Personal Finance, Shopping 

How to Overcome Buyer’s Remorse

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buyers remorseChances are that at some point you have made a purchase that you regret. You spent money on something, and later came to realize that you didn’t actually want it. Now, you’re stuck with something you don’t want, and you’re out the money you paid on top of it.

“Buyer’s remorse is a complicated topic, and one that comes up in my practice with people who struggle with anxiety and impulsivity,” says Alicia Clark, a licensed clinical psychologist. Even if you aren’t terribly impulsive, you can still occasionally feel the pangs of buyer’s remorse.

So, you can you get over your buyer’s remorse and avoid it in the future? Clark has a few ideas:

Don’t Avoid It

“If you have buyer’s remorse, don’t avoid it,” Clark suggests. Instead, you should dig into the problems besetting you. “If your buyer’s remorse is tied to financial worries, face those fears.”

It’s important to acknowledge your feelings, and try to pinpoint them. Then, you will have an idea of the steps you need to take in order to move forward.

Pay Attention to Triggers

“Impulsive purchases account for most buyer’s remorse,” says Clark. This means that you need to take some of the impulsivity out of your shopping experience.

One way to do this is to pay attention to the triggers that encourage you to make unplanned purchases. Many consumers make impulse purchases when they feel unhappy, tired, or vulnerable. “All of these emotional states track with poor impulse control,” says Clark.

When you recognize your triggers, you can avoid shopping when you feel a certain way.

Consider Your Purchases

Rather than just buying something immediately, stop and think about what you’re doing. “Consider your purchase carefully and in advance, and resist the emotional pull to impulse-buy,” says Clark.

She also suggests changing your focus and re-training yourself so that budgeting and self-control feel good, rather than using the act of buying things to feel (temporary) happiness. “Impulse buying and its cycle of remorse can feel a lot like an addiction,” Clark says. You need to replace that cycle with a new cycle. Instead, create a spending plan or budget to direct your purchases in a conscientious manner.

“Staying on a budget feels fantastic!” Clark points out. “Buying something you can afford will feel fantastic, too!” When you shift your mindset to focus on the positive aspects of planned purchases, you are more likely to succeed. Once you stop the impulse buying, you are more likely to avoid buyer’s remorse, since your purchases are carefully thought out.

Get Help

Finally, recognize that you might need help if you have a shopping addiction. Clark recommends that you seek a support system of loved ones who can encourage you, and who want try to tempt you into making further purchases. If that isn’t enough, it makes sense to get help from a professional.

“There is no shame in seeking professional help,” Clark says. Shopping addictions and impulse buying can be serious afflictions, and you should know there is help for you.”

(Photo: hobvias sudoneighm)

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4 Responses to “How to Overcome Buyer’s Remorse”

  1. Kelli_Moven says:

    This is so on point. I think the biggest one is facing the remorse. Figuring out exactly where you went wrong, why you spent what you did, etc. Hence the saying “if you can name it you can tame it.”

    Also being held accountable is helpful too. Apps with built in spending trackers, like Moven, act as almost a calorie count. For example, if you’re thinking about getting a donut with your coffee and your counting calories, you may decide not to if you know you have to plug it into your phone and see the immediate result of it.

    Great post!

  2. Karl says:

    Buy as little as you can and buy it used. Less money spent = less buyers remorse.

  3. I have buyers remorse, though thankfully less now than before (i.e. I got wiser about what I buy now).

    Years ago I spent way too much money on Rich Dad training programs and had buyers remorse. However, turning that around forced me to actually do something about our finances, and I did a real estate transaction for cash flow, and that started the ball rolling!

    I believe that every “bad” decision made has a very important lesson. Sometimes buyers remorse will kick start something other than knocking one’s head against the wall.

    Mahalo for a good write!


  4. adam carolla fan says:

    i was once watching you tube videos of people playing the piano/keyboard of cool songs and said hey that looks cool, i wanna try it. so i bought a new keyboard, tried it out, sucked at it, and then ended up selling the keyboard for a loss on craigslist. lesson learned?

    no…cause i went back on craigslist and bought another keyboard, tried playing it, sucked, didn’t practice, and now have a keyboard i dont want….again.

    buyer’s remorse…twice.

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