Thursday, August 1, 2013

Cheap trick: Avoiding Buyer's Remorse

One of my favorite features about Gilt is the wait-list option.

Sometimes I see things I think I need right now, right this minute, on Gilt. I am usually very good at buying only things I feel no need to return later, but Gilt has tripped me up a few times.

However, if an item is sold out, I add myself to the waiting list, and find that, surprisingly, 90% of the time when that item ends up becoming available, and I get the exciting email telling me so, I realize that I don't really want it after all.

The pressure of having an item possibly sell out creates a strong desire for me to buy it quickly before someone else snatches it up. But when I get the email from the wait-list, I don't feel that pressure, and often realize it was more an impulse or the time crunch than the item itself which made me want to spend my money. Many budget-conscience people will suggest waiting 24 hours before buying anything, and my experience with Gilt is a solid example of why I should listen to this advice.

Enter Poach It. Although it isn't actually designed to be a wait-list, I am loving using this service the same way I would the wait-list on Gilt. Poach It is free and works by alerting the member when an item goes on sale. This is a great service on its own, but lately, instead of buying anything online right away, I add it to my Poach It list instead. If it goes on sale, I get an email telling me so, so I have a delay to think more about whether I really want to spend that money. Often I find that I've forgotten the item entirely, so it's easy to disregard the item -- even the sale price -- and skip buying the item entirely.

I'm sure I would get the same result if I just forced myself to wait a few days before every purchase, but since I'm not great at that, I find that this makes it easier. And if I'm still dreaming about something a week or so after seeing it, with or without receiving a Poach It sale email, I feel much better about spending the money.

By forcing a delay, I'm not denying myself of something I really love, but I am stopping myself from buying things I don't feel quite as strongly about. And why buy things one doesn't need and doesn't absolutely love, anyway? Every purchase really should fit into one of these two categories, don't you agree?

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