The Saving Power of Waiting 24 Hours

posted by Andrea | 11/16/2017
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saving power

We’re quickly approaching the time of year when there are so many sales and “great deals” that it’s often easy to make quick decisions and impulse purchases we might later regret.

Plus, many of the sales have an extremely limited time-frame (some are just for a few hours), making us feel like we need to grab the deal right now or we’ll miss out.

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Dave and I have certainly made our share of impulse purchases over the years — some of them were more costly than others. However, as much as possible, we try to resist these purchases by giving ourselves 24 hours to think before we shell out any cash.

If we really want the item badly enough, we’ll purchase it the next day. BUT, if after thinking about it for a day, we decide it’s not worth our money, we realize it probably would have been another impulse purchase we’d regret later.

It’s probably worth mentioning that I do not use this rule for basic purchases like groceries or gas. It’s more for those items we don’t need and weren’t already planning to buy (clothing, home decor item, a collectible, furniture, another book, something for a craft or hobby, new technology, etc.)

I also don’t use this rule when I’ve been searching for a specific item on Craigslist or waiting for something to go on sale. In those situations, I pounce on a good deal when I see it and definitely don’t wait another 24 hours.

Yes, waiting 24 hours might mean the item is already sold when I decide to go back the next day; but in those situations, I figure it’s just not meant to be.

It’s such a simple concept — and I know it has saved us hundreds of dollars on impulse purchases (especially now with the ease of online shopping!)

Have you ever saved by waiting 24 hours?

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32 comments

  1. Kristine Chew

    12/15/2017

    Yes I have. I have often waited a whole season for items and sometimes I get a great deal. I needed a new winter for backpacking but I held off figuring I could make do for another season. The next season I found my coveted coat for 50 percent off. Suffice it to say, it was worth the wait.

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  2. Luba @ Healthy with Luba

    11/16/2017

    Yes, in the age of instant gratification (even with fast food, electricity, computers), it’s very healthy to wait. I love your approach, Andrea.

    I think our only exception would be if we already wanted something and found it for the price we wanted to pay. However, even then my husband is good at slowing us down regarding purchases. 🙂

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    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, we have the same exception — if we’ve been looking for something and KNOW it’s a good deal, we pounce on it!

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  3. Chris

    11/16/2017

    I sort of wanted some new barstools. I waited several years and found some nice wooden ones for $6.99 (90% off). 🙂

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    Andrea Reply:

    oh I love when this happens!

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  4. Mary in Maryland

    11/16/2017

    Even at the thrift store, I often walk around a bit thinking about a purchase. If it’s gone by the time I decide, I’m relieved. Once two women were admiring the yarn in my cart as perfect for their project–in French. They were surprised when I handed it to them. While I loved the variegated color, I realized I don’t enjoy working with worsted weight.

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    Andrea Reply:

    I’m horrible in thrift stores — because they usually don’t take returns, so I’m always second-guessing potential purchases (even if they are $1 or less!) I’m crazy!

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  5. Avia

    11/09/2015

    I implemented this rule for large purchases when DH and I first got married. It has really saved us as he was an impulse car buyer!

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  6. Melissa D.

    11/07/2015

    I’ve been keeping an eye on a Christmas gift for my oldest but it never seemed to go on sale. I happened to check last week and it was on sale! I picked it up but plan to keep watch to see if I can get a better deal before Christmas! Waiting to tell definitely makes a difference!

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    Melissa D. Reply:

    *Waiting to buy makes a difference! 😛

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  11. Kimberly

    11/14/2012

    A few years ago I wanted a gorgeous set of front loading washer and dryer in blue. There wasn’t anything wrong with the set we had and they both worked fine. My husband who is basically “what every makes Mama happy makes me happy” kinda guy went along with the idea. So we all loaded up on a Saturday and went to our favorite furniture/appliance store to buy a set of front loaders. A beautiful set of Whirlpool (my most favorite brand) for the bargain price of $2,500 for the set. We purchased them and they were to be delivered on Tuesday. But that night I woke up in the middle of the night very uncomfortable about this purchase. We discussed it the next day and the first thing Monday morning I was on the phone cancelling the order. Had we waited that 24 hours to think and pray about it we would have never purchased them to begin with. Always a good rule of thumb to wait 24 hours before making any purchase.

