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Tips & Tricks Tuesday: Cooling off before making big purchases

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 by Andrew Conkling

Many people set themselves their own rules for how and when to make big purchases, often including some time to decide on the purchase. In a different take on impulse shopping, this week's tip (shared by tomrush) incorporates an additional component of "cooling off" before deciding to make any purchase.

$100 Rule list

One of my specialities used to be impulse buying very expensive items and then find I never use them or never really needed them. A while back I read an article on Lifehacker that was around impulse purchases and how to reduce or stop them. One of the ideas was called the $100 rule.

Basically if you see a purchase you think you want you take the total cost of the item and divide it by $100, that gives you a cool off period in days (or in my case weeks). After the cool off period, you assess if you still want the purchase and if you can afford it. If the answer is yes to both the questions, you purchase it. If you want the purchase but can not afford it, you delay the purchase cool off period then reassess again. If you don't want the item, you have saved lots of money :)

In Remember The Milk I have created a list called "$100 Rule", whenever I see a item I really want I add it to the list and in due date add say "5 weeks" (for a $500 item).  I tag it either canAfford or CanNotAfford and coolOff. Once the 5 weeks is up I capture the task in a generic due search and assess the purchase. If I can afford the item and still want it, it gets tagged with buy which gets added to my weekly shopping list. If I can not afford it I defer it for 5 weeks again. If I don’t want the item I delete it.

Thanks for sharing this tip, tomrush! You're our Tips & Tricks Tuesday winner this week.

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Posted in: Tips & Tricks