Financial Peace University: Buyer Beware
Buyer Beware is the title of our next baby step. In Latin, it means ‘caveat emptor’. This step will talk about how important it is that a buyer is aware of his/her buying decisions just as much as we kick off our debts, save for an emergency fund, and budget.
Thing is, companies exploit every single tactic for our money. Sellers and agents will try to come for us in any way possible and will want to mess up our deals and budgeting plans. Their goal is to sell their things. Without proper analysis of things and without established buying decisions, we will lose against them every time, leading us to financial destruction. We have to be wise consumers at this point. We will control our spending, and not the other way around.
Below are some ways companies make to sell their stuff to us, consumers:
- Personal selling
A one-on-one selling wherein an agent makes a persuasive argument to a consumer who must exchange his/her hard-earned money for the offered goods/service.
- Financing and convenient payment methods as a marketing tool
When you finance something, you don’t feel the money— you feel the weight of it. A rich person would ask how much a house is, but a poor person would ask how much is the down and how much would it be monthly. Rich people feel the weight of their decision. Financing decisions take the weight of it off, which is a method of marketing.
What you need to know is that sellers view this as a mathematical science. They study our behaviors more than the product itself. For example, Apple has been a genius for years now. They have developed this strategy to make things easy for customers to buy so that they can buy even more.
In this never-ending persuasion of the sellers, keep your shield up to protect your money. You need to have a plan so they cannot interrupt yours.
- TV, radio, magazines, internet and other media
The convenience this brings to drives us deeper into their system. Nowadays, with just one click, you can now buy anything you want from the internet. Thing is, we need to act like an adult that knows how to stay strong with finances.
- Product positioning
This comes in many forms, but the ultimate goal is to position their product or service in our minds. Sellers convince us. They put this image in our minds, and that is marketing.
During a significant purchase problem, extra caution is a must, Significant purchase is not anything over $300. If you have bought something without clearing it out, then you will suffer through what we call the ‘buyer’s remorse’. We will quickly feel guilty about purchasing it and regret it afterward. And what’s tricky is that even this behavior of buyers has already been practiced well by sellers. They sure know how to deal with it and how to calm people who come up to them the next morning to complain. Though it may sound manipulative but we also have to understand that this is part of their marketing process.
How do we gain power over our purchases, especially when there’s over $300 involved?
- Wait overnight before making a significant purchase.
There are only three answers to prayer: yes, no, or grow. Better wait overnight before deciding than to impulsively buy.
Proverbs 14:29 says, “He who is impulsive exalts folly.”
Folly is the verb of a fool in action.
- Carefully consider your buying motives.
No amount of stuff equals contentment or fulfillment. You have to understand that when it comes to needs vs, wants; you have already met your needs. You have food, shelter, clothing, transportation, utilities. Everything that is another take is a want, and you have to admit it. There is nothing wrong with buying pleasant things, but if you chase happiness with stuff, then that is when it all goes wrong.
- Buy nothing that you do not understand.
Nothing could be much worse than buying something then not knowing how it operates or works afterward. You’d just stare at a piece of your cash.
- Consider the opportunity cost of your money.
Think about all the opportunities you could miss if you allot your money into something.
- Always seek the counsel of your spouse.
Proverbs 31:10-11 says, “Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain.”
Learn to work together and seek her counsel. You will make better decisions.
- Always tell the absolute truth.
Chris Hogan said, “Character is one of the most important virtues in becoming a millionaire.” Tell the truth when negotiating for a price, even when it’s difficult.
- Use the power of cash.
Communicate it. Use cash to your advantage and the seller will sure know what’s up.
- Understand and use walk-away power.
Don’t act as if you care too much. Be willing to literally walk away if you have to.
- Learn to shut up.
Silence is powerful. Use it to your advantage. Do not be rude or mean. Just let the seller talk and see where it goes. Chances are they will give you a lower offer even without you saying a word.
- Practice saying ‘That’s not good enough’.
Be brave and combine this with silent treatment if you dislike what is being presented to you then you now have an impressive negotiating tactic.
- Identify the good guy, bad guy technique.
Be cautious of agents who’d like to play. Politely walk out or stop it immediately as it will go nowhere great.
- Master the ‘If I take away’ technique.
The bottom line of all of this is, if you don’t have money for it, if you didn’t budget for it, and if you will not use or enjoy it, then no matter how much amazing the deal sounds and no matter how much promising it is, then it’s a big ‘NO’ for you. Even if it is on sale, if you do not need it, then it is expensive. Keep your shields up and focus on your track— it will save you from a lot of regrets and money burnt out.