We all know that patience is a powerful virtue. It helps us get ahead in our careers, be better parents and partners, and avoid unnecessary conflict in nearly every area of life. Patience can even save us money. Here are eight ways going zen before you spend can help your budget:
1. You Have Time to Check Consumer Reviews
Informed consumers are smart consumers. Patience gives buyers a chance to compare features and prices, read online consumer reviews, explore product ratings on non-profit sites like Consumer Reports, and get the very best deal possible. It may sound cynical, but some manufacturers have built their livelihoods on selling junk to uninformed "gotta-have-it-now" buyers. Don't be one of them.
2. You Have Time to Decide If You Really Need It
Impatient consumers are led by their hearts and have trouble avoiding impulse spending. How many times have you purchased an item on impulse only to later ask yourself "What was I thinking?" Being patient gives you time to consider (and reconsider) if you truly need what you're tempted to buy.
3. You Can Wait for a Sale
Don't you relish that moment when the stars align and something you really want or need goes on sale? Sadly, impatient folks never get to experience that natural high. They simply can't wait and their impatience costs them cold hard cash.
4. You Might Find it Used
There are many reasons why buying used is better, and saving money is just one of them. A few years ago, I was dangerously close to forking over $3,000 for a new Tempurpedic mattress. Instead, I took a deep breath and gave myself a few months to find a better deal. Amazingly, I spotted one for sale on Craigslist. A newlywed couple had received the queen-sized mattress as a wedding gift (what an amazing gift, right?) and didn't like it. Though technically second-hand, it was still in the factory plastic wrap. It's the best $1,000 I've ever spent.
5. You Can Explore Alternatives
Several years ago, I was decorating my new condo and stumbled upon a limited edition lithograph that I loved in one of those big chain galleries at the mall. It was out of my price range by several hundred dollars, but I crafted all sorts of justifications for the splurge. Luckily, I hesitated just long enough to be invited to a local art fair where I found an original painting that I loved even more — for one-third the price. A bit of inadvertent patience saved me hundreds, helped me support a struggling independent artist, and allowed me to discover a wonderful original image that I'll treasure for years.
6. You Might Get it as a Gift
If there's an item you want or need, add it to your holiday wish list or drop a few subtle hints in advance of a birthday, housewarming party, or similar gift-giving occasion. Sure, it's not the most evolved money-saving strategy, but often our friends and family are looking for just the perfect gift and would welcome reasonable suggestions.
7. You Can Wait for the Release of a New Model
Our consumer machine is constantly churning out smaller, sleeker, and faster models of the same product you must have right now. If you're patient enough, wait for the new and improved model to be released and then buy the original version at a deep discount.
8. You Can Save up and Avoid Finance Charges
Putting your impulse purchases on pause gives you time to save up and pay cash. Avoiding interest charges, potential late fees, and overdraft dings makes a patient approach even smarter. In fact, there are loads of reasons why using cash-only rocks.
In our act-fast, don't wait, while-supplies-last world, patience is a rare quality. Retailers encourage us to buy now and think later because they realized a long time ago that emotion moves products. Patient people spend less and when we do spend, we make better purchasing decisions. When it comes to my money and my budget, impulse has its place, but patience rules the day.
This article originally appeared at Wise Bread.