When I was growing up and used to get into a fight with my younger sister, my mom would always separate us into two different rooms for an hour for a “cooling down” period. This same concept can be effectively used to help you from purchasing things you don’t need.
The “cool down” concept is quite simple. If you come across an item in the store that you absolutely have to have that costs over a certain amount (you can determine the exact amount depending on your situation – we use a $100 amount as the default in our family), you simply tell yourself you have to wait a week (or whatever period of time you feel is appropriate) before you can buy it.
This 7 day cool down period serves several purposes. One, people tend to buy a lot of things on the spur of the moment without thinking through all the aspects of the purchase. By taking a week cool off period, it’ll give you time to consider whether you really need the item or could spend the money in a better way.
The cool off period also gives you time to do more research to find the best deal around. Remembering that $1 saved is $2 earned, the week gives you time to do some research to see if you can find the same item at a better price or if there are similar items that will work just as well that are less expensive.
I think you’ll be surprised at the number of items you thought that you had to have at the particular moment you were going to purchase them, but after a week cool down period you decide that there really isn’t a need for them. While a cool down period may not seem like it will save much money on the surface, it’ll end up saving most households hundreds of dollars over the course of a year.