20 Things to Consider Before Buying Something
Ever clean your home and come across things you regret buying?
Finding things like clothes with the tags on or items still in the box suggests you should be more intentional with your spending. When you think before you buy, you make smart money choices. You also end up with less clutter and more money in your pocket.
Here are 20 questions to ask yourself before buying something:
Do I Need It?
Is the product you are considering something you need, or is it simply something you want?
Brands work hard to get you to believe you can’t live without their product, and you deserve it. Their only objective is to get you to buy. They don’t care whether you need it or can afford it.
The more you believe the hype, the more likely you’ll be to buy it. That’s not in your best interests. Acting in your own best interests leads to making more financially sound decisions.
Be honest with yourself. Could you live without it? You can confidently pass if you could see yourself making do without it or only using it once in a blue moon.
Do I Already Have Something Similar?
Some things break, wear out, or need replacing. Other things just accumulate.
How many t-shirts, tubes of lipstick, or coffee mugs do you need? If you’re not shopping for a replacement item, sticking to a one in, one out rule stops clutter before it starts.
Why Do I Want This?
Getting clarity on why you want something often leads to fewer impulse purchases. If you take a step back and ask yourself why you want something, you might find you don’t have a good reason for purchasing it. You might be making unnecessary costly purchases based on feelings and emotions like:
- Fear of missing out
- Trying to make yourself feel better through retail therapy
- Peer or family pressure
- Wanting to earn praise or attention from others
Make sure your reasons are solid. Letting emotions guide purchase habits is how many people end up with overwhelming credit card debts. If you can remove emotions from financial decisions, you’ll make the right choice more often than not.
Can I Afford It?
Do you have the money for the item right now, or are you considering taking on debt to pay for it? Will the money you spend today prevent you from buying something else you truly need? If you could picture having trouble making rent, keeping the lights on, or not having money for essential purchases, it’s not affordable.
Living below your means is one of the fundamental principles of sound money management. Impulse purchases and lousy shopping habits can lead to months or years of financial struggle. Make sure you can afford any potential purchase before going through with it.
How Many Hours Will I Need To Work To Pay for This?
Thinking about how many hours you have to work to buy a particular item is sobering. It will make you think twice, especially if you don’t like your job much.
You’ll be able to determine whether your purchase is worth the price. It might also stop you from making an impulse decision.
How Often Will I Use or Wear It?
Is your basement filled with unused products that seemed like a good idea? Do you have pieces of clothing or a pair of shoes in the back of your closet you’ve only worn once or not at all?
Before buying that dream item or adding another black dress to your wardrobe, ask yourself how often you see yourself using or wearing it. Could you picture ignoring it or growing sick of it within a couple of months?
Be realistic. Today’s kitchen gadget or trendy item of clothing might be tomorrow’s clutter.
Am I Getting the Best Price?
Comparison shopping is essential when making a large purchase or buying expensive items. Check online sellers and shops in your area. Research sales cycles and find the best time to buy the item you’re considering.
Getting the best price is also important when buying things you use in your everyday life. For example, if you read the sales flier and plan meals around sale items, you could significantly lower your food budget. By not paying full price for anything at the supermarket, the savings are automatic.
Am I Buying This Only Because It’s On Sale?
Everyone loves a bargain. Fear of missing out is a powerful motivator. That’s why bargain prices and limited-time offers are so enticing.
If you buy something you otherwise wouldn’t or buy too much of something you end up wasting, you’re not getting a bargain. Ask yourself if you would buy it at full price. If the answer is no, you’re probably only considering it based on the current price, or it’s something you don’t need.
Save 100% of the sale price by walking away.
Is There a Cheaper Option?
If you only use your laptop for email, browsing the web, and streaming entertainment, you don’t need the latest tech or the price tag that goes with it. It’s easy to fall in love with all the bells and whistles, but are there more affordable options that would suit your needs just as well?
A higher price does not always equal higher quality or more usefulness. Whether it’s the latest tech toy or designer shoes, getting the same value from cheaper items is better for your financial health. Reaching for the priciest or most current items every time instead of looking for alternatives costs you a lot of money in the long run.
Can I Buy It Used or Borrow It?
There are plenty of options for buying gently used products. Purchase secondhand stuff on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, garage sales, and local consignment shops. You can save a lot of money on power tools, appliances, exercise equipment, and more.
Borrowing from a friend, family member, or neighbor before making an expensive purchase is also a good option. You get to try before you buy. You may find that you don’t like or don’t need something after the first use.
Can It Wait?
You need certain products and services right away. If there’s no doubt you need it immediately, buy it. If it’s non-essential and you can get by without it, try the 30-day rule.
The 30-day rule will help you curb impulse purchases. Instead of spending your money on something you don’t need right now, delay the purchase for 30 days. After 30 days have passed, go ahead if you still want to make that purchase and can afford it.
What Is the Return Policy?
Whether it’s buyer’s remorse, coming to your senses, or buying a lemon, you might want your money back at some point. Check the store’s return policy in case you decide to return your purchase.
Know how long you have to return the item and what is required. Keep your receipt and the original packaging until you’re sure you don’t want a refund. Be aware of any restocking fees or shipping costs.
Do I Have the Space for It?
Depending on what type of item or how much of something you’re buying, space could be an issue. Buying in bulk or stockpiling only works if you have the storage space. If you’re buying something large like furniture, figure out if you have room for it or are willing to rearrange things.
Additional Questions to Consider
While many of the previous questions will help you avoid unnecessary spending, there are other essential questions to ask yourself before buying a product. You might also want to ask:
- Who is behind the product?
- Where is the item made?
- Is the product produced responsibly and sustainably?
- How do you get support if you need it?
- What does the warranty cover?
- What is the resale value?
- What will the seller do with your personal information?
Nobody likes parting with their hard-earned cash only to feel stuck, swindled, or like they’re supporting a dodgy company.
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