4 Questions To Ask Before You Buy Anything
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If you find that you’re the type of person who spends money on things that you don’t really need, you’re definitely not alone. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to Target for one thing and walked out spending $200 or more. Whether it’s cute new clothes, movies I’ve been wanting to watch, or something that I think would look nice in our apartment… There’s always something that I want to buy.
This wouldn’t be too much of a problem if I had unlimited money to spend all the time. But that’s obviously not the case. My husband and I keep a (mostly) strict budget and we’re putting all of our efforts into paying off our debt. In order to avoid unnecessary spending, I try to avoid the stores that I know I end up overspending at.
That being said, I still have to go to Target semi-regularly because it’s the only place that sells the lactose-free milk that I like. Plus I still go to TJ Maxx or HomeGoods if there’s something we actually need for our apartment. Because I still have to go to the stores that I have a habit of overspending at, I had to figure out a way to cut the habit.
The last few times I’ve gone to Target, I’ve gotten the things I need without buying anything that I don’t. I’ve gone to Marshall’s and HomeGoods and walked out without spending a single dollar. So how have I done it? By simply asking myself a few questions before I buy anything.
Here are four questions to ask yourself before you buy anything:
Are You Only Buying It Because It’s On Sale?
There’s nothing I love more than a good sale, and I’m the type who rarely buys anything for full price. That being said, a sale isn’t a great deal if you don’t need the item in the first place. So take a breath before you buy anything. Think about whether you really need it or whether you’re being swayed by marketing. Try to remember that saving money still means that you’re spending money that you don’t need to spend.
There’s one thing in particular that I do to figure out if I actually need something or if I’m just being drawn in by a good deal. I put it in my cart or carry it around the store for awhile while I consider it. The majority of the time, I decide that I don’t actually need it and I put it back. Another option is to leave the store and consider whether you need it after you leave. Chances are that you’ll decide you don’t need it. However, if you do, you can always go back and get it.
Can You Get It For Less?
There’s no point paying more for the same product if you don’t have to. Before you make a purchase, it’s worth doing a quick search to see if you could be saving. Before I buy anything in a store, I check to see if I can get it cheaper on Amazon. With Prime free two-day shipping, there’s no point in spending more for something in the store when I can buy it for less and have it delivered two days later.
Something else to consider is whether or not you can buy the item second-hand to get it at a significantly reduced price. You’re probably not going to want to get everything second-hand. However, you can save a lot of money by buying second-hand when it makes sense to.
There’s nothing more annoying than realizing that you could get something much cheaper after you’ve already bought it. Make sure you consider cheaper alternatives before taking things home.
Can You Afford It?
This is a big one. In today’s world of credit cards and loans, it’s easier than ever to get access to cash when you need (or want) it. There’s no point putting yourself into debt to buy things, especially if they’re things you don’t even need. Don’t get into a situation where you’re gaining interest and struggling to make monthly payments.
Instead, consider how much you could save each month and start setting that money aside until you’ve saved enough to make the purchase. It will feel so much better to buy something that you’ve saved for, rather than something that you’re going to have to struggle to pay off.
Do You Need To Buy It?
There are plenty of websites out there in which you can trade or swap items, so it may be a good idea to check these before you commit to a purchase. You also may have a friend or family member that would be willing to loan you something that you need for a short time.
You could also look into rental options. Things like outdoor equipment and power tools are highly expensive but you may only need them once. I went on a weekend snowshoeing trip many years ago and instead of buying snowshoes, I rented them from REI. I ended up spending $30 instead of $200+ on something I knew I’d only use once.
There’s no point in buying something unless you’re going to get a lot of use out of it.
Get In The Habit
Get into the habit of asking yourself each of these four questions before you buy anything and you will find that you should reduce your buying habits. There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself from time to time, but there’s no point in buying endless things that aren’t going to add any value to your life.
Loved this post? Read 10 Steps To Change Your Broke Financial Mindset Into An Abundant Financial Mindset
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