You should buy a car at the end of the month, late in the day. You should buy your winter coat in the Spring. You should shop for airline tickets on Tuesdays.
But there are also times when it might not be best to break out the credit card, regardless of the season, day, or time.
Avoid Shopping When You’re Sad
It’s called retail “therapy” for a reason. People buy more when they are sad. The studies show it. A broken heart needs a new pair of shoes. An unfilled void needs a new flat screen TV. When you’re sad, your defenses are down and you’re only thinking about your immediate self and meeting those short-term needs. Don’t spend when you’re sad.
Avoid Shopping When You’re Hungry
Apparently the hunger rule doesn’t just apply to grocery shopping or dining out. A growling stomach can lead to overspending of all types. The next time you head out to do some shopping make sure you’re working with a full stomach. Don’t be a hungry shopper.
Avoid Shopping When You’re Angry
When you are angry, you are apparently more prone to throw caution to the wind and make purchases or financial decisions that you normally wouldn’t. Being angry gives you an overly-optimistic attitude (think “what the hell!”) towards purchases. This attitude can lead to making risky financial moves. It can also lead to you hitting me with your cart. So stay away from the mall (and your online broker) when you are mad.
Don’t forget! In most cases you can make returns and right the wrongs that you’ve committed against your finances during your moment of weakness.
More Money Rules
These three tips came from the new book from Today show’s Jean Chatzky, called Money Rules. Money Rules is a collection of 94 rules that Jean has compiled, which, if followed, will lead to a “lifetime of financial security and eliminate most, if not all money stress”.
The rules are divided up into seven parts: Make Money, Save Money, Avoid (Most) Debt, Spend Wisely, Invest for Tomorrow, Cover Your Assets, Do’s and Don’ts (some of those categories sound familiar, don’t they?). Each rule is no longer than two or three paragraphs. You could literally read the book in twenty minutes.
You could also consume the book over several months, one rule at a time, while you’re enjoying your morning coffee or waiting in line at the store. Or you could simply use the book as a reference to occasionally check your financial life against best practices. The rules are spot on and not at all the fluff or typical advice you would expect from a high-level compilation book like this.
The only thing I find that I don’t like about this book is the price tag. It’s list price is $12.99. You can find it on Amazon.com for slightly less in paperback and ebook, but this really should be available in ebook for for $2 or $3.
So, have you ever found yourself shopping when you were angry, sad, or hungry? Did you end up buying something you regretted?
Image by Andy Hay