4 questions to ask before you buy that next “thing”

4 questions to ask before you buy that next “thing”

Morning!

Found this draft in my inbox this morning and realized I never finished it!!

Not sure if that was done on purpose because it was lame, or if I was just being way too lazy/forgetful, but either way we’re about to find out! 😉

It was inspired by an article on Vice’s new personal finance site, FREE, that covered the 6 questions everyone should ask themselves before spending money.

Here were the 6 questions, which I agree are all pretty great:

  1. Why am I here?
  2. How do I feel?
  3. Do I need this?
  4. What if I wait?
  5. How will I pay for it?
  6. Where will I put it?

That first one was KEY for me when starting my own journey. So many times I’d find myself at the mall or at Best Buy or any other big box stores simply because I was bored!! I never really showed up to buy anything specific, however time after time again I’d always leave with at least an item or two (or ten)…

It wasn’t until my first “No Spend” challenge when I caught myself doing this, and for the past 10 years since I’m proud to say that I’ve been Bored-Shopping-free 🙂 And saving nearly $200/mo because of it!

How do I feel? Another excellent question… Because most people shop when they’re either extremely sad or extremely happy (or bored!), so catching yourself before you pull out that credit card can also do wonders. (Or better yet – hide your money somewhere the second you start feeling those emotions bubbling up!! Haha…)

Do I need this? and Where do I put it? are also very smart ones, but even better – and one I’ve never heard of put in such a simple way – is the What if I wait?

Love it! What would happen if you waited??? Other than your wallet being fuller?? 🙂 Personally I tend to forget about things within moments of walking away from them, but on the off times I can’t stop thinking about an item it only helps reassure to me that it’s something I probably do really need or want inside. And in which case I go back and buy it! (Sometimes even on sale by then!)

Of course, the trick with ALL of these questions is actually *forcing yourselves to ask them* before you scoop up the stuff, which isn’t always the most natural/exciting, haha…

So I’ve actually come up with my *own* set of questions over the years to pepper myself with, and 9 out of 10 times they’ll do the trick:

#1) Would I actually wear or use this item right out of the store?? This is my go-to question whenever I can’t tell if I really want to buy an article of clothing/book/food or basically anything else in life… If I wouldn’t consume or make use of the item *right there on the spot* (like wearing out a new shirt or opening a book as soon as I buy it), then chances are I’ll hesitate doing it later too! Because when you first pick up an item you’re always at your peak excitement! So if you don’t want to use it right then and there, then what are the odds you’re going to want to later??

#2) Would I rather have this item right now or cash money instead? One of the most simplest – and painfully obvious! – questions you can ask, but BOY does it punch a whopper! Haha… Because often times you ALWAYS prefer the money BECAUSE IT’S MONEY!! Yet how many of us are quick to turn it over for something new and shiny before giving its actual value some good attention?! Which leads us to the next great question to ask…

#3) Would I pay *double* for this?? This is when you REALLY know whether you want or need something, haha… Not that you’d necessarily put it down if the answer was “no”, but it helps you gauge the perceived value of an item MUCH quicker right there in the moment. Which of course you’d want to be higher than the asking price – real or otherwise – if you’re going to be ponying up for it.

And then lastly, which is mainly for *getting rid of stuff* than bringing home new things: #4) Would I go out and buy this thing all over again? If your immediate reaction is “NOPE!” then you have your answer right there, and it’s time to get it out the door once and for all 😉 Which I also hear is a helpful question in examining relationships too! Haha… (“If I could go back in time, would I start dating this guy/girl/friend all over again??”)

Those are the 4 questions that have worked wonders for me, anyways 🙂 Maybe you have your own that helps keep your spending in check?

We’re not always in as much control as we’d like to think! That brain of ours can be a tricky thing!

 

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