Admit it. You’ve stood in the middle of the aisle at Target or Walmart for five or ten minutes longer than you wanted while you gazed longingly at the newest gaming console or 70 inch flat screen TV. You’ve stood there with your hands in your pockets, wondering if you should shell out the extra cash in an effort to put a new gadget in your living room. You’ve stood there, justifying to yourself the merits of owning one of these items. And then, twenty minutes later, you find yourself walking out of Target or Walmart and pushing a shopping cart containing your new prize, while your bank account is several hundred dollars emptier.
If this scenario is familiar to you, then keep on reading. If you feel overwhelmed by the expectations of living up to a certain standard, then by all means keep on reading. If you feel constantly pressured by holiday shopping, then read on.
We all work hard for our money. We work hard because there are certain things that we need and we want. We work hard to be able to afford the rent or the mortgage, as well as paying the utilities to maintain the running of the household. We also work hard to be able to afford things that make our lives extremely comfortable, perhaps too comfortable, but that’s a topic for another day.
So, the question is, should we purchase these big ticket items? What (additional) questions can you ask when deciding whether to purchase or not? What can you ask yourself when deciding whether to buy the latest iPhone or a luxury guitar? How can you make the best financial decision while also trying to keep both you and your bank account happy?
7 Questions You Must Ask Before Purchasing a Big Ticket Item
- Can I afford it?
- Why do I want it?
- Will I still use it six months from now?
- How will I feel after spending the money?
- How will my family feel about this item?
- Is this the best deal?
- Does it give value?
Can I afford it?
Can you pay for the item with cash or ATM card? If you answered yes, then give yourself a point. If you answered no, then ask yourself this: is this item worth putting yourself into further debt? Remember that having debt is money owed that you have to pay several months — even years — from now with interest.
Why do I want it?
Do you want it because it seems as if all of the people in your family and wider community have it? Is it possible that your emotions are playing a role in your decision making process? If you answered no, then give yourself a point. When making a purchase, especially a high-cost consumer item, always make sure that you are not getting it simply to please someone else, or just for the aesthetics or superficiality of it. Never let your emotions be the guiding force of your purchasing decisions.
Will I still use it six months from now?
So often people buy something, use it for a day, a few weeks, even a month, and then they stop using it. So whenever you are faced with the prospect of having to shell out a lot of cash for a high priced item, ask yourself if you will still use it six months from now. If the answer is no, then don’t buy it. If the answer is yes, then consider waiting. Waiting to purchase will give you enough time to decide if the item is really worth the buy. Sometimes these high priced items are purchased on a spur of the whim, because it’s on sale for a “good” price, a celebrity did a sponsored ad about it, or your friend or family member recommended it to you.
How will I feel after spending the money?
After shelling out x-amount of dollars, how will you feel? Will you feel good? Will your bank account feel good? Can you survive the rest of the month with x-amount of dollars out of your account? If the answer is no, then don’t buy it. It’s not worth putting yourself in debt or your account balance in the negatives.
How will my family feel about this item?
I’ve seen plenty of Instagram Reel and TikTok videos about the spouse going on a Target run and coming back with more bags than they expected. I know that it’s a joke, but don’t buy something that your entire family won’t be on board with. Remember that they have to live with the item too. Be sure to talk to every member of the family to see how they feel about this item taking up some space in your home. Remember, communication is key here.
Is this the best deal?
Prices very rarely stay the same. They fluctuate with the times, depending on the day and the season. Always check multiple locations to see where you are getting the best deal. Put the item in your cart, but DON’T BUY IT, and keep tabs on any price changes. One thing I like about Amazon is that it notifies you if the price in your shopping cart drops. Another place that you can go to possibly save money is Facebook Marketplace. I have found many good deals on items that people have only used for a few months, and end up selling for a fraction of the retail price.
Does it give value?
And finally, does this item give value to you? How will this item help you? Will this item be an asset or a liability? Will this item improve your life, or be a needless distraction? Ask these questions to determine if it gives you value.
It’s hard to resist buying things when we live in a consumerist society. We are constantly bombarded by the latest technological gadgets and other must haves. It’s so easy to purchase things with just the click of a button — in fact, it’s too easy. That is why we must always exercise restraint. We must never purchase things on the spur of a whim. Instead, we must consider the item carefully. We must consider what it can do for us and the family. We must consider what kind of financial impact it will have on our bank accounts, so as to avoid going into further debt. We must also consider if we are purchasing at the best price and how we — as well as the family — will feel about the item.