Just the other day, I was browsing Facebook when a status update from David at Young Adult Money caught my eye:

“I’m the kind of person who talks and thinks about buying a tablet for well over a year, but never buys one.”

-Young Adult Money

My first thought was, “that’s hot.”  Then I realized that it was also really funny because I can totally relate.  After all, I’ve been shopping for a new iPod for at least a year.  But there’s a reason why I haven’t purchased one yet.

When Too Many Options is a Bad Thing

I do most price-shopping online for obvious reasons.  But, have you ever searched for mp3 players on Amazon.com before?  Do it and you’ll find that there are a whole slew of models in every color, shape, and size, including some with some pretty snazzy features like touch screens and FM radio.  But, do I want a touch screen?  And, do I need FM radio?  Does it matter whether it has 16 GB or 32 GB or if it’s pink or green or blue?  I mean, seriously.  Scroll up and look at the picture of my iPod for heaven’s sake.  Do I look like I’m into special features?

The problem is, my iPod is not really working anymore.  This summer, it wouldn’t even stay charged long enough for me to mow the yard so I would mow half, charge it, then continue.  Pretty sad.  But now it’s dead and I can’t get into my old iTunes account either, which means that I would likely need to download a bunch of music off of CDs again.  About that…….

The last time I put music on my iPod I drank a lot of wine and ended up putting songs from both Colbie Caillat and Slayer on it.  Bad, bad idea.  But finding good music takes time, and most of my old CDs are pretty teenage-angsty.  There are some good ones here and there, but the last thing I want to do is break out the old CD collection and start downloading songs like some middle-aged dinosaur.  Unfortunately, my only other option is to pay for those songs again.  Oh, the horror!

My husband is probably reading this post and thinking it is a cryptic plea for a new iPod loaded with my favorite songs but it isn’t.  I actually think shopping around for big purchases for extended periods of time can be good for all of us.  Here’s why:

How do you shop for big purchases? Here are a few tips to make sure you aren't splurging on a frivolous item without careful thought.You might decide you don’t need it

One reason I like to shop around is because I often find I don’t need whatever it is I’m looking for in the first place.  For example, we’ve shopped around for big ticket items before only to end up borrowing something from a friend instead.  Or we’ve shopped for something only to realize that we didn’t want to spend that much money.  Taking extra time gives all of us a chance to let the prospect of a big purchase sink in.

You can strike when you find the best deal

I like shopping around for a long time because it helps me gain perspective on what is, and isn’t, a really good deal.  When I take my time, I can browse, hem, and haw until I see a deal so crazy that I just can’t pass it up.

You might find something better

Shopping for electronics is tricky anyway.  There are so many models of cameras, camcorders, tablets, and phones out there that it can be difficult to know what you want in the first place.  If you shop around long enough, you might find a product that has different or better features than the one you were initially looking for.

You can find out what you really want

I don’t know about you, but I change my mind about wanting things all the time.  I wanted Ugg boots once, for example.

Glad that’s over.  On the other hand, when I really want something, I buy it.  In fact, I had $286 in “fun money” in a Huntington Bank until last Tuesday when I ordered a giant blown-up picture I took of Stonehenge from Shutterfly.com.  It was $57, and I freaking love it!  Now I just need to spend 1-3 years to figure out where to hang it, and feel really guilty that it’s sitting on the floor in the meantime.  See how that works? 

The point is this: We all work hard for our money.  Spending time to shop around can be beneficial because we are more likely to end up with things we really want- not just impulse purchases.

How Long Do You Shop for Big Purchases?

Awesome.

Awesome.

I’m pretty bad about price-shopping, but my husband is the absolute worst.  He will wear a shirt with a big hole in it for months because he doesn’t feel like shopping for a new one.  I swear, I need to do an entire blog post about his wardrobe.  It is…sooo….sad.

Regardless, delaying purchases isn’t really a bad thing as long as your basic needs are met.  And there’s nothing wrong with taking the time to make sure you get exactly what you want.  It’s your money, right?  And you never know, you might even find that you don’t need that pricey gadget or piece of furniture anyway.

How long do you shop for big purchases?  Should Greg get me an iPod for Christmas?  Where should I hang my 36 X 12 picture of Stonehenge?

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