Saturday, July 7, 2007

Avoiding Unneccessary Spending

I know you want it, but do you NEED it? Here are some things to keep in mind when you're considering a purchase.

Ask yourself some important questions:
  • Do I need this? (usually, if the answer is "no", you should rule out the purchase unless you have a lot of extra money lying around)
  • How often will I use this? (The answer should be 50% of the time or more in order for this to be worth the money)
  • Can this purchase wait? (Considering the purchase for a week or at least a few days will usually lend you some kind of perspective on whether or not it's worth it)
  • Can I use something else instead? (something you already have, or something less expensive)
  • Can I borrow this from someone? (this is a good question to ask in the case that you will need the item on a very limited basis, i.e. a tool, a dress/suit you will only wear once, an appliance)
Know your inventory, and keep things organized:
  • Clothing - Do you really need another little black dress, or another funny t-shirt? You probably have enough shoes already as well.
  • Groceries - Make sure you know what's in the pantry, fridge, and freezer. You might already have the thing you think you need, but it's buried back there. Do you have the ingredients to make the thing you need or want, and can a substitute be made easily? Remember, the internet is great for recipes, even basic ones. For example, I now know how to make brown sugar from granulated sugar and molasses (which I happen to have).
If you decide you need it or MUST HAVE IT lest ye go mad:
  • Put it on a wish list. Kaboodle is a great wish list site, and you can use it to list all the things you want/need and go back and re-evaluate later to see if you still want/need it. I have done this and I find I take A LOT of things off my wish list that I thought I REALLY wanted or needed.
  • Comparison shop for price. Use the internet and store flyers.
  • What features do you really need (this usually applies on electronics/appliances)? Don't buy any more than you need just because it's "cool"! If you'll never use that feature, don't pay more for it.
  • Don't overlook thrift shops, garage sales, or eBay. Take time to look in these places before purchasing retail.
  • Put out word of mouth that you're looking for the item. You might find that someone has one they don't want, or knows where to get one inexpensively.
Above all, self control is key!

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