11 Questions To Ask Yourself Before A Large Purchase
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.
So what exactly is a “large purchase?”
A “large purchase” is anything that can’t be paid for out of pocket at the drop of a hat. It’s anything that might require a loan, vast amount of savings, mortgage, or more.
A large purchase is anything that you can’t buy with just your average spending money. For me, that’s anything over $50, but for you, it might be over $100 or more.
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.
If you want a big ticket item, save up for it over time and not only will it save you money from not having a loan or debt, but it will also help you to value your new large purchase!
2. How long did it take to earn the money to pay for it?
If you have saved up the cash, 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 motorcycle that your “buddy sold you for a great deal,” remember that it’s usually never just the cost of the item itself that will hurt… it’s the “and” purchases. You’ll need the bike AND a helmet AND gloves AND a jacket AND gas money AND repair money AND more.
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. Is this a need or a want? And if it’s a want, do you want it bad enough to overlook any other possibility for spending your hard-earned money on?
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?
Can you put off the purchase for 24 hours? Can you cool your jets and just wait a day before going in and buying this large purchase?
Waiting will let you think more about the purchase and if it’s really what you want and need. It will help the rose-colored glasses fade so that you can see things for what they are instead of with your happy eyes.
The longer you can delay buying, the better off you might be. If you think you can wait longer before buying a large item, then that might mean that this wasn’t the right one for you.
Or if you do decide that you really need/ want the large purchase, the price may have dropped as well (win-win)!
7. Where can I find the best value?
Did you check to see where you can find the best prices? Did you check both online and in the store?
If you haven’t yet, you need to start! The prices of items (both large and small) vary a huge amount from place to place.
Always try your hardest to find the best price.
Doing this kind of research will help you get the best deal and it will also help you learn more about the item that you’re going to buy.
A smart shopper is a sleazy salesman’s worst nightmare!
8. Can I borrow the item from someone else?
That one time that snow fell in Florida isn’t a good reason to get an industrial-sized snow blower for your house.
If it 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.
And always remember to do the same for your neighbors and friends!
9. Where am I going to put this large purchase?
So you’d love an RV. Great! But you live in the city with on-street parking only. Not so great.
Maybe you want a trampoline for your yard, but the trampoline would literally be touching your fence all the way around your property.
If there’s nowhere to put your big purchase, then you shouldn’t get it. Finding a place to put something that doesn’t have anywhere to go is stressful and never works.
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?