Wise people are frugal. Even though social media, television, or mobile applications are riddled with ads, frugal people don’t bat an eye when they see advertisements of products they don’t need.
Advertisements are designed to manipulate our choices in a way we do not even realize, leading to overspending. Thus, you have to keep a level head when presented with an opportunity to buy and ask yourself these questions first.
- Is it necessary?
Before checking out items on your cart, you have to assess whether it falls under the category of needs, wants, or discounted items. Sometimes, we can also trick ourselves into thinking that a product is necessary even though we know deep down that it is not. However, it is acceptable if it is just a want, especially if it is a reward for your hard work. Still, you have to be mindful and intentional with your purchases. Otherwise, you’ll see yourself piled up with unnecessary things exchanged for your hard-earned money. Plus, those unnecessary things can consume space that can be used for essential things instead.
If you’re still itching to buy something after thoughtful consideration, ask yourself follow-up questions:
- “How long will I be using it?” You’d like to consider this since the item can be functional at first but can end up in the trash or be kept in storage.
- “Until when will it make me happy?” If you buy out of sheer happiness, that’s okay. Just take into account that happiness is fleeting, and money can be hard to earn.
- “Is there something else that will give me joy?” Some people buy things out of pure boredom. Take a look at what you have and other activities that you can enjoy first before deciding that such a purchase will be the source of your happiness.
- Can I afford it?
Financial gurus usually discourage people from using credit cards, particularly people who do not have self-control and are prone to falling into a debt trap. Yes, swiping is easy, which makes the fight against temptation harder. However, you won’t want to end up in bad personal debts, primarily for things that you couldn’t afford in the first place. There is a follow-up question you need to answer to know whether you can afford something: “Have I saved enough for my emergency fund?” This three to six months’ worth of rainy day savings should be prioritized.
- Is the product worth it?
If something seems to be affordable, ask yourself what the hidden costs are. People tend to have a late realization that their purchase is actually several times higher than its original price. This is especially true for big purchases since the entrepreneurs will present payment structures that will convince you that you are getting a good deal.
For example, buying a car will require you to refill gas, pay tolls, get insurance, and do maintenance.
Also, it’s easy to fall in love with a house, especially when you and your partner have been searching for a long time. Though you might be tempted to sign the deal immediately, do not forget to conduct a full home inspection, do a background check on the homeowners, do your due diligence, and compute the hidden costs. Most people think that a house is a good investment, and it is—when the time comes and the value appreciates. However, there are tons of hidden costs in owning one, and you should be prepared to cover those as well.
- Why am I buying it?
The worst reason to buy something is to just keep up with the Joneses. Aside from the fact that you are trying to outdo someone and not doing it for yourself or your family, it can also lead to obsessive spending behavior that will cause stress, anxiety, financial ruin, and even familial strain. Also, do not be pressured into buying something when you know that it will not benefit you in any way. Some salespersons are excellent at their jobs and have mastered the art of persuasion. You might also encounter a friend who is guilt-tripping you into buying something even though it is not within your budget. Thus, you have to develop a mindset that you won’t get it if it’s not within the budget. But if you think that it will improve the quality of your life, go ahead.
While it is okay to treat yourself once in a while, remember to wait for some time—specifically for major purchases. Always ask yourself why. If you think the item is necessary, beneficial, and affordable after careful consideration, you shouldn’t hesitate to buy it.
Meta title: What to Consider Before Buying Something
meta desc: Although some say that money can’t buy happiness, it can buy the things that will make us happy. However, there are questions that you have to ask yourself before saying goodbye to your hard-earned money.