The Three Day Rule

My impulsive streak can be one of my best points and also one of my downfalls. I love that I can decide to move to a new city in the blink of an eye or change my university course after 20 minutes mere thought (but knowing I was so right – an MA in the political news media was not for me) but I hate that I can snap at people or spend a small fortune without thinking about it.

That impulsive nature, especially when it comes to money is as much part of my DNA make up as my dark hair, weird feet and blue eyes but I’ve learnt ways to escape it. I got myself into crazy debt when I was a student because I’d just buy things on impulse and instantly regret it. I’ve learnt ways to stem my crazy impulsive spending ways and become a thrifty Mrs. See what I did there?

the three day rule

My number one way to stop impulse spending is to employ The Three Day Rule. If I see something I like that isn’t necessary to my living (food, medicine, bills) then I wait three days to mull it over. If I still want it in 3 days (and I can afford it) then I can buy it. It’s surprising the amount of times when the third day rolls around I’ll have decided I don’t actually need the item I’ve been lusting over. I like how it makes me think. It makes me decide if a pair of shoes will go with anything I have in my wardrobe. It makes me work out where exactly I’d put another bookshelf and most importantly it keeps me in check and helps me learn a little something.

How does it work with second hand things I hear you cry? In some instances it won’t – take for instance a boot sale. It won’t be there everyday and a seller may not be back even if it is. If I see something I like I ask them to put it to one side then take a walk around the entire site before deciding if I really need the item. I also set myself a very definite bootsale budget each time I go and refuse to go over it.

When it comes other second hand items, I find charity shops and second hand shops will usually put something on hold for a week if you just ask, although I tend to give them a call after my self imposed 3 days if I know I’m not going to buy it, funnily enough I don’t do that for regular shops for some reason.

It doesn’t always work for me. Sometimes that natural impulse over takes me, especially in charity shops. For the most part, especially when buying online or from high street stores I can walk away and have a think before spending the money.

Do you have a similar tactic, does it work?


P.S. Your boobs are looking cracking today.

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  1. I use this pretty much all the time… I tend to impulse buy more when I’m out rather than at home, but when I see something online I will often mull over it for 3 days (or sometimes longer) and end up not buying it! I know if I’m still thinking about it after a week that I probably should buy it. I don’t own any credit cards or whatever, I only have a £100 overdraft so I tend to be really quite thrifty and probably a bit tight most of the time haha x

  2. My boobs greatly appreciate the compliment, I must say yours are simply divine all the time! I try not to buy anything I don’t need, but I really need to be stricter with myself. I rarely go into my overdraft but as soon as I’m into it I get into an ‘oh sod it!’ state of mind. Luckily I only buy really cheap things! But I’m definitely going to take this tip on board for future potential purchases!xx

  3. Great idea and thanks Mrs T not many people say that about my giant milky udders, apart from the baby who loves my boobes and their booby juice :-D x

  4. kind of. Saw a really nice console table on Sunday, so I told the husband ‘I want it, just got to find a place for it first’. Which sounds like I was going to try really hard to create a space for it simple so we could buy it, but not so. The telly stand thing in the living room is vile, husband bought it as at temporary thing, and over a year later we’d still found nothing. The console table will work perfectly as a tv table, and in the space for it.

    Had I just demanded we buy it there and then, then got it home and found it wasn’t suitable or didn’t fit, then that would have been a big old waste of loot. Now, as soon as is poss, we can go back and buy the thing.

    So with big things like that, absolutely.

    Other things, well it depends. How many times have I kicked self for not buying something in Primark then thought obsessively about it until I’ve been able to go back and buy it.

    I never dither over shoes. Oh no, I see, I like, I buy!

    Good advice though. I got into a lot of debt in my 20′s, when I went through a ‘got to buy’ stage, and just threw anything and eveything on store cards. Stupidist thing in the world to do, and had I had more sense and walked away, then I wouldn’t have felt sick every time the post arrived crammed with bills.

  5. I always do this. I don’t have a specific time frame I just always convince myself to ‘buy it tomorrow’. Then the next day I’ll convince myself to ‘buy it tomorrow’. Normally, I get bored and don’t bother buy it, unless it’s something I really want – then it’s too difficult to wait and I’ll know if I really wanted it. It saves me money on impulse buys!


  6. As I was halfway down the post I thought exactly that – but what about second hand shops? I don’t think I’m as restrained as you but when it comes to big expensive purchases (and I can mean £80 on a pair of boots here I’m not just talking like furniture/iPads etc) I think about it for ages – research it – and keep relooking. My leather tan cowboy boots were £80 when I bought them about 7 years ago (good god!) when I was at uni & it was such a big purchase for me & I was concerned about the longevity of them. I looked at them for 3 weeks before my boyfriend finally said ‘I’ve never seen you look at something for so long just buy them!’ and I still wear them now (even if they aren’t the height of fashion anymore. I do tend to go a bit wild in the chazzas though as I think ‘if I don’t get it now it won’t be there!’ I didn’t know they put stuff away!
    Sorry essay of a comment!

