The [non]billable hour has a great post about “The Thirty Day Rule for Technology Purchases,” but the rule is applicable to all kinds of purchases. The original list comes from Get Rich Slowly and consists of the following 5 steps:
- Whenever you feel the urge to splurge — whether it’s for new shoes, a new videogame, or a new car — force yourself to stop. If you’re already holding the item, put it back. Leave the store.
- When you get home, take a piece of paper and write down the name of the item, the store where you found it, and the price. Also write down the date.
- Now post this note someplace obvious: a calendar, the fridge, a bulletin board. (I use a text file on my computer.)
- For the next thirty days, think whether you really want the item, but do not buy it.
- If, at the end of a month, the urge is still there, then consider purchasing it. (But do not use credit to do so.)
I’ve been consciously trying to make myself do this on all kinds of purchases and have found that I generally wind up getting a better deal on things that I would have otherwise bought on impulse. At the very least, before you make a big purchase in the store, you should write down what you are going to buy and use internet tools to see if you can get it more cheaply.