The Wish List
Creating a list of the items you are planning to buy or in other words a 'Wishlist', can help you prioritise your purchases. If you have already followed the steps in the How I Structure My Finances post, then you already know that part of your money in each payment goes to a guilt-free splurge account. Using a wish list allows you to prioritise this money and buy the things you really know you want.
Every time I make a large impulse purchase, I always feel guilty afterwards. For me, it stems from cognitive dissonance, where I can’t decide if I was happy with the money in my bank account or with the purchase I had just made. In a lot of cases making sure I really want the item or experience beforehand can help with my buyer's remorse. The solution I have found is to build out a wish list and keep track of all the items you want to buy.
Important Columns To Track
When building the list, you should consider these columns for each of the items.
- Name/Description - The name of the item, or a description so you know straight away what it is.
- Type/Category - What grouping can you put your items into, I use ones like, electronics, wardrobe, rooms, etc.
- Brand - The brand of the item, pretty much everything on my Wishlist is from Apple.
- Price - The price of the item, I find putting the full price here is ideal, then if you find a deal/sale even better.
- Website Link - A link to the website so you can keep track of sales, or so you can order it straight away when you have the money in your splurge account.
- Date Added/# days in List - This is a great way to sort the list. You will find that some items will have been on your list for over a year, that you would have completely forgotten about.
Audit the List
Every month you should have a reminder set to check out your Wishlist. This gives you a chance to re-prioritise the list and also check out how long items have been sitting there. You will typically find that ideas for purchases will come up randomly throughout the month, so you can use this time to also flesh out any of the details about the item you might have missed.
While the Wishlist has helped me to stop some of my impulse purchases, the real advantage I have found is that some of the more expensive items that I thought I wanted at the time have now been sitting on my list for nearly two years. Concluding that if I had impulse bought them at the time I would have soon regretted it.