Buyer’s Remorse and Forgotten Things

Open up your closet door, dig past the first things you see, and
look at ten things you happen to find in the back (or everything,
if you want). Out of those ten things, how many of them fill you
with buyer’s remorse? How many of them had you completely
forgotten?

Look at the last ten purchases on your Amazon account (or all of
them, if you want). How many of them fill you with buyer’s
remorse? How many of them had you completely forgotten?

Find an old grocery store or department store receipt. How many
items on that receipt fill you with buyer’s remorse? How many of
them had you completely forgotten?

Look at your credit card statement. Take a look at the first ten
items on the list (or every item, if you want). How many of those
items fill you with buyer’s remorse? How many of them had you
completely forgotten?

Here’s the truth: no one is perfect at this
test.
I’m certainly not. Whenever I dig into my closet
or look at my Amazon history, I usually find items I’ve forgotten
or have buyer’s remorse about. Why on earth did I buy this?

I find that examining things like this can be painful, but it
can be really insightful as to the actual quality of my buying
decisions. Frankly, they’re not perfect. Frankly, I can do a lot
better.

At the same time, it’s far better than it was before
we started our financial turnaround and actually even significantly
better than it was a few years ago in the midst of our
turnaround.

There are a lot of reasons for that shift.

For starters, I do this type of self-examination
regularly.
I want to feel that buyer’s remorse. I want
to see the items I’ve forgotten about or wish I’d never spent
money on. I genuinely want to feel like I’ve screwed up my
finances.

Why? For me, such feelings are a strong reminder that
I’m nowhere near financially perfect, and those feelings are
rocket fuel for me to continue to improve.
That sense that
I can still muck things up so badly isn’t disheartening, but
rather it is motivation to further hone my purchasing habits.

This type of review of my purchases usually points me
directly toward where I’m making mistakes.
I can usually
point directly to a few specific causes that cover a lot of the
mistakes that I observe, and that gives me something specific to
work on in order to improve my spending habits going forward.

For example, I might notice when I examine my credit card
statement that I made four or five stops in the last month at a
coffee shop. I like to keep such visits at one or possibly two per
month. Why did that happen? Am I unsatisfied with my current home
coffee making? What can I change to get this back down where I want
to be?

I might notice that I made a few forgotten visits to a
convenience store. When did they happen? Why? What did I buy? I
might need to work on my routine of never getting in the car
without a water bottle and always keeping a few snack bars in the
glove box.

Maybe I noticed that I overstepped my hobby budget one month.
Did I forget to keep track of that? Furthermore, am I really making
sensible hobby-related purchases?

The sense of forgotten expenses and the sense of buyer’s
remorse leads me directly into asking these kinds of questions, and
asking these kinds of questions leads me directly into adjusting my
own behavior. There’s clearly a reason why I’m choosing
in the heat of the moment to make these choices. What is that
reason and how can I fix it to continue to have a great enjoyable
life in the short term while still building the future I want in
the long term?

I might recognize, for example, that part of the reason I stop
at the coffee shop is that I have fallen out of a routine of taking
coffee with me when I do a morning work session
at the library
. I genuinely do love my own home-brew coffee,
but on mornings when I’m headed to the library and I don’t
happen to have coffee with me, I want some, and stopping for a
decent cup of coffee means $5 down the tubes (while the
as-good-or-better homemade coffee costs me about $0.60). The
solution I’ve found is to simply start a new 32 ounce batch of
cold brew coffee each morning by transferring yesterday’s batch
to my larger pitcher or, if the pitcher is full, pouring myself a
cup directly from the cold brew coffee maker, and only not making a
batch if there is coffee actually in the maker because the pitcher
is full. That’s the new routine I’m working to establish, so
that I always have the kind of coffee I like ready to go (which is
black cold brew coffee).

My convenience store stops were usually doe to being thirsty,
and that’s due to a change in the seasons. I’m more active
outside in the spring, summer, and fall than I am in the winter,
and that means that I’m much more often away from home doing
something active, like wandering around at Ledges or
going geocaching or something like that. I’m usually thirsty when
I’m done and if I finish my water bottle on the way home, I’m
very prone to stopping for a beverage. What can I do to stop that?
The easy trick is to just fill up my water bottle at a water
fountain before I leave a park, which I need to try to adopt as a
habit. That simple move would keep me away from most spring,
summer, and fall convenience store stops.

What about things I find in the closet? I probably
don’t need to buy things like that again for a while.
If
I’m finding forgotten and barely-worn clothes, I don’t need to
buy clothes again for a long while. If I find hobby-related
objects, I don’t need to be spending money on those hobbies for a
long while. You get the idea.

What about things I find on my grocery store receipt?
It’s a sure sign that I need to be shopping with a
grocery list.
Almost always, my grocery store receipts
have a lot of unplanned purchases that are quickly forgotten if I
don’t have a list, and the receipts have very few such purchases
if I’m using a grocery list. I simply make a grocery list before
I go to the store and this won’t happen.

What about things on my Amazon account? Unwanted
purchases there are a sure sign that I need to visit Amazon less
often and make purchases less convenient.
I need to delete
some bookmarks, but I also need to wipe my credit card info from my
Amazon account so that purchases are much slower, thus giving me
the opportunity to think more carefully about them before I
actually click the “buy” button.

The issue, of course, is that poor choices like this are
often forgotten or are tinged with mild regret, and it’s only
through looking back through one’s spending history that they
come to the surface so that you can really figure out what’s
going on and build a better life, both now and going
forward.

I encourage you to do a few of those buyer’s remorse checks
mentioned at the start of this article. Here they are again, so you
don’t have to scroll back up:

Open up your closet door, dig past the first things you see, and
look at ten things you happen to find in the back (or everything,
if you want). Out of those ten things, how many of them fill you
with buyer’s remorse? How many of them had you completely
forgotten?

Look at the last ten purchases on your Amazon account (or all of
them, if you want). How many of them fill you with buyer’s
remorse? How many of them had you completely forgotten?

Find an old grocery store or department store receipt. How many
items on that receipt fill you with buyer’s remorse? How many of
them had you completely forgotten?

Look at your credit card statement. Take a look at the first ten
items on the list (or every item, if you want). How many of those
items fill you with buyer’s remorse? How many of them had you
completely forgotten?

What do you find when you do those tests? How can you change
things so that the forgotten purchases vanish (as they deserve to)?
How can you change things so that you’re no longer feeling
buyer’s remorse? The better your answers to those questions, the
closer you get to a perfect balance of meaningful spending and
financial planning.

Good luck!

The post
Buyer’s Remorse and Forgotten Things
appeared first on
The Simple
Dollar
.

Source: FS – All-News2-Economy
Buyer’s Remorse and Forgotten Things