If you’re just starting on a debt-free or money improvement journey, one of the hardest things to do is to change your spending habits. So today we’re going to go over six questions you can ask yourself before making a purchase and in turn, stop spending money on things you don’t need.
Let’s get started!
1. Do I need this item and what am I currently using instead?
The answer is usually no but here are some follow-up questions to ask yourself. For example, you see some funky shades of lipsticks at Sephora and think you’d like one. However, you already have a lipstick you wear every day and love the shade of. Will this new shade replace that one or will it end up just sitting in your make-up bag?
2. Could I borrow, rent or buy this item second-hand?
Stores are really great at showing us the new and shiny thing that promises to vastly improve our lives. However, more than often that shiny new thing could potentially be bought, used, or borrowed from someone. There could also be a comparable and cheaper alternative available somewhere else.
3. Am I currently spending due to a temporary state?
I have definitely been guilty of hitting up Target when I’m in a bad headspace. I often end up walking out with $50 worth of stuff that I don’t need. Keep this question in the back of your mind when you’re shopping for non-essentials to avoid spending money on things you don’t need.
4. Do I have space to store this item? How many times do I think I’ll use it in the next six months?
Ask yourself how this item will physically fit into your life. Will it sit in a closet for months or be used regularly? This can make it pretty clear whether or not this purchase is going to be something that’s worth the money.
5. Is it worth the amount of hours of work that it would take to purchase the item?
This is going to be very dependent on how much money you make. Firstly, calculate how many hours of work this item amounts to and then deduce if it’s still worth your hard-earned cash. Will it help you generate a new stream of income or will this item be expensive with a short lifespan?
6. Does it bring me joy?
I firmly believe that money is meant to be used to improve our lives. If you find something that brings you joy and you can afford it then why should you deprive yourself of it? You should surround yourself and life with the things and the activities that you love, otherwise what is even the point of making money and curating a life you love.
The more careful and considered you are with how you spend your money the better steward of it you will be. Growing my nest egg and protecting my future are my current priorities, therefore asking these questions makes it easier for me to stop spending money on things I don’t need.
I would love to know how you personally decide what things are worth bringing into your life and if you have a different set of questions you ask yourself before purchasing something. Personal finance is highly personal and what works for me might not work for you. It’s both okay and essential to customize your plan to your life.