So you gave in to temptation and bought it, eh? Oh that sickening, panicky guilt of buyer’s remorse, I know it well. You walk out of the store feeling happy as a clam (I’ve never understood why clams are so happy… maybe they shop a lot?) then half an hour later, you’re wondering, “do I really need this iPod? Really?” And so it begins. But panic not, not all is lost. You may be able to recoup some of your losses, just try a few of these ideas.
First things first, can you return it? Although stores don’t have a legal obligation to give you a refund for changes of mind on purchases, many will just to keep their customers happy. There’s no harm in asking!
Ok, so maybe they won’t give you a refund, how about store credit then? Can you exchange your item for something else? See if you can get a store credit in voucher form so you don’t have to spend it straight away. You’re less likely to make another silly impulse purchase if you can go home and think about it.
If a store allows me to exchange an impulse purchase, this is when I start looking for gifts. Whose birthday is coming up? Any ideas what your loved ones want for Christmas? Or maybe you can just get the store credit in the form of a gift voucher.
If you can’t find anything on the day, see if you can hang on to the credit note. Wait for sale time or new stock. Something’s bound to show up.
But, beware the store credit note:
- Check the expiry date on the credit note and mark it in your calendar; and
- Put the note in your wallet, clearly marked. You don’t want to toss it out with the old receipts and shopping lists!
Can’t return or exchange it? You might be able to cut your losses by selling your impulse buy. You’ve got a few options for selling: online, markets, pawn shops or consignment stores. I personally prefer online as you can access a much wider audience and I’ve even inadvertently made a profit selling some things this way!
If you are selling, make sure you are totally honest about what you have. Legally, if you misrepresent the item, you must give a full refund and people are likely to get mad at you. Also, make sure you set out your terms and conditions clearly and never send the item until you’ve got the money in your hand.
Seeling in person? Be safe. Don’t advertise your address and don’t have buyers over if you’re home alone. Meeting in a public place, like a shopping mall, can be better if you’re only exchanging small items.
If you absolutely positively can’t return it, exchange it, or sell it for a reasonable price, keep your impulse buy on the mantlepiece as a poignant reminder to be more sensible about where your hard earned dollar goes. You can only make this mistake so many times.