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Why these shoppers regret their Amazon Prime Day purchases

Key Points
  • It's common to splurge on Amazon Prime Day and regret the purchase later — and many people do.
  • Now that Prime Day is over, you might be looking back at some of your purchases and wishing you had thought twice before clicking "buy."
  • Here's are some tips from a financial planner on what to do next.
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Amazon's 48-hour Prime Day is over, which means regret over some of your purchases might be sinking in.

You're not alone.

Eddie McNamara, a 43-year-old cook in New York, still regrets his Prime Day purchase of two Instant Pots — one for him and one for his sister — back in 2016. He spent around $60 on each of the pots, which have been popular items since the first Prime Day was held four years ago.

"I kind of got wrapped up in Prime Day," McNamara said. "I saw it was on sale and got overexcited."

McNamara said he made a few recipes with the pot that turned out badly. His sister never even took hers out of the box.

"I ended up sort of hating the thing," McNamara said. "It was haunting me, this lousy purchase."

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Katie Raffa, an executive assistant in New York, snapped up a $65 juicer during last year's Prime Day, thinking it was a bargain.

"It ended up sitting in my closet really high up, where I can't reach it, for 11 months," Raffa said. "I regretted making an impulse purchase that I wasn't going to use."

She ended up regifting it at a wedding last month.

We think we're the only ones who splurge. We feel like we're the only ones who made a mistake.
Brent Weiss
co-founder of Facet Wealth

Impulse purchases are common. In 2017 a survey conducted by personal finance website finder.com found that 88.6% of American adults have impulsively shopped, each spending on average $81.75 per shopping session.

Events like Amazon Prime Day can trigger uncontrollable spending, said April Lane Benson, a psychologist and author who specializes in compulsive shopping.

A sense of urgency kicks in when there's a buzz around a deal, encouraging shoppers to whip out the plastic.

"You think you're never going to get this kind of deal again, " she said.

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Don't beat yourself up

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"We think we're the only ones who splurge," said Brent Weiss, certified financial planner and co-founder of Facet Wealth. "We feel like we're the only ones who made a mistake."

Forgiving yourself is the first step to learning from the mistake and ensuring it doesn't happen again, he said.

Return, regift or sell

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Act quickly to return your impulse purchase.

Most items you buy from Amazon can be returned within 30 days of receipt, according to the company's return policy.

Different rules may apply to digital products, baby items and prepaid phone and game cards.

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Further, if you buy an item from a third-party seller on Amazon, that merchant might have a different return policy.

If you can't return the item, try to sell it. Websites and apps such as eBay, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, LetGo and OfferUp can help you find a new home for your purchase.

Another option is regifting the item, as Raffa did.

Adjust your budget

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Draw up your budget and commit to it.

Weiss uses a vision board to track his progress toward different goals, including vacations and saving for retirement.

"You want to hack your mind and not your money," he said, adding that seeing our plans visually can make us act differently.

It's particularly important to do this when you're behind, like after a splurge. "It will get you back in the balance," Weiss said.

Learn from the splurge

Avoid dramatic changes, such as cutting out all discretionary spending, said Weiss. "Small changes over time add up. You don't have to cut out all the fun stuff."

Prepare for the next Prime Day so that you don't blow your budget. Start by making a list of items you actually will need, and buy only what you will use, Weiss said.

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Retail

Retailers should thank Amazon: Adobe estimates the size of a Prime Day bump

Key Points
  • Amazon's Prime Day is fueling other retailers' online sales, Adobe Analytics finds.
  • Target, Walmart, eBay, Macy's, Best Buy and others are offering deals this week to compete.