Savings tips: What we learned from 2020’s impulse purchases

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Photo by AbsolutVision on Unsplash.

Did you purchase a lego set last year? A puzzle? Or a shiny new book fresh off the printing press?

In its recently released report - Lockdown: One Year On, eBay revealed that it received an extra one million visitors per month in 2020. Aussies searched the site for everything from gardening equipment to power tools and puzzles. In fact, shoppers dropped a huge $59 million on books alone.

Our question is, what lessons can we learn from our (sometimes) impulse purchases last year? How could we save money next time and how can we be a little bit savvier?

Borrow first mentality

Let's look at that statistic from eBay again. During the pandemic Australians collectively spent $59 million on books. That's a lot of money. Now we know new books can be tempting, but they're also expensive. You could easily drop between $20 and $50 on a paperback or hardcover. This is where the 'borrow first' mentality comes in.

In Australia, public libraries are free to join and you won't have to pay a cent to borrow books. Just think you could take home a stack of books for free, that if you'd purchased them new, could easily have set you back around $200. It sounds simple enough, but rediscovering the library really does open up a world of possibilities. Check out the Australian Libraries Gateway, to find a public library near you.

Take it for a test drive

Following on from that, before you make a big purchase really try to suss out whether it will actually be worth your while. For instance, if a hobby you fancy getting into requires a lot of expensive tools, see whether you can borrow those tools from somewhere first. That way you can determine whether or not the hobby is actually for you without wasting money on equipment you'll never use again.

'Tool libraries' are popping up across Australia. With these you can usually purchase an annual membership for less than $100. That means for one year you could have access to power tools, gardening equipment, camping gear, sewing machines and much more. If there isn't a tool library near you, do a quick internet search for what you're looking for. You may find that some companies who sell certain specialist equipment also have a hiring service. For instance, Bunnings has a hire shop for large or expensive equipment.

Failing all this, see if you can borrow what you need from a friend or neighbour. It could be the start of a beautiful, sharing friendship!

Opt for pre-loved

If you can't buy something, see if you can save money by buying it secondhand. These days there are so many ways to buy pre-loved. In person you can go to secondhand markets, charity shops or even attend a suitcase rummage. If you're looking for secondhand tech, a lot of camera shops sell refurbished equipment, including Ted's Cameras. Online there are possibly even more options. These include Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree, eBay, Carousell and Depop.

By opting to buy secondhand instead of new you'll not only be saving yourself money, but also giving an item another lease of life. It's a win-win!

Sleep on it

Last of all, if you're undecided about whether or not to buy something, sleep on it. Companies will often use scarcity tactics to persuade you to buy something right away. This could be stuff like saying 'only X amount of these left in stock,' or notifying you that someone else just bought the same item. Contrary to this, often you'll find that there really are enough resources to go around.

If you don't buy something straight away, you might even realise that you're not that fussed about it after all. Or if you wait, then the gratification you get when you finally purchase it will be even more satisfying.

So to recap, we think you could save some serious bucks by:

  • adopting a 'borrow first mentality'
  • doing a test drive before making a commitment
  • opting for secondhand
  • mulling things over before popping in your payment details.

Once you've done all that, you might find that you have a fair bit of spare change knocking around in your account. Why not put it in a high interest savings account. Head to Mozo's compare savings accounts page, or take a look at the options below. You could even save for a holiday in 2022!

Compare savings accounts - last updated 27 November 2021

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