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The Age of Instant Gratification

We all know the feeling of seeing something we want and feeling the overwhelming urge to buy it right away.

We live in the age of instant gratification and with such easy access to credit many of us have been “trained” to see it and then get it without thinking too much about whether we can actually afford it.

But did you know that giving yourself some time to think before making a purchase can actually help you save money?

This is where the “30 Day Rule” comes in.

What is the 30 Day Rule?

The 30 Day Rule is a simple yet effective strategy that encourages you to wait for 30 days before making an impulse purchase.

By doing so, you give yourself the opportunity to consider whether you truly need the item or if it’s just a spur of the moment desire, a “want”. Taking time to reflect can help you avoid unnecessary purchases and ultimately save quite a bit of money.

When you see something that you want to buy, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and make an impulsive decision. It can be hard to know in that moment if it is a need or a want. The problem is that impulse purchases can quickly add up and put strain your budget. That’s where the 30 Day Rule can help.

30 Days Is Soooooo Long

Instead of making a purchase right away, can you wait for 30 days?  

That may seem like a long time and… it is. That’s the point.

During that very long time, you get to ask yourself questions like “Do I really need it?” or “Can I find a more affordable alternative?” By giving yourself this mental cooling-off period, you may find that the initial very strong urge to buy has passed, and you’re no longer as interested in the item. This can prevent you from wasting money on items you don’t truly need or value.

Impulse Purchases and Online Shopping

The 30 Day Rule can be particularly helpful when you are doing online shopping, where it’s easy to click “Add to Cart” without much thought. When you come across something you want to buy online, instead of making an impulse purchase, bookmark or wishlist the item and set yourself a reminder to revisit the site after 30 days.

This delay can help you break the cycle of instant gratification and impulse buying, and allow you to make more intentional spending decisions. In some cases, you may even find that the desire to purchase has completely faded after the waiting period, saving you money in the process. The 30 Day Rule is a practical and straightforward approach to curb impulsive spending and make more mindful purchasing choices.

That said, if after 30 Days you still need the item then you can get it and as a bonus you will have had a while to ensure you have the funds available to make the purchase.

The 24 Hour Rule

If 30 days seems too long and impractical, you could instead try the 24 hour rule.

This very similar but shorter strategy involves taking a step back and giving yourself 24 hours to think before making an impulse purchase.

When you come across something you want to buy, resist the urge to buy it right away and instead wait for a day. During this time, you can evaluate whether you truly need the item or if it’s just a fleeting desire. It may also give you time to shop around for a better price, which is always a good idea. And if you find it cheaper elsewhere then set a reminder for 24 hours time.

This shorter time frame can still provide enough space for thinking about things and looking at your budget and help you make more intentional spending decisions. Try it if you think 30 days is just too long.