Secrets to Shopping without Buyer’s Remorse

Have you ever gone shopping, either for something you needed, or just for fun, and realized that you’ve paid and come home with a lot of stuff you didn’t need or really even want – stuff that you wouldn’t have missed if it wasn’t there? I can’t say I’m innocent of this, though it doesn’t happen to me often. Here are my secrets for shopping without buyer’s remorse.

My mother, growing up, always told my sister and me that when it came to purchasing something, whether we were purchasing it ourselves or she was purchasing it for us, there was one rule: Either you loved it, or you needed it, or both. 

What does that mean? It means that when contemplating purchasing something, ask yourself, “Do I love this? Do I need this?” If the answer is yes to one or both of these questions, move forward and put down your hard-earned money. If not, don’t buy something that you’ll never wear or use that will just gather dust and eventually get put in a trash bag to take to Goodwill. It’s a waste of your money. 

Let’s break that advice down. Needing something does not mean “really really really wanting” it. Needing something means it will significantly improve your life and quality of living. You need food, shelter, clothing. You even need fun! If your favorite band is in town and you can spring for a ticket, do it! If you haven’t been to an amusement park since you were thirteen, go!

Loving something doesn’t mean loving it now, or ironically. It can be something that makes you laugh, but hilarity isn’t always love. By loving something, I mean that the item in question should be something that, were you to leave the store without it, you would be sad. Loving and needing something is the ultimate win!

The second secret is this: it is better to spend on experiences, rather than things. Let’s say, for example, that you were in Paris. Now, you could either buy an item from a boutique, or you could take a tour of a museum, gallery, or landmark (Being a DC girl myself, I’m horrified at the notion that to enter such places, there must be payment.). While you may love and/or need the item, if the choice is between the two, pick the one that will ultimately bring you more joy. Experiences and the memory of them tend to bring us more joy in the long run than physical things, though this is not always the case (Like if your dad buys you a necklace in Florence, reminding you of the trip every time you wear it.). 

The next secret is the best way to determine if you actually want something. This is not a need, but a want. If you’re on the fence, perhaps because of the price or any other reason, hold that item in your hand and walk around the store looking at other things for a few minutes. There are a few possible outcomes to this. The first is that you forget about the thing, look down at it, and fully fall in love with it. The second is that you forget about it, and when you look at it again you’re underwhelmed. The third is that the thing is always on your mind, whether in a positive or a negative way.

The last secret is something that saves me money every single time I shop. Especially when shopping with friends (Five Below is our usual vice), I know I for one can get swept up in the fun of it all and end up with twelve five-dollar items in my cart. The secret is, while I’m in line, I take stock of everything in my basket. If I’m eh about something, it goes. If I’m excited about it, it stays. Very quickly twelve things becomes six, and I save thirty dollars with just a minute of thinking and consideration. 

These are my secrets for shopping, especially for fun, that prevent buyer’s remorse. This way, you save money, and don’t have to go through the hassle of getting rid of something that you never loved or needed. You don’t have to return it, or donate it, or sell it. Happy hunting!

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