Just Buy It Already! Fighting Indecision On Big Purchases

by The Happy Rock on July 16, 2009


This is a guest post by PF blogger The Weakonomist @ Weakonomics.com. He is a twenty something who works for a major bank and unlike most PF blogger has stayed debt free. For those who aren’t familiar with his blog, click through and say hello.

I’ve never written for Happy Rock before so you probably don’t know much about me.  Normally I wouldn’t care to tell you and you wouldn’t care to know, but it adds context to my post.  I’m a young buck and getting married this fall.  Me and The Sheconomist don’t own much stuff, so we are in the process of acquiring all that married life stuff.  We’ve needed a bed, couch, coffee table, dresser, etc….  Since we’re starting from scratch we have a lot to buy and not a lot of money to spend.

When you’re shopping for any items over $100 that you plan to keep for a while it’s easy to get caught up in the shopping experience, and not in a good way.  Not only are you trying to find the right design for you, but you’re also trying to maximize the value of your purchase.  So you comb the sale ads in the Sunday paper, check for coupon codes on websites, and spend every single Saturday going from store to store looking but not buying.

At some point a line is crossed.  You’re actually wasting time.  After a month or so of this routine you know the lay of the land and you’ve seen deals come and go.  You probably missed out on a couple of really good deals because you just couldn’t pull the trigger.  And this happens for one of two reasons: either you’re indecisive or you’re holding out for a better deal.

Now I don’t like to give advice, so I’m not going to try and help you figure out how to actually make the buying decision.  Instead I’ll tell you the consequences of not buying.  Eventually you do have to make a purchase, and if you wait too long you may have to make the decision in haste.  This happens if your furniture breaks, or you car finally gives out, or even if your cell phone stops doing the things phones should do (like ringing).  Hasty purchases are filled with emotion and you risk over-paying or not getting the item you really wanted.  Buyer’s remorse will then attack like the plague on a 14th century peasant.  So make a decision and move on.

You may not find the best deal, but because you’re a smart shopper you know that you will get a GOOD deal.  You will waste you life away chasing perfection.  Live in a world of “good enough” with your purchases and you’re living in a happy world.

And if there’s one other thing you should know about me it’s that I’m kind of a hypocrite.  No not with purchases but because just a minute ago I said I don’t like giving advice, I actually do.  I have some parting advice for men and women when it comes to purchasing decisions:

Women: The subtle details mean very little to us.  The end-tables with drawers or the ones without are unimportant to us.  If you ask us what we think we’ll tell you to get whatever you want.  We want you to be happy with your decision because we’re just happy to get back home and watch some TV.  If you ask again and we say we don’t care which one you pick, this does not mean we don’t care about you and doesn’t mean we think getting end-tables are stupid.  We just don’t care between the options.  If you force us to pick one, we will pick the cheaper one and this has nothing to do with the appearance.  Don’t take anything we say personally.

Men:  Don’t ever say you don’t care!!!  The women will see that as a sign it’s unimportant that your home looks nice and so you don’t care about her either.  Pick your words perfectly (yes perfection matters here!).  I got some great advice from my dad about this the other day.  Say that you are less sensitive to the details of the purchase and are only concerned with making sure she is happy.  Reinforce her ability to provide the best judgment and under no circumstances allow annoyance to sneak into your tone.  You risk her losing interest and then you have to come back next week.

I’m generalizing the sexes of course, you could flip the roles too if you want.  If you hate shopping only slightly more than you hate spending money, I feel your pain.  We all think it, but under no circumstances should you ever say “Just buy it already!”

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go to the bed store… again.