Holiday Sales – Don’t Impulse Buy

There is a difference between a “want” and a “need”. It is also important to factor in an emotional decision and a logical decision. The “want” is the emotional decision and the “need” is the logical one. On my personal end, I do my best to keep both of these feelings separate when it comes to financial decisions, but I can sometimes fail at that.

Two weeks ago, as I was driving to my friend’s house, I saw a 1966 Ford Mustang 289 3 Speed Stick parked on a field with a “For Sale” sign. My mind just went crazy. I have loved the classic Mustangs for as long as I can remember. As a child, I would watch Steve McQueen movies on repeat because I could never get enough of that mustang. I parked my car next to the lawn, took a photo of the sign and cell phone number, and jumped right back into my car. My heart was beating thousands of miles per minute thinking that I had found gold. I called the number and expressed my interest in purchasing the car in a voicemail.

However, a week passed by and I did not get a call back. Bit by bit, I was beginning to lose interest in the car as I had not heard back from the owner. Several days have passed since and I look back at that moment, thinking about the emotional decision that took place on that day. Now that those emotions have subsided, I can clearly weigh in certain factors that I was not able to consider in at that moment. For starters, I am still paying off the loan on my current car. On top of that, the Mustang has a manual transmission, which is a skill I have not yet acquired. And last but not least, I don’t have a garage to park the car in. I never got to find out the price of the mustang, but considering the beautiful condition it was in- I more than likely would not have been able to afford it.

Now we have the holiday season coming up. We have “Black Friday”, “Cyber Monday” right after, and the regular “Christmas/Holiday Discount” sales. Winter is coming (for you Game of Thrones fans) for our wallets. We will face many moments between “wants” and “needs”, many times where we’ll see those “On Sale” signs and get excited that we are getting a bargain. But remember, we can still lose money or go broke on these “sales” when a personal purchase was never really planned in the first place.

For instance, if you planned to purchase a laptop for $500 and it is now at $300, great! You saved $200 from a planned purchase. The problem arises if you see an advertisement for a $300 laptop and randomly you decide that you want it. In this case, you didn’t save $300; but actually lost $300. So what do I do to avoid these temptations? I put my wants/needs on my Amazon wish list. I let it sit there for days, weeks, and months. This helps me decide if I am making an impulse buy (want) or a logical buy (need).

Tips to avoid impulse buys:

  • Ask yourself if you need the purchase: Do you already have this purchase? Does this purchase perform the same or better? Is this a long term or short term purchase?
  • Check your finances: Is this purchase within your budget? Does this purchase take a hit?
  • Save a purchase in a wishlist: See if you still want this purchase the same way you wanted it the next day, week, or month. For example, (there are some people who do this) if a purchase is worth 10 dollars, wait ten days.

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