Chatting with my sister about personal finance issues, she mentioned a practice that she likes to maintain. She tries to wait at least a month to buy something (other than every day items).
Waiting to buy stuff makes sense on several levels:
1) It is quite possible that after a month you’ll consider that you might not actually need or want the item as much as you first did. This could save you the full price of the item.
2) Waiting also gives you time to better research what you need. This allows you to think about what you are looking for in the given item and find the best place to buy it.
3) When replacing an item this allows you to get another month’s use out of what you might already have. Certainly this takes a bit of sacrifice but if you used everything for a bit longer than you might like this would add up in the end. This also conserves resources as a whole, just imagine if all Americans did this.
Lastly I would like to confess that I have not been strictly taking this advice lately. Given my impending departure for an extended stay in Afghanistan my purchases have been much more substantial than normal. I did however make a list of all the items I needed, worked on the list for a month while I was in Ukraine and Hawaii, and then began making purchasing things off the list while I was in Oregon (where life is cheaper than DC and no sales tax, plus Labor Day Sales to boot!).
Food for thought that might just save you money!