How a List Controls My Impulse Purchases
Posted by Cait | Filed under Cait
It seems like there’s a lot of talk in the blogosphere lately about all the things we “want” to buy. I know I keep an ongoing list of items I’d like to purchase, but most of them are things I already own and need to eventually replace. The big ticket item, which I’ve mentioned a few times before, is my 12-year-old bed; that one’s on the back burner until I bring in some extra freelance income later this summer. There are smaller items on the list though, such as a new wallet, purse and running shoes.
The wallet has been at the top of my list for months. Mine – which broke just a few months after I got it 4+ years ago – got to the point where cards were falling out, because I could barely zip it up anymore. Have you ever tried to finish up a transaction, only to be stuck at the cash register because you can’t open or close your wallet!? You feel the heat of death glares radiate on your back, as everyone behind you seems to be late to the Oscars, and the wallet in your hands is making the seconds tick by slower.
It’s frustrating, to say the least.
Over the past few months, I’ve visited some of my favourite websites and walked through stores, in search of something new I actually like, and I kept coming up empty – until this week. One company, who makes this wallet I love but usually only in colours I don’t like, finally made a wallet I like in black. It zips around three sides, has lots of card holders and a change purse in the middle; basically, it ticked every box on my new wallet checklist. And it was only $30.
I found it online, but went into the store that night to check it out. (Plus, who’s going to pay for shipping, when it’s less than 2km away?) It was one of the first things I saw when I walked in, so I picked one up, tested the zippers and examined the pockets - it seemed to be good. But for whatever reason, I still wasn’t sold. Even though this exact item was at the top of my planned spending list, I wasn’t sure I should hand over $30 + tax for it, because I kept going back to one question:
Do I really need this?
I held it in my hands and walked around the store for a good 10 minutes, before I finally went up to the till and bought it. Of course, there’s been no looking back, as it’s safely held all my cards and coins ever since. But I’m still surprised at how many times I asked myself that question, before finally deciding to make the purchase. (Note: It was at least 6 times.)
The old me wouldn’t have thought twice about buying that wallet. I would’ve seen it, loved it, and bought that plus a couple other items (that I didn’t need) in the store. With my planned spending list, however, I’m that much more conscious of each item I purchase. Not only does the price need to be right, but it needs to meet a strict criteria, which is something my impulses never knew before. And, because I’ve already waited for a while, I’m ok with continuing to wait until I find the right item.
I do plan on buying new running shoes and a new purse this summer (before the strap finally snaps), and I imagine the shopping process will be similar for both items. It’s not the “fun” shopping trips I used to go on all those years ago, and it can take time to find the right thing, but my budget and bank accounts will thank me – one item at a time.
Do you keep a list of things you want to buy, or do you still go to malls without one?