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  12. Heidi

    11/14/2012

    This works for online shopping too! I will have stuff in my cart then hit “save for later” and sleep on it. A lot of times I pass on the purchase after having thought it over and removed the momentum of seeing a good sale.

    It is even good advice for grocery shopping if you do it online and have delivery! Many times i will put a bunch of stuff in our cart we don’t need and I will see that once I wait a day to complete the order. I usually delete 15%-20% of the cart i built the day before because we really don’t “need” it.

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  13. Christine Somers

    11/14/2012

    Your 24 hour guideline is a reminder that many times in life we are driven by impulses that don’t always align with our overall goals. Thanks for the reminder.

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  14. Patty@homemakersdaily.com

    11/13/2012

    Oh, my gosh, YES! If I can convince myself to wait, I almost always end up not buying the item. Sometimes I buy it anyway but don’t open it and end up taking it back. It would have been much easier to just wait instead of taking it back!

    Years ago we were shopping for a truck. We were shopping for a used, affordable one, but ended up taking a look at a new one and signing on the dotted line. Fortunately for us, they couldn’t get it ready until Monday (it was Friday). Over the weekend we had some serious buyer’s remorse and ended up backing out of the deal. We hadn’t signed any final papers yet so the deal wasn’t done. We were SO happy we didn’t buy that truck. We ended up finding something much, much cheaper that was exactly what we’d been looking for. And later we were even happier we hadn’t bought the new truck because it was a tough winter and the “used” truck was involved in several weather-related incidents. It hurt less having it happen to an older truck than a brand new one.

    So I’m all for the 24 hour rule. It’s a great idea!!!!

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    KR Reply:

    This same thing happened to me a few years ago buying a phone! I had walked in expecting to get an older model, but I let them sell me the newest one available. Of course I immediately regretted it and they had a free return policy within a certain amount of time so I went back the next day and got the phone I had been trying to get in the first place!!

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  15. monica

    11/13/2012

    Wait until the time is right. Save up and pay cash. Always worth it. When we built our home I really wanted built in bookcases. I didn’t get them, so I waited.And waited. And then I waited some more. This past summer, we were at a store that sells pieces of homes that have been torn down. We found four cases. Gorgeous, of course they needed work. Plus I had two other cases, so my husband bought them, sanded, painted, added trim, we wallpapered the back of the cases, they are beautiful. so wirth the wait. Total cost for 18′ floor to ceiling book cases, built in, less than $200.

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  16. Hana

    11/13/2012

    I often do that with most purchases, large or small. Especially when it comes to decorations and other things that aren’t necessary around the house. It usually doesn’t even take twenty-four hours. I put it back on the shelf/rack in the store, and usually I’ve forgotten about it ten minutes later! If it’s something else I really want, I’ll wait for it to go on sale and then get it. If it was a one-of-a-kind, like in a thrift store, then I know it wasn’t meant to be.

    Usually I just *know* when it’s something I absolutely have to own.

    I can only think of two things off the top of my head that I wish I had bought when I had the chance:
    1) A brand-new foosball table that was at Goodwill six months ago. I know I can just buy a new one if I want, but it won’t be as cheap as the one at Goodwill, and it was REALLY NICE. I decided to ask my husband because it would have been considered a “big purchase” (not a MAJOR purchase, but still big enough to warrant a spouse consultation!). When I told him about it later he was appalled that I didn’t buy it right then lol. Of course it was gone when I went to go check again.
    2) A purse I saw in a store window in Paris seven years ago. It was so cute. Why didn’t I just drag my parents in and go buy it? I’ll never know. Sigh.

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    Liz Reply:

    For me….it was a leather couch. It was the perfect amount of distressed. Thick cowhide. Beautiful. And gone the next day…..I’ve been searching for a similar one for almost 12 years now. LOL.

