Control Impulse Spending with the 10-Day Rule

Macayle had an additional recommendation after reading my 10-10-10 rule post:”I use the 10 day rule so you can add this to you 10-10-10 rule, if you like. For more major purchases, and even some minor ones: If I want it I make myself wait for 10 days. Then if I still need (or want) it I can buy it. This really works, as after 10 days you are no longer subject to that impulsive buying urge and have had time to consider if there are other, more important purchases at this time.”

If you can’t quite make the 10-10-10 rule fit your particular purchase decision, the addition of a 10-day rule may just the perfect thing to help you choose between necessary and impulse spending.

Combining the 10-10-10 Rule with the 10-Day Rule
So let’s say you’re tempted to buy something, but it’s an impulse purchase or a necessity. You apply the 10-10-10 rule. The 10-minute impact is easy. The 10-month impact is pretty decent. You can’t see the 10-year impact without really stretching. That’s when it’s time to employ the 10-day rule.

Here’s an example from yesterday: Buying a pair of shoes. Rather than cheap shoes, which don’t even pass the 10-month rule, we’ll look at a pair of good shoes that will last a while, but could easily be an impulse purchase.

1. Ask if you can afford them right now without creating credit card debt. If yes, go to question 2.

2. Ask the impact buying the shoes will have on your life in 10 minutes. Well, you’ll have this great pair of shoes.

3. Ask the impact buying the shoes will have on your life in 10 months. If you buy them, you’ll probably still have a great pair of shoes, and hopefully you’ll still like them and they’ll still be in style.

4. Ask the impact buying the shoes will have on your life in 10 years. That’s a toughie. They’re shoes. They could last forever, but they may not. So now we get to question 5.

5. Wait 10 days, then ask yourself: Do I still want to buy the shoes. If the answer is yes, and you’ve answered yes to at least questions 1 through 3, then it’s probably the right purchase.

In most cases, you won’t even remember the shoes ten days later, or remember to ask yourself the questions. No fair writing it down as a reminder! This is a test to see if you want it enough to buy it. If you need a reminder to ask yourself if you want it, then you don’t want it enough.

I’ve never had to apply the 10-day rule because I’m rarely enamored of anything enough to want to purchase it, and it usually takes me days to convince myself to go to a store to buy something in the first place. It took me a year to decide to buy a Wii, for Pete’s sake. For those of you with an impulse spending problem, a 10-10-10-10 rule might be the first step towards changing your habits. Now that underspending is the hip, trendy thing to do, it should be a little easier.

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