The power of pausing before a purchase to really delve into why you're about to swipe your credit card could be a powerful way to save more money, especially if you make this kind of retrospection into a habit and take the time to ask yourself these five questions before buying anything new (or new-to-you).
1. Do I already have something like this (or can I get creative with something I already own)?
Before you make a purchase, consider why you're buying it and ask yourself if there's something you already have that can do the job. Want new shorts? Well do you have old pants you could turn into shorts? Need a nightstand? What can you transform into a nightstand?
2. Can I find it somewhere cheaper?
Search for deals. Just because you're at the store already and think you might need something doesn't mean that's the best price out there. Use your smart phone to do a quick search before you swipe your credit card — this doesn't have to be an exact science. But if you do find a more affordable price and the cost of getting to it is reasonable, save that money!
3. Where's this going to live?
Whether you have a small space or a huge home, you have to pay a price beyond just the monetary value of buying something new. And that price is another potential item that will clutter up where you live. So before you buy something, even if you know you don't have anything else that can do the job and you know you're getting the best deal, consider the exact place this is going to live in your home, and determine whether or not it will fit in seamlessly or take up too much valuable room.
4. How often am I going to use this?
In many cases, it might be the smart financial decision to buy something rather than rent it, but not always. Really be realistic with thinking about how often you are going to be using something. If the answer is 'not much,' consider renting, borrowing or getting creative instead of checking out.
5. Is this actually going to make my life better?
This might sound like a pretty extreme question to ask yourself every time you want to buy something new (and certainly, you probably don't have to ask this about every item on your weekly grocery list), but it's actually a pretty great habit to get into. Because really, do you want to be spending your hard-earned cash on anything that doesn't make your life better? Being realistic with the answer might save you money in the long run, keeping you from buying things impulsively or even just regretting plunking down dough for something you really didn't care all that much about a month or two later.
What questions do you ask yourself before you make purchases?