March 30, 2013

Slow Down And Buy Less

Making rash purchasing decisions can lead the hare over
a financial cliff.

Are you a tortoise or a hare when it comes to buying things?

I have never understood the rush for bunnies buying things. Why all this frenzied, panicked, and often unnecessary purchasing that frequently leads to feelings of guilt and regret afterwards?

Better to slow down to the speed of the tortoise and think carefully about what we are buying, and why we are buying it. With a cautious approach, time can be on your side when it comes to buying anything.

People with something to sell you will also try to use time, or the artificially imposed lack of it, to their advantage. Why?

Research shows that we are willing to spend more money when we are overpowered by emotions. Any of the following appeals will be familiar to anyone who has ever seen an advertisement:
  • "Only one left."
  • "[Product] is going fast."
  • "Hurry."
  • "Limited time offer."
  • "Time is running out."
Whoa, there! I refuse to be hurried while making any purchasing decision. It is impossible to think clearly when you are flooded with fear, anxiety or panic.

Slow Down - Ask These Questions Before Buying

Any time I identify something I think I need, I wait. During this opportunity to think more clearly I ask a few key questions:
  1. Do I really need this? No, really. Most prospective purchases stop at this first stage.
  2. If I need it, do I need it right now? Perhaps waiting will be advantageous.
  3. Can I borrow, rent, or trade rather than purchase? You need the hole, not the drill.
  4. Does it make sense to buy used? You pay more for new and often it does not matter.
  5. Have I found the best deal? Often you can find things for free!  Check out Craigslist, Kijiji, etc.
  6. Can I afford it? If I don't have cash, I do not buy until I do. Credit is a killer.
  7. Can the planet afford it? Every one of our purchases has unintentional consequences that have effects on the environment and on the people around us.
If you think that I have managed to take all the fun out of buying anything, you are right. But that is a good thing in my opinion. Buying stuff should be based on a rational definition of need rather than on its entertainment value, or a sense of panic.

It may take the tortoise a long while to do the research required to make an informed, non-emotional purchase, but in the end, the slow moving, thoughtful purchaser will not be plunging over any fiscal cliffs.
Don't be fooled by the pulse-elevating slogans that are designed to create panicked and unnecessary purchases.

Slow down, think more, and buy less. At the same time you will save money, reduce clutter, and shrink your eco-footprint. And you will be as chill as the long-lived, low-stress tortoise.


  1. Hi there - found you through Clamco.

    Guess I should stay away from the online auction sites too! (JK)

    All good tips ~

    1. Tami, They are good people over at Clamco. Glad you found us through them.

      Some people like to use online auction sites as a way to save money. I do hear, though, that it can be addictive.


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