Everyone has felt that dreadful feeling after you make a large purchase and realize that you have made a mistake. Perhaps you don't realize for months or years later, but you eventually understand what a waste of money the item was.
Mistakes like this may have:
- Lead to you shaking your head.
- Thinking about how you could have spent your money on other things that were more worthwhile.
- Regret about the purchase.
- Being mad at yourself for wasting money.
- Going into debt.
However, you don't have to make that same mistake again.
Before you complete your next large purchase, you should ask yourself several questions to make sure that it is actually worthwhile.
Note: A “large purchase” can be whatever you want it to be. Maybe it's an item that's $50, or perhaps it's something that's $1,000.
Whatever the amount may be, asking yourself a few questions can help save you lots of money over the long haul. Plus, taking steps to make sure you don’t make another purchasing mistake can help you can get rid of that regret you have from previous mistakes.
Here are some great questions to ask yourself before making your next large purchase.
1. Can I afford it?
Before you ask yourself any other question when making a large purchase, you should most definitely make sure that affordability is a top priority.
If you can't afford it, then you should not be getting it.
It's really that simple.
You shouldn't be wasting your time on an item you cannot afford, putting yourself into unplanned high-interest rate debt, or anything else in order to make a large purchase happen.
2. How long did it take to earn the money to pay for it?
Before making the large purchase, you may want to think about how long it took you to earn money for the item you are wanting.
This may help you decide whether or not the item is truly worth it.
Just think about it: If something is $100 and you make $20 an hour, then you had to work 5 hours in order to purchase it. If you still think it's worthwhile after considering this simple question, then it may be worthwhile. If you don't think working 5 hours is worth it for the item, then you may end up regretting the purchase later.
3. What else is the item going to cost?
Just because you make a purchase doesn't mean that you are completely done paying for it. There are ongoing costs for things such as homes, cars, and more.
Before making a large purchase, you should think about how much something is going to cost you in the long run. This can be applied in many ways such as:
- How much are you paying in interest? Thinking about how much you are spending each day, month, and year can help keep you figure out how you are going to pay off your debt quicker.
- How much will it cost to maintain? Cars, homes, and other items have maintenance costs, which, depending on what you are purchasing, can vary widely.
- What future items will need to be bought as well? If you bring home a pet for your family, you should think about all of the future costs and everything else that goes into adopting a new animal family member.
Remember to always add up the total cost!
4. What else could I spend this amount of money on?
Before making a large purchase, you may want to think about what other items you could possibly use this money to purchase.
This may help you realize that you have other goals and items that you want to buy even more.
This can help you decide whether or not you truly need to make the purchase.
5. What mistakes have I made in the past with a big purchase?
You should always ask yourself if similar decisions in the past have made you happy, or if you have felt regret.
Reflecting on past decisions can help you realize if you are making the right decision now, or you may all of a sudden remember a bad purchasing mistake you made in the past.
You never know, you may be about to make the same large purchase mistake yet again!
6. Can the large purchase wait 24 hours?
If the purchase can wait 24 hours, then you should delay it. This will allow you to think about the purchase longer, let any butterflies you have about the purchase go away, and so on.
You will be able to make a much more rational decision about a large purchase after you think about it for at least 24 hours.
Plus, for all you know, you may even realize that you don't need the item at all!
The longer you can delay a purchase, the better off you may be. As more time passes, you may even forget about the item, which means that you most likely do not need it.
7. Where can I find the best value?
Have you shopped around at other stores before ending your search? If not, then you should be searching as many places as you realistically can, both offline and online.
Prices can vary widely from store to store, as well as offline and online, so you should try your hardest to find the best value.
8. Can I borrow the item from someone else?
If the item isn’t something you need forever, then you should definitely think about just borrowing it from someone or even renting it.
This can save you a lot of money, plus you won't have to store it.
Also, always be sure to return the favor!
9. Where am I going to put this large purchase?
Now that we live in an RV, we ask ourselves this question about nearly every item that we think about buying. When you live in a tiny space, pretty much everything needs to have a designated space, and there's no such thing as “making space” in an RV.
Even if you live in a “normal” home, though, you will need to determine where you are going to store what you have just purchased.
If there's no spot for it, then there's a chance that you won't need it.
10. Is there a return policy?
When making a large purchase, return policies are especially important. Plus, if you're not 100% sure on an item, you will want to have the option to return it and receive your money back.
You should see what their return policy is, if you'll get cash or credit back, what the timeframe for a return is, any warranty information, and more.
11. Do I really need it?
Finally, the last question you should ask yourself is if you actually need the item. It sounds easy enough, but many people do not even think about asking this question. When it fact, it is one of the most important questions to ask when making a large purchase (or any for that matter).
Really dig deep and ask yourself this simple question. Sure, you might think you need the item, but is it more of a want or a need?
“Wants” are fine, but you do want to be realistic with your budget and your spending. If you are living paycheck to paycheck, have a large amount of high-interest rate debt, or anything else, then you may want to skip any large splurges for now and stick to what you truly need.
What questions do you tend to ask yourself before making a large purchase? How has this saved you money in the past?
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