Whether you have an affinity for shopping, impulse control issues, or an interest in minimalism, many people know the pain of purchasing an item only to regret it later. Even those who don’t actively regret their purchases may recognize the slow overcrowding of their space or the frequency with which impulse purchases end up forgotten or thrown away within a couple of months.
I did an overview on the questions to ask yourself before making a purchase. But now let’s take a deep dive into each one, expanding on the applicability of the question in practical ways.
Do you have something similar?
From new technology to snack food to new books to new clothes, this question has wide ranging applications that may make it the most useful of the list of questions I initially posed.
Looking at a new phone? Do you need one? Is the latest and greatest model worth the cost? Maybe it is. Maybe your phone is in good shape, but you would really get use out of the better camera specs of a newer one. Then again, maybe you can eke another year (or two) out of out-of-date technology.
Looking at a pair of colored bluetooth headphones that are cuter than your current pair? Maybe they’re cheap enough you can afford them, but do you really need another pair just for a new color?
Maybe the new color would encourage you to get more use out of these headphones. But, maybe no. Maybe the $20 could go toward a different big purchase. A pair of airpods later. A higher quality sound system. This small impulse control could mean bigger and better purchases for your future.
The goal of this question is not to talk yourself out of every purchase. The goal is to make smarter purchases that don’t add clutter to your life or detract from your financial standing and goals.
There may be times that purchasing a duplicate is worth it. When getting rid of worn-out shoes or jackets, I have lamented that I didn’t purchase two of the item initially. I have a perfectly fitting sweater in three colors because I liked the cut (and the price tag) so much.
However, the question of whether you already have something similar is enough to keep spending in check and stay focused on your ultimate financial goals.
Stay tuned for our next deep dive!