Updated: Aug 30
We are amidst the most challenging moments of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the world with just a blink of an eye.
If you're one of those who suddenly lost a job because of a company furlough you are now most likely tightening your belt. This may not be the case for those who have enough savings or have a second source of income. But if you belong to the former group, this article may serve you well.
My Personal Story on Impulse Buying
Last year, 2019, our family together with my parents who visited us from the Philippines went to an amazing water park/ resort in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. We stayed there for a couple of days. We had a lot of fun, especially our kids.
The rooms are very cozy and clean. They have both indoor and outdoor pools. There's a lot of awesomeness in that place. It has an arcade room, a 4D action cinema, an awesome kids activities center, a spa, zipline adventures, a golf course, and many more.
However, on our second day we were hooked up to get into a deal which we now totally regret. What was it? It's availing their club membership.
On our second day, we received a phone call from the office offering us a free meal in their restaurant. We were also given certain amount in the form of a gift card which we could use to spend within the resort/ water park. In exchange for that, we must attend a sales presentation with one of their agents on our 3rd day before we'd go home. We bit on the marketing bait.
You know how how salespersons work right? Many of them only talk about the good stuff and try to avoid saying words which could scare the prospective client away. Mr. G (not real name), the resort's agent who met us on our 3rd day seemed like a nice guy. He laughed with our jokes, and appeared very accommodating. We didn't feel pressured as he talked us over the benefits of availing a club membership.
Out of an impulse we signed up for the club membership. We got lured into the wonderful benefits club members could enjoy.
We forgot to consider other stuff prior to making that decision. Worse, we didn't dedicate time to think about it and re-read the contract within 30 days after signing it.
I remember Mr. G saying that he wouldn't even want to discuss about the issue of terminating the contract, as he went over to discuss the papers. The way he said it, we were carried away not to ask about their cancellation policies.
I know that's our fault right? Ignorance isn't an excuse.
To make the long story short, that particular resort in Wisconsin does not allow any cancellation after 30 days from signing the contract. I have read forums from the world wide web and found that there are many others who wanted to get out of that club membership.
Unfortunately, many did not succeed and they ended up paying for the whole amount of contract price even if they were not able to use it to a maximum extent, or for any other reason they realized it's not something they want to do on a long term basis.
My only point here is to share our experiences regarding impulse buying. I want you to learn from our mistakes.
The resort's amenities are wonderful. It's just that some things could come along the way-- unexpected personal circumstances. And individuals or families who signed up for that club membership become tied up on something which could result as a burden.
The following are the lessons I learnt regarding impulse buying.
Give yourself at least a minimum of 24 hours before purchasing something that costs a significant amount of money. The longer period of considering the purchase, the better.
When purchasing any type of club membership or time share, ask about their cancellation policies. Don't let an agent lure you away from that topic. If you do, you could end up so disappointed at yourself in the future.
Related Post: How to Forgive Yourself and Move On (#8 Makes Wonders)
Ask yourself, "Is it a need or a want?" If it's a want, you may want to take longer time to think about it. Just as the great Warren Buffet once said,
“If you buy things you do not need, soon you will have to sell things you need.”
Never fully trust a sales agent. Do your due diligence to research for the products or services they offer. It does not matter if that sales agent is your father, mother, sister, son/ daughter, best friend, or an ex-lover. You are fully held accountable for every action you take.
Be an expert money manager for yourself.
As soon as you receive your paycheck, remove a portion for your savings. Do this habitually and you'll find yourself financially above the rest.
After that, pay your debts and other monthly obligations.
The last portion can be spent for your wants. Do not forget to consider the amount you'd spend monthly for this. If buying something you desire means using a credit card (or any form of debt), ask yourself:
Will I be able to consistently set aside this X amount of money to pay for my balance?
Do I have a fixed amount of income?
Is my job stable?
Is this my number 1 (top) want or is there something else I would rather buy?
Asking yourself these questions can help you not to pile up your credit card with so many unnecessary purchases-- those from your wants/ desires.
Many people are successful in setting aside savings, paying their monthly debts, BUT are ineffective in controlling their impulse buying. This behavior can eventually outdo your effective personal money management strategies leading to a stockpile of bad debts.
Learn to recognize when excitement, euphoria or impulsivity is dominating your emotions. Impulse buying is when you have the sudden urge to make an unplanned purchase right away.
By becoming self-aware, you can limit personal impulsivity to control your buying behaviors.
The next time a seller approaches and makes you feel so excited about it, take one step backwards and give your self ample time to think.
It wouldn't hurt the seller's feelings if you'd say "Please give me some time to think about it." If after thorough considerations and you realized it's not something you need or really want, learn how to say no.
Try to foresee the possible negative consequences relative to purchasing on an impulse.
Never underestimate planning for the future, or at least forecasting. You personal circumstances can change with just a blink of an eye. Therefore, before purchasing things you don't really need, consider the worst scenarios that could happen in the future and ask yourself how these can impact today's decisions.
Don't let anybody take control of your purchasing decisions especially with expensive products or services that would take you years to pay.
Paying thousands of dollars or worse hundreds of thousand dollars can be chicken feed for some. But for the majority of us, it could eventually drain our wallet if mismanaged.
Be aware how your culture can influence your impulse buying behaviors. Some people may belong to a culture where their decisions are partly or largely controlled by others, more likely by a relative or kin.
This may not be healthy especially if the influencer has his/her own personal motives to satisfy.
Beware of getting controlled by social media or other forms of advertising strategies you see everyday.
Not all you see, read or hear is true. There are so many fraudulent things in our world. Be vigilant to determine what's authentic or valuable and not.
Always keep in mind your basic needs. This can be very helpful as you often go for a grocery or online shopping.
It is practical to keep a list of what you or your family needs for several days or a week and stick on buying only those. Don't be afraid to experience using generic brands that offer at least the same quality. It'll save you a lot of money from year to year.
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