Have you ever bought something only to feel the pangs of regret a few days later? You were experiencing buyer’s remorse, a feeling of regret or guilt after making a purchase. People think that buyer’s remorse only happens with expensive items like a home or car purchase, but any purchase carries the potential for regret. Here are some ways you can prevent it from happening to you.
Don’t buy on impulse. Unplanned purchases have the biggest risk of buyer’s remorse, but you’re less likely to experience these feelings if you take a day or two to think before making a purchase, especially a big purchase.
Weigh the pros and cons of the decision. Thinking through the reasons you should and should not make a purchase can prevent you from regretting the decision later. By the time you finally decide to make the purchase, you’ve already rationalized the downsides and accepted that the benefits outweigh the cost.
Evaluate less expensive alternatives. If you can find a lower-cost option, not only can you avoid regret, you also feel a sense of accomplishment by saving money. You might ultimately decide against the alternatives, but you’ve at least weighed your options and made an informed decision to go with the higher-priced product.
Consider the opportunity cost. Sometimes buyer’s remorse isn’t about the purchase you made, but the purchases you could have made if you hadn’t already spent the money. Before you buy, consider whether there’s something else you’d rather spend your money on.
Put it on a credit card with the most benefits. If you use a credit card for your purchase, pick the one with the best perks. Rewards give you a little something extra for your purchase. Perks like refund guarantee, purchase and price protection, or extended warranty may come in handy if you later regret your purchase.
Don’t buy the first model of a new product. Unless you’re an early adopter who likes to try new products, it’s probably better to wait until the second or third version of the product. That way, the manufacturers have a chance to work out the product kinks and you get a more reliable version of the product.
Read the reviews. It’s easier than ever to read reviews on products. Type the product name + review in a search engine and read through the good and bad reviews to get an idea of what other consumers think about the product.
Check your budget, savings, or credit limit before buying. Make sure you can afford the purchase before you proceed. Don’t empty your savings or emergency fund for a purchase – you’ll regret it if an emergency does crop up.
Buy for the right reasons. Make your purchase only because you want to and can see how it will benefit you, not because there’s a great offer, everyone else is buying, a salesperson pressured you, or you’re afraid of missing out.
Know your return options. You may not be able to avoid buyer’s remorse, but you at least want the option to return the product if you don’t like it – assuming it’s not a consumable product. Give more consideration to the purchases that are more difficult to take back.
If you’re not sure you should make a purchase, walk away, at least for now. Give yourself time to think through the decision and compare products. Wait until you feel good about the purchase before you make the buying commitment.