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The Best Way to Avoid a Bad Purchase

Sometimes, it’s hard enough for parents to avoid impulse shopping, so how can they expect to teach their kids the importance of patience?

That’s an issue Rachel Cruze talks about in her book Smart Money Smart Kids, co-authored with her dad, Dave Ramsey. Check out the latest excerpt from the book and learn how Dave and Sharon taught Rachel the importance of sleeping on important money decisions.

One of the best ways to avoid a bad purchase is to simply wait overnight. Regardless of how young or old you are, waiting overnight before making a big purchase completely changes the buying decision. That was the rule in our house growing up—even for my parents. Dad’s a spender. So early on, Mom and Dad agreed that neither one of them would spend $300 or more without first talking to each other about the purchase and waiting at least overnight so they could sleep on it. I can’t tell you how many things Dad didn’t buy because they didn’t seem as important the next morning.

I remember the day Mom suggested this delay technique to me. I was thirteen years old, and Mom and I were out shopping. I saw a shirt that I really liked, but I kept going back and forth on the decision. I’d look at it, hold it up and look in the mirror, then put it back down. This went on for a little while, but I ended up deciding to buy it (with my own hard-earned money, of course). My mom watched all this happen, and she strongly encouraged me to put the shirt on hold overnight so I could think about it some more. I said something like, “But, Mom, I really like it. If I leave it here, someone else will buy it!”

My mom is really wise about this stuff, and she finally convinced me to leave it with the sales clerk—after I made the salesperson promise three separate times that the shirt would still be there waiting for me the next day. Can you guess what happened? By the time we got home, I had decided that I didn’t really want the shirt after all. The next day, I had forgotten all about it. I never went back to get it from the sales clerk who swore she’d hold it for me. It might still be sitting behind a counter somewhere with my name on it.

Fast-forward several years to my junior year of college, when I was in a similar situation. Only this time, Mom was two hundred miles away and I was on my own. I was in a store and saw a cardigan that I fell in love with; however, it had a $120 price tag, which definitely made it a major purchase for me. I remembered what Mom and Dad taught me about waiting overnight, so that’s what I did. The next day, I decided that I really did want it, so I went back and bought it. I loved it so much that I wore it regularly for the next five years. That was definitely a good purchase for me.

Show your kids that waiting overnight takes the pressure off. It gives you permission to leave the store without the item, and once you leave the store, it’s often as though a fog lifts from your mind and you can think clearly again. If you wake up the next day and it still feels like a good purchase (and you can afford it), then it’s probably a good purchase for you. Go for it, and enjoy it!

Read more! Order Smart Money Smart Kids: Raising the Next Generation to Win with Money now!

Ramsey Solutions

About the author

Ramsey Solutions

Ramsey Solutions has been committed to helping people regain control of their money, build wealth, grow their leadership skills, and enhance their lives through personal development since 1992. Millions of people have used our financial advice through 22 books (including 12 national bestsellers) published by Ramsey Press, as well as two syndicated radio shows and 10 podcasts, which have over 17 million weekly listeners.