Applying the 10 Second Rule to Your Purchasing Decisions


10-secondsGrowing up I was taught a simple rule to control my anger and emotional outbursts.  This was simply referred to as the “10 second rule.”  Whenever I was about to blow a gasket or even consider doing something inspired by my temper my parents said I should simply count to ten backwards very slowly.  Oddly enough this worked for me and helped calm me down before I did something I’d mostly likely regret. in the future.

Now anytime I get emotional about things I take the same approach.  If I’m negotiating for a car or for a large purchase I never buy the first time I’m there, but for smaller purchases I can use the same 10 second rule taught to me many years ago.  Whenever I’m interested in something at the store I think about it for at least ten seconds before deciding whether or not it will be a good purchase.

Often even after ten seconds I’ll walk away from the item and come back to “rinse and repeat” by going through the ten second rule again.  Doing this even once greatly reduces my impulse buying and often makes finding something that I really want or need a difficult task.

I find fun in weird things, but I think the challenge of finding a product that actually fits after giving it the 10 second rule test is more fun than buying products on impulse.  It also greatly reduces my chances of tossing the product or returning it down the road.

So what do I think of when I’m standing there with a product in my view for 10 seconds?  I think of where it will be in six months, how often I’ll actually use it, and how much work I have to do to purchase it.  If I’m buying a $100 object and I make $10 an hour (after tax of course), that product just cost me 10 hours of my life.  I’d much rather invest 10 seconds of my life debating the product than spend 10 hours working to pay for it, wouldn’t you?

So the next time you’re in the store and are really excited about that new product or possible purchase, simply count to ten before making your purchasing decision.  You’ll be surprised the difference of ten seconds can make.


I’ve done something like your 10 second rule – just backwards. I pick up the item and carry it around the store for awhile. Most times just the thrill of having it in my possession for 5 minutes is enough and I put it back on the shelf.