Lunchtime Poll

Lunchtime Poll: Shopping and Self Control

I bought myself a new phone the other day. It was a thought-out impulsive decision, if that makes sense. I had spent some time researching my options, weighing the pros and cons, and ultimately, I decided that I should stick with my old phone for a bit longer. That is, until in a fit of pique I decided to buy the phone after all. This is how I make all major purchases, and for today’s LTP, I am wondering how you shop.Do you research forever, weigh all your options and wait for the best deal? Do you see something you like and buy it? Or are you like me, trying to wait and make a good choice, but eventually succumbing to impulse? Basically, how would you fare in the Marshmallow Test?

By Luci Furious

There are no bad times, only good stories.

17 replies on “Lunchtime Poll: Shopping and Self Control”

I just noticed that the LTP headline reads “1/11/11” and had a bit of a panic attack about what year it was. If only I could easily describe all the places my mind just went. Maybe it’s time for more caffeine :).

As for the purchasing, though, I tend to be impulsive, feel guilty, and end up returning things. Sometimes I regret the returns down the road, but generally, I only keep things that I absolutely LOVE or really need.

I would be the kid that sat forever waiting to eat the marshmallow. Friends agree. When there’s a promise of MORE or BETTER, I wait it out.

I bought a sofa last week (omg!) and my mom and I sat on the damn thing for about half an hour until I finally committed to the purchase. I’m not going to be impulsive with $500. Good God. Before The Great Sit, we had got to two other stores, I had researched shops online and gone through magazines to pull style ideas. Research is my specialty.

I do something similar with clothing. Making sure it’s something that would improve, enhance or replace something in my wardrobe. And then I wait for a sale to hit. Anything 30% off or over, I’ll check out. I’ve also limited myself to three online shops and a handful of local stores. This has helped me keep spending to a minimum since way-back-when I managed to spend WAY TOO MUCH for clothes that were ultimately just meh.

Now, food? Absolutely and completely impulsive. It’s horrible. Strange or new. Rich. On Sale. Fresh baked. I’m horrible. But then, I feel okay spending $50 at a grocery store for foods I’ll eat rather than $200 on clothes I’ll wear just a few times and grow tired of.

…and now I’m hungry…

I am a very impulsive person when it comes to little things, as evidenced by my vast cheap t-shirt collection, but I get skinflinty about bigger stuff. I usually need a push to spend money on something out of the ordinary. I don’t do a lot of research, but part of that is that I’m lazy and I know that Mr.B, as stated above, loves to do product research, so I don’t have to. I do, however, get really pissy if I feel like I am being left out of a decision because he has done the research, especially if it is something I will be using. Usually, we combine forces and I make some choices based on “hands on” testing and he gives me the pros and cons of the things I have chosen. Sometimes we can even come to an agreement without fighting in the parking lot.

I’ll get the idea, and I’m embarrassed to say that I don’t research some things as much as I should. God, it sounds awful to call my cat an impulse buy, but I sat on the idea for months and researched what sort of money I’d have to put up for food and litter, and knew realistically I could have one, but kept thinking “not today.” Then I went “just to look” and bam, love at first sight.

This also happened with my iPhone, which is a piece of technology I will now GLADLY shell cash out for because it saves my ass on a regular basis.

However, the cat is much more important than the iPhone. Before anyone thinks I equate a pet with a fancy phone.

I am the flintiest of skinflints, and I rarely spend money on myself.  I have several methods of obtaining things I want/need:  1) If it’s techie I will do lots of research, thereby putting off the purchase indefinitely. 2) If it’s a video game I will wait until it’s 2+ years old and buy it cheap (Halo 3 – $10, GoW – $5, etc.), 3) if it’s clothing I will intone the following: “use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without” until Slaybelle gets annoyed and buys it for me (I put off getting a new pair of dress shoes for three years by this method!)

I think this is how I do it.  Once Slay sees this I’m sure she’ll chime in.  Let me just say that it took me 16 years to buy her a stand mixer.  There’s a longer story there, but once I totes decided to do it I still took many months waiting for the best price and comparing it to old Hobart models.


If I know I need something AND that could potentially cost me a lot of money, I research for weeks until I am positive I am getting the right thing… even when it is dangled in front of me at a store. I’m known to browse a store for like an hour debating between options until I actually get to the cash register.

if i see something i want, i totally do what all those kids did.  i’ll pick it up…pretend like i’m gonna buy it…and then convince myself out of it.  only when i REALLY REALLY REALLY must have something do i ever go through with an impulse.

this way of doing things is actually mad annoying.

For me it completely depends on how big of a purchase it is, as I am a complete skinflint.  The more it costs, the longer it will take me to make my pro/con lists and research every aspect of every option before I finally make a choice that is based 30% on my list and 70% on gut reaction on the day I make the purchase.  For example, it took me six months to replace my car after I totaled the previous one, even though I had already received money from my insurance company.  I went to, god I don’t even know how many car dealerships, talked to multiple mechanic friends, showed my final three options to them, researched each type of car online, and talked to my dad about them all for five and a half months.  Then one day, I something snapped and my body demanded I stop mooching rides and being a pest and get my car back. After that point it took me about an hour to pick a car, test drive it, and sign.  The research does help.  It gets me into which car I should try, but really, the car I bought was purely purchased for its appearance, gas mileage, feel when driving, and sound system.  I’d be ashamed of this, but I love my car. And my ridiculous lists + gut feeling have yet to steer me wrong.. well, at least when it comes to things. :P



I do pretty much exactly what it sounds like you did. I’ll get the idea to buy something. Then I’ll do a little bit of research and hem and haw about whether I really need it or not. Then one day (usually on a bad day) I’ll just go out and buy it. This is how I ended up with my phone, my desktop, and my cat (who is now 5 and I love him dearly)

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