Wait, think, and wait before the buy

You can see that, I’m an introvert.  I like to think.  Sometimes probably I think too much.  Many years ago, one of my coworkers was joking about me.  He said: “if you ask Helen what she likes to drink, she would say “Let me think about it””.

Today, I like to talk about wait, think, and wait, before you make the purchase decision.  Here I’m mainly referring to the big-item purchases, or something that can wait.

This definitely doesn’t include buying a lunch.  Otherwise, after the wait, think, and wait, I would be already starved to death before figuring it out.

Where did this idea come from?

The truth is that, this idea came from GYM of her great article “7 Easy Ways to Add a Little Minimalism to Your Life (and Save Money Too!)”.

GYM said: “Last year, I did an alternate month no spend clothing (or other material thing) ban.  If I really wanted something I would have to wait until the following month.  This made me re-evaluate the clothing item that I ‘needed’ to see whether it is really necessary.”

You see?  I used her word Wait, and swapped her word Re-evaluate with Think, and added another Wait to disguise my shameless action: borrowing her idea without getting her permissions.

So, GYM should get 100% credit for this idea.  Thank you, GYM.  I’ll just elaborate it, and add my stories in.

My purchase of furniture:

When I bought my first house, it was a brand-new one.  Living below the means is not easy to do.

Before then, I lived in a one-bedroom apartment.  All of my furniture was used ones.  After the old furniture was moved in, I saw two big issues.

One issue was: the house was still pretty much empty.  The second issue was: the old furniture and the shiny new house simply didn’t match.

I did something right, and something wrong.

I spent way too much money on the new furniture in a rush.  That was a bad call.  I should wait, think, wait, and then purchase one set at a time.

When buying all the furniture together, it was a daunting task.  My main focus was to get it done quickly.  Money was not the top factor to consider.  That was dumb.

For some furniture., the usage was really low over the years.  What a waste of money!  Probably someone should run a business like Uber for furniture?  People share and rent the furniture when needed?

My old dining set:

Luckily, my old dining table/chairs from the apartment stayed, and have been used for almost 20 years.  This was the right call.

At first, I felt it didn’t match the house.  Over the years, I fell in love with it, and the mismatch didn’t bother me anymore.

Let me rephrase it.  Probably, I got used to it (like an old couple getting used to each other).  And I became more cautious on the money spending.

It’s solid oak wood.  The table is expandable on two sides.  It also fits very well to my current house.  I’ll keep using it.  Why not?  It’s good stuff.

The fence:

My current yard has low chain-link fence.  It is decades old.  The ugly fence didn’t impress me when I first looked at this house.

After moving in, my plan was to replace it with the beautiful vinyl fence.  I even got a couple of quotes.  It’s very expensive, and could cost around $10K.

You know what?  After years of calling it home, I changed my mind.  The chain-link fence doesn’t look that ugly anymore.  Fence doesn’t have to be that fancy, as long as it does the job (sort of).

And there are some advantages of chain-link fence:

  • It’s durable and low-maintenance for sure, and vinyl one can’t beat it.
  • I like my neighbors, and enjoy seeing them and chatting a bit over the low fence once a while.  Their yard is a beautiful garden.  Having a garden next to me is cool.
  • With vinyl fence, yes, it has better privacy.  But, it could be too isolating to me.  Plus, it could block the beautiful views and nice breeze.

One day, my neighbor and I chatted about the fence.  She told me that, they also planned to replace the chain-link fence at the beginning.  After a while, they got used to it as well.

I’m glad I waited, and didn’t rush to spend the money.  That was a good decision.

Why wait, think and wait?

It gives us time and space to cool down, digest the buy urge, think rationally, and make a better decision.

Our mind changes over time.  The wait, think and wait allow us to change the mind freely without any financial regret.

The items are on sale everyday.  Don’t worry, and you won’t miss a thing.  I know those retail stores don’t like to hear this.

No matter the purchase is about a house, car, set of furniture or fence, we are talking about thousands of dollars.  That’s quite a lot of money for a regular family.

There is nothing wrong about buying it.  But, we got to make sure that’s really what we need or want.  Nobody wants to see our own hard-earned money wasted.

Questions to you:

  • Do you buy things quickly, or wait and think first?
  • Did you ever get something, and found out later that’s not exactly what you need or want?

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10 Responses

  1. Hi Helen, I am a big believer in this concept. When I was younger, I always thought I needed this and that. And would be quick to buy. Now I know if I wait, my interests will either change or dissipate. And what I thought I needed, was wrong or foolish or just not that important. Kind of like your fence example. Tom

    • Retire Early Helen says:

      Hi Tom, thank you. Yeah, I realized it, too. When I was in the early 30s, I had less concerns about spending money. Sometimes the purchases or gifting could be compulsive, and not that wise. I changed quite a lot during the last 10 years in terms of the attitude toward money. I’m getting more conservative and realistic. Probably that’s the sign I’m getting old, haha.

  2. Joe says:

    I usually wait to buy too. I put items in the Amazon cart and just wait to buy. Often, I found that I don’t really need it after all. This summer, we’re looking for a new bike for my son because his old bike is too small. The new bike would be too big, though. So we’re waiting until spring to get a new bike. That’s when the previous year model goes on sale.

    I don’t always get right, though. I just got a rock hammer from Amazon because we were planning to go dig for fossil on our trip to Boise. However, I had to cancel the trip and now the hammer is just sitting in the cabinet. Now, I need to find a site nearby so I can use the rock hammer. Oh well, you win some you lose some…

    • Retire Early Helen says:

      Hi Joe, thanks for sharing your thought. Yeah, the period of waiting definitely helps to validate our needs, as the likes and dislikes could change quickly. That’s cool you got the bike for your son when it was on sale. For your rock hammer, you can keep it for the later trip to Boise.

      True, we can’t get everything right. For the small items, probably it’s not a big deal. It may just sit there unused, and take some space. For the big items, the price tags could be pretty high. I saw some people who changed the houses every 3-4 years. That’s expensive to do so.

  3. Caroline says:

    Hi Helen, I can relate to the ugly things you get used to. In my last house, there were quite a few things I thought I would change within a few months, but after the few months passed, I actually got used to it and it became part of my home:)

    • Retire Early Helen says:

      Hi Caroline, yeah, when moving into a new place, I always became ambitious, and wanted to make a lot of changes. But it could mean a lot of money involved if I’m not cautious. If I had tons of money, I might still want to replace the stuff. Since money is limited right now, I would rather keep it invested than spend it.

  4. GYM says:

    Ahh thank you so much for the mention Helen!!! I love blogging because it is just introverts talking to each other hehehee (like us!).

    This is so speaking to me right now!! My husband yesterday said “I can see you are still thinking”. It takes a long time for me to evaluate something and whether it is a good purchase or decision. We are actually building a house right now and it is so much decision making and thinking about what to buy that it is making me go batty. Yesterday I think I spent 3 hours thinking about the potential fridge to go in the kitchen space. We have some time before we move in so I think collecting some new items slowly before we move in would be helpful. I don’t like to make rash decisions either- and when you’re pressured to buy quickly you end up spending more!

    • Retire Early Helen says:

      Hi GYM, thank you. Yeah, thinking is one trait of introverts like you and me. Sometimes I feel limited number of choices is better than tons of choices, as the latter could exhaust me in terms of selections.

      Hey, that’s cool you folks are building a house. It’s quite an experience to see your house built up step by step, like a baby growing up. Take your time to make the decisions.

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