What Gives You Buyer’s Remorse?

by Miranda Marquit · 5 comments

Many of us experience buyer’s remorse over some of the things we buy, and I am no exception. Even though I try hard to maintain my spending priorities, sometimes I buy something that I don’t really care for — or I agree to something that I’m not really sure about. The truth of the matter is that whenever you spend money, there is the potential for buyer’s remorse, and it often doesn’t matter how much you spent. Buyer’s remorse is mainly about what you spend money on.

What You Buy vs. How Much You Spend

I’ve mentioned in the past that I am someone who values experiences over things. As a result, I rarely feel bad about spending money on experiences that I enjoy. I might have buyer’s remorse over $20 spent on a small knick-knack, but not feel a twinge of regret about spending $100 on a sushi lunch with my relatives. The experience of eating out, and enjoying the company of the people closest to me, is worth it. However, the $20 knick-knack is only a thing. I might like looking at it, but eventually it will be packed away in a box, or I will get tired of looking at it. Often, I look at the knick-knack and consider that it is the same cost as a lunch at my favorite restaurant, or admission to the planetarium for my son and me.

Buyer’s remorse revolves around what you consider worthwhile in the long run. If you spend money on something that doesn’t fit with your spending priorities, your personal style, or with your idea of what is important long-term, then you are more likely to experience buyer’s remorse. Even if you spend more on something you truly enjoy, you might not have buyer’s remorse.

Spending More than You Have

Of course, even something you enjoy can become a burden if you bought it with money you don’t actually have. When you look at all of your debt, and consider how you ended up in that position, buyer’s remorse often sets in. Is it worth it to pay all that interest, no matter how much you like something?

Another way that buyer’s remorse can sneak up on you has to do with what’s left over. In many cases, you might spend the money on something fun and frivolous, but then run into an emergency the next week. If you don’t have an emergency fund, you might regret spending the money on something that was extra — especially now that you don’t have the money to pay for something that might be more important.

Planning to Avoid Buyer’s Remorse

One of the best ways to avoid buyer’s remorse is to engage in some sort of planning with your finances. Make sure that your big, important money goals, like saving for retirement and building up an emergency fund, are funded. Realize that sometimes you have to delay gratification, and save up for something you want. You may even find that part of the enjoyment is the anticipation. When you take the time to plan for your expenses, and when you do research to ensure you are getting the best deal, it can really help you to avoid feeling buyer’s remorse.

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  • Tricia says:

    Clothes are where I feel the most regret. I work at a clothing store in the mall, so I have plenty of time to convince myself that I shirt is worth it. Then I get it home, and start wondering if it’s really worth it. Sometimes I feel regret while I’m paying for it, but hate the back and forth I go through.

  • Wayne says:

    I recently spent $156.00 on a ticket to see Paul McCartney at Yankee Stadium. It was a truly amazing experience and I felt was more than worth the money. No regret since I knew I would enjoy the show. I cut back on eating out and will watch movies via Netflix instead of going to the theater to make up for it.

  • Tracy says:

    I get buyer’s remorse when I buy a necessity item on the cheap, and it turns out to to work very poorly or it falls apart quickly. Here I am trying to save money and I end up spending more in the end because I have to go out and replace the needed item. I have learned that often it is better to pay a little bit more to make sure you get a quality item rather than regret it later.

  • MoneyPerk says:

    Entertainment is one thing I consider to be a wasteful investment. It’s not even an investment, but you get my point. I have a hard time not buying video games though. For one PS3 game, it cost $60 and for the amount of time they can keep me entertained is well worth the money. Going to the movie theatres can cost you $10 for roughly hour and a half of entertainment; where as a video game can give me months if not years of enjoyment.

  • indio says:

    I prefer to spend on experiences also, but I don’t consider a meal to be an experience. In fact, eating out is one area where I have a lot of remorse. I know I could cook that same meal at home for 1/4 the cost, it would be organic and therefore healthier than what I could get at a restaurant. An “experience” to me is an action, class, event that can’t be easily repeated at home at a lower cost.
    I have remorse when I buy an item and then find it going on sale shortly afterwards. Sometimes the store will give me the discount, but oftentimes, it won’t.

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