    Jenni x

    Ps cheers it must be because I’ve got my good bra on today – yours aren’t looking too shabby either ;p

  7. When i think your blog can’t get anymore useful i get pinched on the bum by yet another sensible, helpful snippet of wisdom.

    btw, thanks you bobbies aint bad either.

    Jules x

  8. Why thanks, I’m wearing a new bra!

    I’m going to deploy the 3 day rule, I’m a terrible one for impulse shopping.

  9. I love it when I employ this kind of a rule and it works back for me, recently really wanted some backless tshirts in new look but thought i would wait until payday then decide again, got into the shop to find they were reduced to £4 each in the sale :) x

  10. A good rule. Still very hard to do, but we all need to try it.
    Beauty and Fashion Blog in Seattle | Cheap Makeup Reviews

  11. Oh, I’m so glad I’m not the only one! :o) I’ve done this a few times and more than once the item has been over half price in the sale a few weeks later. If I still want it then, I’ll buy it at a cheaper price :o) x

  12. I’m struggling with an overspending issue at the moment so this is really useful advice

  13. My tactic is to not go into shops when I don’t need anything. Go with a specific list/item in mind when I do and stick to it. No window shopping or just popping in for a look anymore – too much like temptation. Normally works.

    Ebay is a bugger though. I have purchased clothes and found out they look dreadful on me and they are always the no return items. Normally do this when looking for that ridiculous outfit for a snotty wedding or a formal do thing. ( Military bloke see i have to play the part at time at military functions and my preferred style just isn’t appropriate as it can cause tut’s and head shakes and then bugger up careers – sad but true. The officer and a gentleman thing with Debra Winger is a load of bull!!!!

  14. I’m struggling with an overspending issue at the moment so this is timely advice. Thanks!

  15. For a 17 year old I’m actually really stingy a lot of the time! The three day rule is a really good idea as I mostly buy from highstreet/online stores xxx

    P.S. my boobs are flattered (or maybe just flat?), thank you!

  16. I’m quite tight with purchases- the annoying one who tries on one thing 100000 times before buying and holds everyone else up! My tactic is to shop alone… with mates, sometimes I with buy quickly because I know I’m holding folk up, or not really concentrate, or end up buying something THEY love (and temporarily convinced me I should too).

    • I’ve started to use clipix to group together all the things I want to buy. I can see how they will work with things I already own and it emails me to say if they go into the sale.

    • I’m exactly the same but I always spend aaages online before I go shopping so I know what I want – even still I take an age!

  17. I use that idea when it comes to internet shopping too – I will visit a site, fill my shopping basket with the things I am convinced I *need* and then leave the site without writing anything down. Then a few days later I will go back and look through again and I will remember the things I really want but quite often there will be things that I forget about that obviously weren’t so important!

  18. Yup, I’m another one who does this too!

    Especially with internet shopping. Most of the time I fill my basket up and then just abandon it an hour later! haha. We are such fickle creatures.


  19. I’ve used that before but now I usually just tend to avoid going shopping unless i need something and have money! :) xxx

  20. My friend once told me to only buy something if I was absolutely in love with it, and that has really stuck with me! I think I’ve saved a fortune on clothes since repeating that mantra x

  21. I do that sometimes. Sometimes I will see something in a shop I may like it but not enough to buy it but then I’ll leave it for a few days and see whether I still want it. I’m currently doing that with a bag which I’m waiting to go on sale.

  22. That’s a great idea! I just spend and spend and then I have no money left. Not good really!
    Great post love from Laura!x

  23. I actually did this accidentally – I spotted a pair of hemp sheets in the charity shop last week and kind of forgot about them. A few days later they started preying on my mind and I suddenly thought of something I could do with them! When I went back they were still there and I am delighted with them! If I’d bought them on impulse I’d have felt a bit guilty about them. Now it feels like a triumph that they were still there…

    And in general, the three day rule is a great one. Sometimes I leave it much longer – for example, if there’s something fashionable in blogging/magazines I leave it for weeks or even months before buying it. That way I know if it’s just a passing case of ‘blogging envy’ or if it’s something I really will like in the long term.

  24. Very clever, and something I often wish I did! I’m always impulse buying, not using and three days later thinking I really wish I hadn’t got this and cut the label off/lost the box. I’m going through a very skint patch right now so I will using this clever little tip until pay day! Thanks! xx

  25. I know I should do this, but never do. I’m so impulsive with shopping – buy now, regret later. I’m going to try harder! x

  26. Loving the 3 days rule! i am a serial take-backer if its high-street bought – I get some sort of kick out of spending the money in the first place and then getting it BACK. ha! I have my Nan to blame for this – she taught me all i know.

    When it comes to second hand (charity shop or bootsale) then i tend to buy – i get panicked that it might “go”. Sigh.

