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Money Management

Remember the Pre-Purchase Cooldown

Take the time to consider whether you really need that thing.

Halloween is over and November has begun, and that means, among other things, that we’re on the cusp of the holiday shopping season. Now, we all like getting stuff. I know I love getting stuff, and am planning on getting some stuff for the house in the very near future, preferably around Black Friday. But there’s a very particular risk to window shopping, more so when you’re shopping online on sites like Amazon. When you see something you really, really want, you want to throw caution to the wind and buy it right away, right? That’s why Amazon has the “buy with one click” button. But if you start throwing money at every little impulse purchase that tickles your fancy, you won’t have any cash left for the stuff you really want or need.

It’s because of this risk that I always employ the cooldown method. When I’m window shopping and see something random thing I really want, I never buy it right away, even if I really, really want to. Instead, I leave it bookmarked and give myself a couple of days to cool down. That split second of adrenaline at seeing a thing you want can cloud your judgement, so you need to take the time to cool down and really consider whether or not that thing is worth spending money on.

Try to consider a few factors first. Is this thing something you’ll get lasting use out of? Are you gonna get bored with it in a week? Is it something practical, or just a tchotchke for the shelf? Most importantly, would your purchase of this thing endanger your ability to buy important things like groceries or pay your bills? If you consider all the factors and still come up positive, then you can make your purchase. Otherwise, just leave it be.

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