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You bought something, now you regret it…

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The limited edition of SpongeBob SquarePants Funko Pop titillated Jason Grioua.

The young man had just graduated from university and decided to splurge by buying collectible figurines, inspired by characters from television series and video games.

He spent around US$100 last summer on this SpongeBob and figures of a few other characters he loves, including one from an animated series and another from his favorite video game, Overwatch.

But then remorse set in. He had doubts about the economy, and the price of gasoline, like that of almost everything else, was rising. Very quickly, Grioua, 23, a reporter for WSVN 7 News in Miami, regretted his expense.

“Every dollar would help me right now, knowing that I could instead put it in savings or for my retirement,” he said.

In the long run, inflation has certainly given me a bit of buyer’s remorse over items that aren’t exactly essential.

Jason Grioua

Not “exactly essential” might describe many of the purchases that take up space in our closets or on our credit card statements. But at a time when inflation is still stubborn, some analysts predict at least a mild recession next year, and Christmas shopping is in full swing, this is the perfect season for consumer remorse.

Bank of America figures show credit and debit card spending rose 4% in November from a year earlier. The average credit card balance of US Credit Karma users has increased by 20%, and consumer credit scores have fallen about 12 points since March, when the Federal Reserve (Fed) began raising interest rates. interest, according to company data. The Fed raised them again by half a percentage point on Wednesday.

Inflation is a concern, but business was booming on Black Friday as shoppers lined up outside stores to shop. Despite Americans’ worries about the economy, Adobe Analytics, which tracks online sales, estimated online holiday spending would rise 2.5% from a year ago.

Jamie Wagner, an assistant professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and director of its Center for Economic Education, urged consumers to try to think ahead.

“Anytime you make a purchase that’s not planned, a lot of things can happen,” she said. “It robs you of some of your choices in the future. “.

Expenses that hurt

Just before the pandemic hit, Suzanne Lawler of Pacifica, Calif., made a purchase that didn’t seem so terrible at the time. The retired legal manager had just sold an item she had inherited, pocketing around $90,000. Then, on a trip to New York with a friend, she “fell in love” with a Celine handbag in a luxury boutique in SoHo. It’s a marvel, she thinks, and in orange python, it’s one of the colors of the San Francisco Giants team that she loves so much. The price: $3000.

Butme Lawler, 68, has never used the bag. She is upset every time she walks into the closet where she keeps him. His attempts to resell it have failed: either resellers refuse the real python items, or individual buyers are unwilling to pay the asking price.

But she is luckier than most people. “I don’t need the money,” she said.

If I had given it to my favorite charity or spent it on something a little more appropriate and in line with my values, I would have felt much better. Every time I walk into this closet, I feel like shit.

Suzanne Lawler

Patti Henry had no intention of having several unused plane tickets that would gather dust for months. The pandemic forced her to cancel a trip and when international flights were restored, Mme Henry, 60, a physical therapist in Portland, Oregon, went on a travel spree and bought tickets to other destinations.

There was the $500 ticket to Mexico City, a trip she had to postpone when the COVID-19 outbreak grounded flights. Then there were two tickets, worth a total of $900, to Tahiti for the Easter holiday – a trip she also had to cancel. A trip to Peru, costing $2,000, which did not come to fruition. Although she was eventually able to make the trip to Mexico City, Ms.me Henry is stuck with a number of airline credits that she has struggled to use for a variety of reasons: scheduling conflicts, communication issues with airlines, and price increases that have made it difficult to transport the other three members. from his family.

“Everything has become so expensive. It’s absolutely ridiculous,” said M.me Henry. She said she would continue to make new reservations and eventually use the tickets, and hoped to be reimbursed for some of them.

Stop impulse buying

While it’s impossible to completely avoid consumer remorse, there are ways to avoid overspending on things you don’t need.

Justin Pritchard, owner of Approach Financial Planning, a retirement planning company in Montrose, Colorado, says it’s important to “allow some time” between wanting an item and buying it.

“Retailers, whether online or in-store, are really smart,” says Pritchard.

These retailers make the urge to buy things you don’t need an Olympic sport.

Justin Pritchard, owner of Approach Financial Planning

While any number of factors can cause someone to make an impulse purchase, stress is one of the main ones. According to Mme Wagner, many people are emotional shoppers who shop to celebrate something or to calm down when they’re feeling down.

To avoid this trap, she suggests thinking about the items for a few days and seeing if the urge to buy them lasts. Just as people are advised not to shop for groceries when they’re hungry, it’s best to avoid shopping when you’re in the grip of strong feelings, Ms.me Wagner.

“Suppressing emotions and impulses can be really helpful,” she added.

This article was originally published in the New York Times.



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