  27. thats SUCH a good idea! i think this could be applied to many things, not just when buying things. definitely going to start living by the three day rule. thankyou!
    nicola xxx

  28. This is a really good idea, I am very impulsive, I got into a little bit of debt in my first year at Uni purely because of impulsive shopping, I have nothing to show from it but a load of clothes and shoes I don’t really need! x
    Sirens and Bells

  29. Thats a really good idea im going to have to start doing this.. I am really good at saving but then i have odd days where i just buy stuff…Infact im going to start now… i saw a pair of leggings today i really wanted, kind of cosmic print leggings, but i talked myself out of it will see if i still want them when im on my holidays :D

  30. I do yhis. I’m on a tight budget anyway. In those three days I decide if I can make something similar cheaper, budget some more etc. More often than not I don’t go back. It’s difficult with charity shops and boot sales though.

    Laura xo

  31. what a great day! xx

  32. idea, even, what day?! hhahhahah! xx

  33. When I shop online I add things to my basket but then when I come to checking it if I can’t remember what’s in there I take that as a good sign I don’t really want it xxx

  34. Great post! I have this kind of rule too, I imposed it on my self after my first ever student loan and how I spent it all within weeks :(
    My rule is ‘flexible’ is if something is in the sale, or if I really need it for an event (that’s in a few months!) then it goes down to a day, but as I tend to do most of my shopping online, eBay or other stores then I leave it in my basket for a week, then decide
    Daniella x

  35. If I’m shopping online I can usually give myself a few days to see if I really want it. But if I’m in a store it’s a little harder. Especially if I’m in the city; there’s more stores in the city that my town doesn’t have so it’s a little harder to walk away and decide later.

    A Bite of Glamour

  36. I’m totally the opposite, I never buy stuff on an impulse because I’m always scared I won’t like it later! Then I come back home and feel really annoyed with myself because I didn’t buy anything and don’t want to pay delivery or have to wait, haha!

  37. My tip for high street shopping is to take out a certain amount of cash, instead of paying by card, and only use that amount. That way you’ll inevitably spend less, and I hate coming back from shopping with “no money left” so if I take out eighty quid I will usually only spend 60 or so

  38. I have a similar rule – I don’t think I have enough will power for three days but if I am still constantly thinking about it I will go back and keep my fingers crossed its still there! x

  39. Love the rule but shocked by your lie…
    My boobs do not look cracking. I could literally tie them in a bow. They look slacking, not cracking, love.
    Btw met a woman this week who carries lupus anti body. She has had very rough time. X x x x

  40. I definitely need to employ this rule, so often I go shopping and buy things I really don’t need, or I’ll see things I ‘must’ have but three days later can’t even remember what they are… brilliant tip! :) xxx

  41. I use this rule – only I leave it a week. It definitely helps! :) x

  42. This is a fantastic tip! I’m such an impulsive person, if I decide on something it happens instantly, whether it’s good or bad… it’s usually bad so I’m definitely going to start using this as a way of stopping myself. Thank you! Jacob xxx

  43. I’ve had to begin using a similar rule. I will leave a store and if I still want it after, the next day, etc then I usually go back and purchase it. I am an impulsive person and a lot of time I’ve bought things and instantly regretted it as soon as I got home.

  44. I’m really good at using this rule. The one thing I do struggle with is impulse buying food though. I can’t leave it for 3 days as…well…it’s food and I am craving whatever I want NOW. But I can easily ignore the boring stuff I already have at home that I could make a lunch with because I WANT THAT YUMMY BOX OF SUSHI AND SOME CAKE. If you can come up with an excellent tip that works on combating this I would love you forever as I’d have so much more money if I could fight it.

  45. I apply the “love” rule. The rule which states that you know you’re in love when you think about that person for a month. If I keep thinking about it, for more than 3 weeks (close to a month) I go buy it because then I know I have no regrets… 3 day is too short of a period for a passionate impulsive person like me… I find myself returning it a week later out of regret.

  46. 3 days is too short of a period for me. I often ponder about it for at least 2 weeks before I give myself one last time to back out and then deciding to buy it.

    I find that giving myself less than a week often results in me returning to the store to return it out of guilt/lack of interest.

  47. You look gorgeous here, love the curly hair! Thanks I thought my boobs were looking particularly resplendent today! Great idea, I need to employ this tactic – I’m definitely a I want it now type of person!

  48. This is a really good rule – I was like you, I got in to crazy debt when I was a student, and have clawed myself back from it now. I am crazily impulsive and have a little interal fight every time I want to buy something – I also suffer from the ‘oh no… why did I buy that…’ afterwards – but that soon passes when I’ve moved on to my next purchase ;) Not so much these days, I have a ‘thrifty’ husband to keep me on the straight and narrow :) It’s hard though isn’t it? Trying to fight the ‘natural’ pangs to spend money.

    Georgina :)

  49. Great photos. xx

  50. Thank you for sharing a little bit of your story about accumulating debt. Reading your blog regularly I just assumed that you were one of those naturally thrifty people that I am jealous of! Like you I did a lot of financial damage at uni. When I look back at what I spent money on I am astounded. I am trying to mend my ways now. It is hard but I am getting better. All your tips are so helpful so thank you for your fab blog!

  51. Hi! I’m a new follower! For the most part, I try to wait a few days after I see something to decide or not whether or not I really want it or need it. My husband on the other hand has no impulse control lol.
    From Jenny at

  52. Definitely the way to go, walking away and leaving it definitely helps to separate the wheat from the chaff!

    Maria xxx

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