How to Avoid Buyer’s Remorse

Jonny Hector

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We’ve all felt it: That sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach that hits when you arrive home, pull out the spendy sweater your just bought, realize you don’t want or need it, and see the “final sale” stamp on your receipt. Buyer’s remorse is a problem faced by many fashionable folks, and luckily it can be eradicated by making a few simple behavioral changes. Try these for starters.

Know your wardrobe

Have you ever reached into your closet to hang up your new gray blazer … only to realize you’ve got two, practically unworn gray blazers in there already? Frequent shoppers who enjoy the hunt are often unaware of their current wardrobe inventories, which can prompt duplicate purchases. Before you pull the trigger on a new item, make sure you don’t have something similar on-hand.

Knowing your wardrobe also helps foster feelings of abundance, which can curb shopping urges. Taking a quick inventory reminds you about all the fabulous clothes, shoes, and accessories you own right now, and may spark your remixing creativity.

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Know your finances

If you’ve got $10 billion in the bank, the purchase of a $300 pair of shoes is unlikely to inspire remorse. If you’ve got $1,000 dollars in the bank, those shoes have just eaten away 30% of your liquid assets. If you don’t balance your checkbook after each purchase, keep constant tabs on your balance through online banking. When you know how much you have, you know how much you can reasonably spend.

Using credit cards for emergencies only is a great policy that forces you to remain aware of your bank balance, bills, and available cash. If you’ve got a credit card that pays out rewards or frequent flier miles, do your best to charge only what you can afford each month and pay off your entire balance on the due date. If you can’t do that, make sure you know how much available credit you have, how much a new purchase will add to your monthly payment, and the interest you’ll pay in before bringing your balance back to zero.

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Shop with goals

Many, MANY regret-inducing purchases spring from aimless shopping trips. Roaming the mall to peruse the new arrivals may be fun, but if it also prompts you to buy six new, unplanned items it is also hazardous. If you love shopping and succumb easily to temptation, make sure you only shop with goals. Do you need to replace your black flats and track down a navy blue cardigan? Great. Pop online or hit the shops and focus on those items only. Buy items that you need, and limit buying items that you merely want.

H.A.L.T.

This is an acronym that was created within the addiction recovery community, but it is a really useful tool for avoiding unwise decisions in many circumstances. H.A.L.T. stands for “hungry, angry, lonely, tired,” and the idea is that you prevent yourself from making any important decisions when you’re feeling any of those four things. Buying a pair of shoes may not seem to qualify as an “important decision” on the surface, but since any spending impacts your budget and financial well-being, you can definitely fold in any fashion shopping-related choices. Don’t shop or spend when you’re hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. You don’t have a clear head, and won’t make informed choices.

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Check return policies

Honestly? The times when it’s advisable to buy a final sale item approach zero. And yes, that includes $5 tee shirts and $10 dresses because if you don’t wear them, they aren’t actually bargains. The best way to mitigate buyer’s remorse is to return the item and get a refund. When you remove that possibility, you up your chances of making a regret-inspiring purchase. 

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