Whether you’re looking to buy a car, house, new toy, or fancy purse, any purchase that costs you a good chunk of change should go through a few filters or checks to ensure you’re making the right decision.
In case you have magically forgotten how awful it feels to be in debt and have to create a plan to get out of debt, remember that whatever you’re buying has a long-term impact on your financial freedom.
1. You Think It’s Time Sensitive
The oldest sales ploy in the book is to tell a buyer that something is “going fast”, “won’t last long”, or is a “limited time offer”. The truth is that something may actually go fast, but most items are not irreplaceable.
Take the time you need to make important decisions, so you won’t look back with regret.
2. You Think It’s the Only or Best Option
“It’s the perfect (insert item here)!” If these are the words coming out of your mouth – consider if there’s emotion influencing how you feel about buying.
It may be the best option, but there’s usually plenty of great options for whatever you are buying.
3. Someone You Know Just Bought Something Similar
Whether you consciously realize it or not, seeing someone you know buy something you want makes it that much more enticing to have what you want.
A perfect example of this was when I had to get a new phone and ended up with an iPhone6. My husband had a perfectly good iPhone5 and had not thought about upgrading until he saw my shiny new device.
4. You Don’t Know What It Does To Your Budget
Before you make a remotely significant purchase, you should consider what it will do to your budget. Is there extra room in your budget as it stands? Will you have to make adjustments in other areas to account for this purchase?
If you have no idea how it will change your budget, pump the brakes!
5. You Feel Uneasy About It
There’s something to be said about plain old intuition. When you peel away the infatuation or excitement about what you’re buying, you’ll find your honest thoughts.
Listen to the voice that says something is off.
6. You Have to Buy It With Debt
Apart from a mortgage, if you have to make that purchase with debt or credit, think twice. Even if you’re offered 0% interest, consider if you want to owe a payment each month. Think about how you’d feel having that payment due if you were to lose your job or get an unexpected major health bill.
7. You Have to Change Your Money Priorities to Buy It
Perhaps you said you were going to have a small wedding so you can save for a home, because that’s your financial priority right now. Then your guest list grows and the cost rises. Suddenly you are not saving for a home at all anymore.
Changing your money priorities isn’t forbidden, but it is a sign that you may be making a purchase you will later regret.
8. The Purchase Doesn’t Align with your values
When building a budget, you probably allowed for extra room in a few areas that you most value. This was on purpose and decided with a clear mind.
If the purchase you’re considering puts you way over budget in its category, there’s a chance you aren’t buying according to your values.
9. You Can’t Make the Purchase In Secret
If I’m honest, this is the one that hits home. If you can’t make that purchase without posting something on social media about it, you may be making a stupid money decision.
There’s a chance you’re buying for the wrong reasons if you’re thinking about what to write on Facebook about it as you’re making the purchase.
10. You Won’t Consult Your Wise Friends
In the normal process of making an important purchase, you may consult your wise friends or family for input. If you can’t even bring yourself to ask them because you’re concerned about their response, it’s likely you’re making one of the worst decisions of your life!