“The greatest mistake we make is living in constant fear that we will make one.” John C. Maxwell
I don’t think I made a mistake here, but my perfectionism needed a bit of a lashing.
MAIN TOPIC: A Surprise at Wal-Mart
There it was on display, a 6000 series Kodak printer with fax and scanning capabilities for $169.00. My heart sank. A routine trip to Wal-Mart, fraught with distress.
After diligent research, I bought a 9000 series Kodak printer from Amazon for $199.00. I thought I got a good deal.
Back to Wal-Mart where I quickly scanned the specs on the display model, and couldn’t find any difference between those of my printer and the one on display, except a $30.00 price difference. I knew the list price on mine was $249.00, so I was pumped to pay only $199.00; until today.
I understand that a 9000 model is probably better than a 6000 model, but the specs looked the same!
I was upset. Did I paid an additional and unnecessary $30.00? Typically, this type of mistake REALLY BOTHERS ME.
PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Positive Self-Talk
What I experienced was classic “buyers remorse.” It’s the feeling of regret one experiences after making a purchase, frequently a large one like a car or house. I recognized it immediately, as I’m apt to be a comparison shopper (even after I’ve already bought the item in question).
Fortunately, I have a lot of experience with “positive self talk.” With a Masters degree in counseling and a close relative who’s a clinical psychologist, I’ve been practicing this cognitive behavior therapy technique for a long time. So here’s what I said to myself.
“You have several choices. You can spend time obsessing over paying $30.00 more for a comparable item, or you can forget about it. That’s right. Just move on, and enjoy the rest of the day. You got the printer several weeks ago, you like it, it works fine and even if it wasn’t the rock bottom price, what difference does it make?”
The way I see it is this; when you have a purchase to make, spend some time finding the optimal item for your needs. Negotiate or find the best price and buy it. Afterwards, do not deliberately look at the prices on comparable items to determine whether you made a “good deal” or not. In fact, regarding electronics, frequently their prices decline. Expect that there may be a similar item with a lower price at a future date.
It’s kind of like investing in the stock market. If you purchase a mutual fund, and then the price goes down, are you going to berate yourself? Hopefully not. Prices on all items vary. They go up and down.
After you buy, move on. Enjoy your life. Avoid regret and increase your WEALTH IN LIFE.
Get a notebook and label it: “(your name) Personal Finance” and keep it by the computer. Use it to keep all of your personal finance goals, thoughts, activities, and plans.
- Challenge yourself to keep focused on the present.
- Try this for one day, see if your life satisfaction improves and your self criticism declines.
Have you experienced buyers remorse? How did you handle it?
Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance across the blogosphere:
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