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Happy Shopping



Often when we regret a purchase, it’s because we realize on some level that we didn’t do a good job of weighing the costs of an item against its benefits. And of course, the risk of regret is higher for bigger purchases, like homes, cars, expensive electronics, even a college education. To minimize this risk—no matter the dollar amount of your next purchase—do this mental exercise first:

  1. Think of all the benefits of the purchase, i.e. how it will help you, how you will enjoy it, how long you will use/enjoy it, if it will make your life easier, etc. In your mind, put all of these benefits on one side of a scale.
  2. Now think of all the costs of the purchase, not just its price tag. Think about associated costs, like gas and insurance for a car, any maintenance costs, the cost of your time if you’re purchasing something that requires a time investment, etc. Put these costs on the other side of the scale in your mind.
  3. Which side weighs more? Are there more and bigger costs than benefits? Whichever side “weighs” more wins. If it’s the benefits side, it will most likely be a smart purchase. If it’s the costs side, it may not be a wise purchase.

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