5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Making a Purchase
It would be great if every purchase we made was carefully thought through and planned in advance. We would budget, save and only make the purchase if we could pay for it in cash, right? The truth is, almost everyone is vulnerable to making impulse purchases, both large and small. But while it can be fun in the moment, impulse shopping can also cause feelings of guilt and regret, not to mention financial hardship and debt. So how do you find the middle ground? Asking yourself these five questions will help you stop and think before making a purchase.
Do I need it?
First and foremost, determine if your prospective purchase fulfills a need or is simply something you want. If it fills a need, continue with the purchase (provided you can afford it). But if it’s just something you want, ask yourself the following questions.
What is the real cost?
Beyond the price tag, what will making this purchase cost you? Will it keep you from paying a bill or putting money away for savings? Can you pay cash or would you have to use a credit card? If you use credit, could you pay it off in the next month, or would it begin to accrue interest? When you stop and think about the true cost, there’s a good chance you’ll decide it’s not worth it.
How long will it make me happy?
Often, the initial rush of excitement from making a purchase fades quickly. Be realistic about how long this purchase will make you happy. Does it have the potential to be something that provides long-term enjoyment, or is it simply a distraction until the next shiny object catches your eye?
What do I gain by buying this?
What are you hoping to gain from making the purchase? Are you looking for status or approval from others? Do you want it because someone you know has it? Or perhaps it’s something that will genuinely improve your quality of life. When you stop to think about the ‘why’ behind your purchasing decisions, you will start choosing more carefully.
Is there something else that can bring me joy?
Many times, buying something is a default response to stress, anger or boredom. Try to find other things that give you the same satisfied, joyful feeling as making a purchase. You’ll probably feel even better if you have a long talk with a friend, do something nice for someone else, or curl up with a cup of tea and a good book.