Beat Impulse Purchases

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 22, 2008
Updated • Dec 28, 2012

Impulse purchases are those "see-grab-buy" purchases without really thinking hard about the purchase before making it. It's a phenomenon especially in the electronic world with a trend that many want to have a device or software on launch day. Say video game systems, mp3 player and even computer games.

Companies can even further curb interest and the impulse to buy an item by limiting initial supply of an item, or offering limited editions of an item, a computer game for instance, to get people to buy these items sooner as they fear that making a purchase later on might be too late to buy the item at all due to limited supplies.

I'm sometimes hard pressed to stop myself from buying a device after reading about it on the Internet. I came up with a system that is beating impulse buying fair and square and it will definitely save you some money.

It's actually a pretty easy system. If I see or read about something that I want I think about it for a second. Do I really need the device right now? The answer would be yes in the case of a crashed hard drive but no for a gamin system or computer game unless it is a one in a lifetime opportunity to acquire the item.

If I come to the conclusion that I do not need the item right now I put it on a 90-days list that I maintain. I add the date, the name of the product, price and other information to that list. I check back then after 90-days to see if I still feel the need to buy that product then. If I do, I may buy it right away, or extend the 90-days period a second time. Let me give you an example where this worked perfectly.

You might remember that I wanted to buy a SSD (Solid State Drives) for my new computer. SSDs were expensive and rare at that time and most could not really live up to the promise. I put that SSD drive on my 90 days list and ordered one just a few days ago because I still wanted one. Those 90 days however saw some great product releases of reliable and fast SSD drives and I was able to grab one of the fastest for a third of the price that I would have paid back then. As I said, it works pretty well and more often than not it saves you money.

Ladies, this works extremely well for non-tech related products like shoes, perfumes, clothes or books.


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  1. Rarst said on July 22, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    Ok, spam filter ate my long thorough comment again (it seems to be especially paranoid with purchase-related words).

    Short version – method works. :)

  2. Ken said on July 22, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    This will come in handy, I’m incorporating it right now

  3. Rarst said on July 22, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    Yep, postponing purchase usually has good results in the end. I was brooding over buying e-ink book reader when they became available… In the end I bought one year+ later, 30% cheaper, with better (next generation) screen.

    I could buy it right away – and end up with very new and unpolished product with sub-par specs (original screen sucks comparing to later ones).

    There is very little justifying of buying anything on release day. Especially with electronics and such. I think balance between price and functions is reached roughly in the middle of release day and stopping production.

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