MAKING CENTS: Buyer beware of the scourge of that splurge

BUYER’S remorse is defined as “the feeling of disappointment somebody has after they have bought something when they think they have made a mistake”, writes Grainne McGuinness.

Whether it’s because we worry we’ve made the wrong choice, were ripped off by the retailer or just plain overspent — we’ve probably all experienced that sinking feeling when we look through our receipts.

An occasional qualm can be shrugged off and notched up to experience, but if you regularly feel guilt over purchases there are steps you can take to reclaim control of your spending.

Set an impulse limit, an amount above which you cannot go unless it’s a planned, researched purchase. The amount could be €20 or €100, depending on your budget — set an amount that allows for little treats but doesn’t let you blow a hole in your finances.

If you see something you love above that limit, you have to go away and properly justify it to yourself before you can buy it.

Will it make a difference to your life or just make you feel better at this moment? The aim is to cut out the latter.

If you know in your heart of hearts you tend to extravagance, consider choosing a sounding board who you discuss above-limit purchases with. Whether it’s your spouse or partner, your mum or a thrifty pal, choose someone you know won’t encourage you to spend beyond your means.

Don’t ask a total miser, just someone who will cast a cool eye over the purchase and give a reasonable opinion.

Don’t be pressured into a purchase. Whether it’s a pushy salesperson trying to close a deal or an expiring special offer, we all know the gut-twisting sensation of being pushed into a purchase we’re really not sure about. Take any feelings of stress or pressure as a sign to walk away.

MAKING CENTS: Buyer beware of the scourge of that splurge

If it’s a good deal you can always come back, but get some distance so you can think it over with a clear head. Don’t worry about missing an opportunity, if it’s not the same deal or better when you return, chances are it will be back on special offer soon. It’s the retailer’s job to make you feel you have to act fast to nab a bargain, don’t be bullied into parting with your cash.

Know your own weak spots. Many of us, particularly if we are paid monthly, have a tendency to splurge around pay day.

Rewarding ourselves for our work is what wages are for, but all the pleasure is gone if you find yourself regretting the purchases when you’re scrabbling money together later on in the month.

MOVE away from a shopping spree as your pay day treat, is there some other luxury you enjoy that doesn’t leave you subsisting on baked beans for two weeks out of every four?

For others, impulse shopping has an emotional base — we buy to cheer ourselves up or to celebrate good news. If this rings true for you then, like the payday shopper, it’s time to come up with some other ways to acknowledge good and bad days.

A run or swim, meeting a friend, or a lie-in and a netflix binge might sound worthy and boring, but they won’t leave you totting up receipts in a cold sweat.

Save for the big treats rather than reach for the credit card. If you need a new TV or laptop, put a bit aside each week until you can pay cash rather than purchase on credit. Buyer’s remorse frequently hits when we realise we are going to pay an extortionate interest rate because there’s no way the credit card bill can be paid.

If you save you get the pleasure of your new toy and the smugness of knowing it’s already paid for.

Check returns policies. If desire is overriding all other concerns, at least check how easily you can go back if you decide later you don’t need or want it.

Most high-street retailers have generous returns policies, steer clear of those that don’t. You should take particular care when shopping online.

Check not just if they will take back an item, but who pays for the postage.

DEAL OF THE WEEK

If you have any plans to travel to Britain this year take a look to see if you can save on travel costs with Irish Ferries.

MAKING CENTS: Buyer beware of the scourge of that splurge

They are currently having a sale on all routes to Britain when you bring your car, with 25% off.

The offer is open for sailings up until December 18 so even if your planned trip is months away it might be worth booking now.

This is particularly true for families — travelling with a car and all the baggage you want can be an easier and lower-cost option than air travel.

Irish Ferries sail from Dublin to Holyhead and from Rosslare to Pembroke.

Travel on any day is included in the offer, but there are some restrictions around sailings at certain times of day and during the peak summer months.

The sale ends at midnight on Thursday April 14, so if you are interested, get booking at www.irishferries.com.


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