. Larger items however, can have a devastating effect on your budget and long term financial goals. Sometimes we get eBay alerts or an email from an online store and are tempted by the option of purchasing a bargain just in case it disappears forever.
Let’s face it, we get a rush of endorphins when we buy. It makes us feel good. But how do we control ourselves?
I have a solution. Introduce a ‘Buyer’s Lag’ into each sizeable purchase.
A Buyer’s Lag is a time that you decide upon before you make a purchase that involves a prescribed amount of money.
An example of this might be to write down that that you would not make a purchase greater than $50 without writing in a diary and waiting a fortnight. Yes, you might lose the deal. Yes, a fortnight is also a long time, but by being disciplined you will save money and only make purchases that you really need.
You may even like to introduce an accountability partner that you have to call to discuss your prospective purchases with. Hayley and I are quite serious about budgeting and know to run our purchases by each other. The Buyer’s Lag adds in another layer of protection and gives you time to think carefully about whether you truly need the item that you desire.