Stop spending money tips: test drive these simple spending filters to kill buyers remorse at the source. You'll be surprised how much your spending habits change. |

Buyers remorse – what an icky feeling! Here's how to kill 95% of it at the source.

People who cannot find their living room floors, homes that have morphed into storage containers, and desks piled high with 5 years’ worth of “gonna do’s” all could benefit from one thing: decision filters.

And guess what? The rest of us could benefit from them as well.

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Decision filters are amazing gatekeepers for what you allow to come in and out of your life. Normally people employ these when the situation has grown dire, and stuff is already burying the litter box (with the most extreme examples coming from the show Hoarders).

But we don’t want you on the “what needs to come out of your life” side of things. Instead, we want to stop both buyer’s remorse as well as clutter in its tracks by focusing on filters at the point of purchase.

Here are the spending filters that need to become part of your strategy for how to save money.

Spending Filters

What if instead of agonizing over whether or not you should purchase something, you employed a decision filter – a simple question that filters out anything coming into your life that does not reflect your values, money mindset, or that will not add to your future happiness?

Well, you might just save some money. And some sanity. Heck, you’ll probably make fewer returns, as well as cut down on the amount of unnecessary things coming into your life. So let’s get to it!

To make this happen, you need to come up with a question or questions to ask yourself each time you want to make a purchase.

Don’t worry – I’m not asking you to talk to the melons at the grocery store, or get all philosophical about purchasing a stick of deodorant.

We’re talking about a question that you can use each time you feel the need to make an impulse buy, or each time you are buying something moderately+ priced.

Examples of Spending Filters

So what are some filters that you could adopt as your own?

Here are a few examples to get you started:

  • Martha Beck, Oprah Magazine Columnist, Asks: “Do I really NEED it?” If her answer is “Yes”, she asks, “Do I really LOVE it”? You could switch the order of these around as well.
  • Denise Duffield-Thomas, Author of Get Rich, Lucky B*tch Asks: Is this coming on the journey with me? This type of question really forces you to see the item for what it is and what it is not because you are thinking of your future self and who you wish to become.
  • Elizabeth Gilbert, famed author of Eat, Pray, Love, Asks: “Does this object fill me with a sense of light and possibility?”
  • Develop or Tweak Your Spending Barometer: You could base your spending filter on an amount that you want to stay under. If you know you buy too many things, then come up with a low number. Each time a product is over that number, a mental cue will alert you that you need to really think through your purchase.
  • Measure its’ Cost against a Goal or Dream of Yours: Ask yourself, “is this item worth not putting the amount I’m about to spend on it into my fill-in-the-blank with your sexy savings goal account?”

The filter that you choose does not matter, so long as it speaks to you.

What About that other 5% of Buyer’s Remorse?

Well, stuff happens.

Like products that don’t deliver on their promises, dropping a brand new iPad onto a cement patio and smashing the screen (that never happened to us…), etc.

Instead of the 5% of buyer’s remorse you can’t stop, focus on the 95% that you can.

8 replies
  1. Will
    Will says:

    My favorite thing to do is always buy below retail. That way, if I have remorse, I can actually sell it on for a profit.

  2. Free to Pursue
    Free to Pursue says:

    Nice post. So much of what we buy is a want and not a need.

    I use the “measure its cost against a goal or a dream” on a regular basis. The less I buy, the more assured I am to be able to remain in FIRE status in perpetuity. It’s a huge motivator.

  3. Kathy
    Kathy says:

    I use the “I’d rather” filter in making purchases. Whatever it is that I’m thinking of getting, I turn to my “I’d rather” list to decide if I truly want to make the purchase. Maybe I’d rather have a Coach purse instead of a Target brand. Or maybe I’d rather save for our vacation instead of buying a couple of new outfits. Whatever is on my I’d rather” list takes priority so I don’t feel deprived because I’m going to end up getting whatever I want.

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