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  17. Jennifer

    11/13/2012

    When our 17 yr old washer died this spring it happened to be the same week that the washer we were looking at was on sale. So we purchased the washer. It also qualified for 2 energy rebates. Then 6 weeks later our 38 yr old dryer died. With it being spring/summer time we decided to wait for the matching dryer to go on sale and I just used my clothes lines and a drying rack. After watching and waiting for 4 months, the dryer finally went on a great sale. So I purchased it. It also came with free delivery and hook up.
    I am currently watching the sales for a hand held vacuum. I regularly wait for things to go on sale or look for them at garage/yard sales and second hand stores. I had wanted to get a different dresser for my husband, some thing that didn’t look like dorm furniture. This summer I found a great dresser at an estate sale but didn’t buy it even though the price was great. After thinking about it I decided to back the next day to see if was still there and was lucky to get it for the now half price deal of $22.50.
    We almost never pay full price for anything. I like the challenge of bargain hunting.

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  18. Liz

    11/13/2012

    We’ve been trying to save for a new car, so everything has been cash only. Since dh gets paid twice a month, it has to wait until the 15th or the 30th.

    I keep a list as the month goes on of things I want to purchase….by the time the next paycheck rolls around, I’ve often rethought what was on the list. Maybe I found a different solution, or borrowed from a relative, or just plain changed my mind.

    It’s been saving us tons.

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  19. Thrifty Mom in Boise

    11/13/2012

    I frequently use waiting as a money saving tool or as I like to say “sleep on it”. I find a lot of times that when I wake up in the morning I don’t really want that item anymore or feel like I can wait for a better deal. Often I find I can make something to fit the bill rather than purchase something.

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  20. Marie

    11/13/2012

    Absolutely!!! The older I get the more I rethink and rethink about making a purchase. We downsized and relocated 3 years ago when my husband lost his job and the economy was so bad. Since we recovered I consider so much before buying anything other than food basically. I always ask myself, do we need it and is this really a good deal. I’ve even purchased things to only return them after rethinking the purchase after getting home and sleeping on it. Plus the older I get the less materialistic I’ve become. That is why the holidays aren’t stressful for us. We don’t get caught up in all the “shopping drama” anymore.

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    Linda Reply:

    I hear you! I’m also at the age where we just don’t do the shopping drama at all any more. We already have more than we need; we’re new empty-nesters and working hard to GET RID of stuff.

    I do wonder, though, if this is going to come back to me later, when we start having grandchildren?

    🙂

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  21. Tara

    11/13/2012

    Yes! This is great advice. My husband and I will typically ask each other “do you think Dave would approve of this purchase?” (as in Dave Ramsey). Usually the answer is no 🙁 but it has saved us tons of money.

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    Katie Reply:

    Yes, I often ask myself, “what would Dave do?” too!

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  22. Jen

    11/13/2012

    I saved by waiting a YEAR. lol

    I found some nightstands that I really love on Overstock. They are very similar to the much more expensive Pottery Barn tables that I had picked out for my dream room. When I found them they were deeply discounted, but I still couldn’t afford them at the time. So I waited. And the price went up, and then down SOME, and then back up but I had a coupon but it still wasn’t cheap enough…and then they were out of stock. For a year, I watched the price rise and fall and it seemed every time they were in my price range, they were also out of stock when I looked.

    But then the other day, they were in stock and marked down. They were also part of a 10% off discount Overstock was running for a few days AND had free shipping. I found a coupon online for another 15% off. All told, I got two beautiful nightstands with near-perfect customer reviews for a grand total of $222.98. They’re exactly what I want and WELL worth the wait.

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    Susan Reply:

    We have used this strangely for 45 years. We mention this fact before listening to sales people. So if they are high pressure salesman and their deal is only good for today they are out of luck.
    We haven’t seen one time they couldn’t make the same deal, or better, until you buy weeks later.

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    Andrea Reply:

    good call — I usually just turn the sales people away right away because I don’t want to “waste” my time listening to them.

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