So often, we buy something, sure that we “need” it, only to find that it's not really something that we use again, or that we truly need.
Before you buy something, it's a good idea to ascertain that you actually need it, and that it fits in with your long-term financial priorities.
Before you buy something that you “need,” take a step back and determine whether you really should buy that item.
Here are 5 questions to ask yourself — answer honestly:
1. Can I Really Afford It?
First, you need to determine if you really have the money for the item. Can you truly afford it? You need to make sure that the purchase isn't going to land you in debt. Additionally, you don't want the money you spend on this item to detract from something else you might want to buy — or something that you truly do need. Make sure that the item is actually affordable before you buy.
2. What Will I Do With It?
What are your plans for the purchase? Really think about what it will accomplish in your life. Will you be able to forward a specific goal you have? Will using the item contribute to your overall quality of life? Really think about your plans for the item, and consider a realistic plan for its use.
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3. How Often Will I Use It?
Next, determine how often you will use the item. If you are buying something that you are unlikely to use more than once or twice, it doesn't often make sense to complete the purchase. There are other ways you can get what you need for a one-time use.
Be honest about how often you are likely to use something.
You might realistically use a coffee maker every day, so it makes more sense to buy one as opposed to buying a blender that you might only use a few times and then set aside. From a treadmill to high-end cross-trainers to a new book, think about how often it will be used. Don't buy items that you probably won't actually use much.
4. Do I Really Even Want It?
Figure out why you want to make that purchase. Examine your motives. Do you want to buy the item because you want it? Or are you trying to impress someone? Many of us think we want something, when really what we want is to look good in front of friends and family. Before you buy something, do some serious consideration.
If you are making a purchase primarily because you think you “should” have it, and not because you actually want it, or you believe it will make your life better, then reconsider.
5. Can I Borrow It?
If the item is something you won't use much, and something that you don't particularly care to own, it might be worth it to borrow it. If you can borrow something, it doesn't make sense to buy it — especially if you can borrow it for free, or for a low cost. If you aren't sure whether or not you will like a book, check it out of the library first. Borrow power tools that you don't use much. When something needs to be hauled (which isn't often), we borrow my parents' van.
Take the time to reconsider before you buy something. You just might find that you don't need to buy it after all.