Ever excitedly bought something, then regretted the purchase as soon as the receipt is in your hands? Sometimes it doesn’t happen that fast. At times you ask yourself why you thought purchasing that product was a good idea once the excitement has faded, maybe a day, a week or a month later. That’s buyer’s remorse…buying a product then regretting your purchase afterwards. It’s an awful feeling that leaves you kicking yourself and perhaps despising the product you bought because you now feel as if it was a waste of money.

Buyer’s remorse is more common with expensive purchases, the more expensive the purchase, stronger the remorse. Smaller purchases that don’t leave a dent on your wallet are easier to brush off, lessening the guilt of that purchase. There are multiple ways to avoid buyer’s remorse after a purchase. Here are 4 questions to ask yourself before making a purchase (especially an expensive one) to avoid regretting it.

1.     Do I already own something that serves a similar purpose?

Sometimes we buy products that do a very similar job to something that we already have, like buying a Kindle book when you already own an iPad or tablet. Whilst a Kindle book is mostly for reading and storing digital books, you could easily do that on an iPad or tablet with lots of storage space. Buying the Kindle book could easily lead to regret once you realize your other gadget can easily do the same job. Thinking through a purchase is a good way to figure out if you really need a product or not, then wisely walking away if you realize you don’t need it. If the answer is negative though, you could proceed to the next question.

2.     Will I use this regularly and repeatedly?

How often are you going to use it? Will you use it regularly enough to justify the purchase? Say you live alone, and perhaps only do your laundry once every two weeks, then buying a washing machine and dryer might not be the best use of your money (unless you’re rich and have exhausted all the other ways to spend your money). Washing machines are a little pricey in Zimbabwe, add in the water shortages and the electricity the machine uses, and the price shoots even higher. Taking your clothes to a laundromat, or hiring a contract domestic worker could prove to be much cheaper for you. Alternatively, you could just do your own laundry too, which is the cheapest option, but can be time consuming. In short, how often you are likely to use your purchase affects your chances of experiencing buyer’s remorse.

3.     Is this well-made? Is it going to last?

Nothing sucks quite as much as buying a product, only to have it fall apart within a short time. It’s frustrating, and can leave you feeling cheated, and regretting your purchase. For big purchases, or slightly significant ones, do your research before purchasing. Make sure that the store you’re buying from is reputable, and find out if the same follows for the manufacturer too if you can. Just because something is expensive doesn’t mean it’s strong or durable. If possible, ask people who have bought the same product about their experiences with it or read the reviews online where applicable.

4.     Can I afford to pay for it in full right now? Is it worth the debt?

This question is perhaps the most important one of all. Regretting a purchase that you still have to pay for will intensify your buyer’s remorse, and could leave you despising your purchase (even though it was your idea to buy it). Consider your ability to pay for it in full on the spot. If you can’t afford to pay for it in one go, then is it worth going into debt for? Perhaps they offer payment in instalments, or you want to borrow the money from somewhere or someone. Is it really worth the debt? Additionally, you could also ask yourself how much you would be have been willing to spend on it if you hadn’t seen the price tag. Your answer should help you make a decision.

Buyer’s remorse is a nasty feeling that most of us prefer to avoid but have encountered occasionally after making a purchase. Guarding against it could also help you save your well-earned dollars by spending them as wisely as possible. Aside from these questions, additional ways to avoid buyer’s remorse include comparing prices before you buy and avoiding impulse purchases altogether.