Thursday, April 3, 2008

Questions To Ask BEFORE You Buy Something

Have you ever really really REALLY wanted to buy something? When you have a budget and cash only, it is really hard to buy those impulse items. There is no money for it! :)

But let's say you have the money. Here is a great article on talking yourself out of frivolous purchases.

Here is how I used to do it. But now with a budget, it is much easier to say no. There is no money for it. That doesn't mean it hurts to walk away from a good deal.

We print these questions out and have them on a sticker on our credit card, check book and cash envelope system. It is based on questions Larry Burkett talks about in his books.

**Does it enhance God’s work through me?
Is what I am about to buy going to glorify God? Does it honor God? Does it allow me to accomplish His will?

**Does it add to family relationships?
Will it allow me to be the mother and wife God wants me to be? Or will it cause me to spend less time with my family? Will it cause my family to spend less time with each other??

**Is it a necessity or can I do without it??
This one is the hardest because when you really want something it can easily become a necessity. So I try to focus on the can I do without it part. If I do not buy this, can I do without it? That is not the same thing as living without it. But it sure is nice to have a sharp knife compared to a butter knife to cut veggies! AND I am cooking from scratch, saving money. ANd I must admit that it is quite fun looking around and finding something we already have that can do the job.

**If I can't do without it or if it is a necessity, is it something that I can wait on?
Shop around. Never pay full price for anything ever again. I am addicted to books! SO when I see a book that I feel I need for homsechooling, or just really really want because it has some great crafts in it, I write the title and author down on pad and paper (which I always carry in my purse). Then I go home and get it on Paperback Swap and get it for a trade of one of my books. It helps me save money AND keep from cluttering the house as well. Also checking out the flea market for it, or the thrift stores. I just found Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends at the thrift store (and my number came up on Paperback Swap), so now I have TWO copies and only paid 50 cents for the one from the thrift store!! :)

**Am I spending money to bring more clutter into our life?
My beloved likes to point out that "cute" is another word for clutter. But it is not just the cute things that add clutter. It is also buying things with the intent of using them, and then never using them. Or buying TOO much of something (like Christmas gifts) and then holding on to them year after year because you forgot what you bought. Being more organized can help you from buying to bring clutter into your life.

**Is it the best possible buy?
So often we can get so caught up in the moment that we end up spending money on something THINKING it is the best deal, but just a few days (even as much a months later), we find it for a better deal. Praying and waiting on a purchase can really help you make sure you are getting the best deal. Also calling around to find prices. My beloved and I were asking around for prices on some overdue maintenance on our car. Prices ranged from $240 to $385. We were ready to do the $240 when I started asking around some other places and got a quote for $175 from a VERY honest and reputable two man shop (compared to the prices I was getting from the well known name shops).

**Will it depreciate quickly or require costly upkeep??
I have learned that it is best that if you need to buy something to buy it used (let the original buyer take the hit on depreciation). But the costly upkeep is something that I have not really taken much thought to...until now. Something to be keenly aware of, especially when buying something you want to last a long time and hope to never have to buy again (at least not anytime soon).

**Is there something I want more than this that I can save this money for?
I will admit that this thought has really helped me from spending so much money. It is almost like a contest. Do I want this enough or more than ______ (a trip to Disneyland, security in built up emergency fund, etc.)??

*Where will this go in my home?
This also helps keep down on the clutter. If I do not have room for it, then I really should NOT be getting it. At least not until I have the room for it (which usually means selling stuff which makes some money to go towards wanted item). :)

I hope this has been helpful to you. What are some questions that you ask yourself (or that you spouse asks you) when you are shopping?

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