Let’s face it. Not everyone likes to shop, but we can all agree that buying things is fun. What a joy it is to see something and picture yourself wearing it, just turning heads. Or imagine a splurge on that dream vacation you’ve always wanted to take. You get the feeling that by buying “it” your life may change for the better. But there’s a catch…You have to pay for it, and if you’re financially smart you’ll be paying for it as long as you have it (or longer). Before you get out of control, here are 5 questions to ask your before you splurge on your next purchase to help you spend smarter!
Do You Really Need It?
Unless you are starving, naked, and homeless, you probably don’t actually need the item in question. But since everything is not as absolute, and you have to decide where this particular purchase falls in the need spectrum. If the car you drive is unreliable, then you may very well be in the need for a new car. Maybe the flashy make and model is a stretch for your budget, but you do need reliable transportation.
Are you buying new shoes because yours are worn out, or because they are even more fabulous than the other 20 pair in your closet? Every time a new iPhone version is released, there are people lining up for it outside of Apple stores. Are all of their phones broken?
Is This the Best Price?
You see it, you want it. You hate to kill that rush of shopping by sound decision making, but take a moment and think before you buy. Are you paying a higher price because you are at a mall or a high-end boutique? If this is the first time you’ve seen this item, may be available elsewhere for a lower price.
People make impulse purchases on overseas vacation quite frequently, only to come home and find things available at a large discount. Resist the temptation to buy immediately. Enjoy the excitement of finding the product, and then ignore those good feelings for the sake of responsibility. You can always buy it later, maybe even at a better price. That’s an even better feeling.
Will I Go into Debt to Have This?
Most of us have debt. Even the wealthy incur debt, few of us buy our homes using cash or by writing a check for the full amount. We have to go into debt for such purchases.
But should you go into debt for a dress? A Caribbean vacation? Be honest with yourself about where this expense will put you financially, and if it is worth the risk. You might well be able to handle the monthly payments on a credit card, how much interest are you paying month after month while the balance remains?
You may be living beyond your means! When you live like that, you may never get out of debt. Credit card companies make it quite easy for us to fall into this trap and their convenience can make us forget we are spending real money.
What Other Costs Will I Incur?
You might have saved enough money for the car, but what about the insurance, the gas, the maintenance and the repairs? Even if your car is paid off, there will always be expenses connected to it.
You fell in love with that puppy and you would love to take him home. Have you thought about the veterinary care, it may need, even right away? Do you have enough money to meet his ongoing needs? Puppies grow into bigger dogs who eat more food, need grooming, dog walking, etc.
Purchasing a house is a commitment to a lifetime of maintenance and repairs. At any time you could be dealing with a roof leak, furnace and appliance failure, plumbing and electrical issues. Just remember that the bottom line is not always the bottom line when it comes to buying something.
Should I Spend More for Higher Quality?
It seems contradictory to tell you to spend more money, but sometimes that is the wise thing to do. How many vacuum cleaners have you purchased? You can get one for $100 or so, but you might be buying another in two years. Mattresses are quite expensive, but there are some that will still be in good shape after you leave this earth.
Higher quality means generally has an increased expense, but also increased durability and headaches in the long run. Think about your splurge and decide if the more expensive item will last you longer and be more worth the money.
So, are you still going to buy it? Hopefully, your shopping experience wasn’t ruined by all of these questions, because they are important ones to ask.
Don’t ruin the thrill of shopping by buying something you don’t need, can’t afford, or that you could pay less for. Evaluate before you splurge and you will find it much more enjoyable.
How to control your spending so you aren’t Splurging all the time?