Friday, March 7, 2014

8 Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Buy

                                                          Baby Step to Financial Freedom #11

In my previous post, How To Put A Price Tag On Your Time (Baby Step #10), I suggested that you write your true hourly wage on a piece of paper and carry it in your wallet or checkbook. Before you make any purchase, divide the sales price by your true hourly wage. If the item or service is worth the hours of work to you, buy it. If not, walk away.

Today, I'm sharing some suggestions on what to do if you determine that the service or item you want is not worth your life energy price tag-- but you still need or want it.

Before you buy, ask yourself:
  1. Can I buy it for less? Comparison shop. Find it on sale. Negotiate. Look for a recycled one in the newspaper, at garage sales or consignment stores, on ebay or craigslist. Avoid the mall. I bought an entire summer wardrobe last year from a consignment boutique for less than $100 while vacationing on Kauai.
  2. Will I change my mind? When I leave a store to comparison shop, I often find that I stop wanting it. Advertisers and retail stores are notoriously skilled at making shoppers believe that they need something-- even when it isn't true.
  3. Can I trade something for it? Swap with a friend, neighbor or family member. Create a toy exchange with other parents. Ask the seller if she wants something you have in exchange for the item or service you desire-- we've traded plumbing repairs for health club dues, computer work, pizzas.
  4. Can I borrow it from someone? Borrow books, music and movies from the library. Ask your neighbor if you can use her seldom-used yard tools or specialty cooking appliances. Just make sure you are willing and able to repair or replace damaged or lost items.
  5. Can I share the expense with someone? Co-op with your neighborhood to buy one set of yard maintenance equipment. Consider car-sharing. Ask your babysitter for a reduced hourly rate for watching your child along with another.
  6. Can I cut back on another budget item instead? If what you want to buy doesn't fit into your budget, choose to spend less on something else for awhile. Use the money you're saving on that budget category towards what you want to buy instead. I often cut back on dining out the month before a vacation because I'd rather use the savings generated to enjoy special meals at our travel destination.
  7. Can I sell something to come up with the extra money? Sell an item you no longer use, then use the money to purchase the item you want. Try a sales listing on craigslist, ebay, community bulletin boards or your local classified ads. Here's an idea for toy-hungry kids (or adults!): declutter, hold a garage sale, then buy something new with the proceeds. Better yet, make “found” money go further by using tip #1 above.
  8. Can I make a green choice? Look for products that make less impact on our environment. Choose a less toxic alternative, one with less packaging and more recycled content, or something that can be reused for something else when you're done with it.
Did you miss a step? Want to learn my recipe for success, happiness and a million dollars? Start here: Baby Steps to Financial Freedom.

Don't miss anything: Subscribe to receive free email or RSS notifications every time I publish something new.

No comments:

Post a Comment