Delayed gratification: The art of making yourself wait to purchase something new. Some people use a self-imposed waiting period to make sure that they really want to part with their hard earned cash. The thought is, you reassess the want to make a purchase after a designated waiting period. Many times you’ll decide against the purchase, thus saving yourself from wasting money on impulsive purchase.
But does this practice really work? I had the opportunity recently to find out.
About a month ago, we decreased our cell phone bill by $150 a month by switching to a no contract plan with our carrier, AT&T. The reason the bill is so much cheaper is because the price of a phone upgrade is really included in the price of the plan when you sign up for a 2 year contract. While we were in the store, we happened to ask how much it would cost us per month to upgrade a phone. For each premium phone upgrade, it would cost us about $25 a month until the new phone was paid off (26 months). With some quick math, Vonnie determined if she upgraded her iPhone 4S to an iPhone 5s, our monthly bill would still be $125 less than it had been.
She hadn’t been complaining about her phone. It was working well for her, and in my opinion she was just suffering from what a good friend of mine calls the “Oooh, shiny!” effect. Luckily, I found a way to at least temporarily put the brakes on the phone upgrade, and allow us more time to contemplate if this was the right move.
Between the sales tax that we would have to pay on the phone, plus a fancy new case we’d still be looking at around $100 out of pocket immediately to get her the phone upgrade. We were getting ready to go on vacation, and were trying to maximize our available cash for the trip. I suggested she wait until we returned from our trip to upgrade her phone. She agreed.
We’ve been back from our trip for over two weeks now, and there’s been no mention of upgrading her phone. Either she’s decided it wasn’t worth upgrading her phone yet, OR she’s just flat out forgotten about it.
Either way, it looks like a waiting period has had exactly the effect I had hoped.
Have you have used a waiting period to ensure a purchase was worth it for you? How did it work out?