Before You Buy Anything, Answer These Questions

You’ll be surprised at what you’ll end up with when you’re zoned out and shopping on autopilot. The key to keeping meaningless, useless purchases off your ledger is to be more mindful when you’ve got money to burn.

Mocha Money suggests asking yourself a number of questions before you go through with any purchase. Here are a few:

* Is it cheaper somewhere else? There’s rarely a need to spend more on an item when you can do a little homework to find it cheaper. Often, the delay in making a purchase makes you question whether or not it’s necessary, which leads us to the next question:

* Do I really need it? Unless you’re replenishing the supply of something you use often, there’s a good chance you don’t really need whatever it is you’re about to get. If you’ve gotten by this long without whatever it is you’re about to buy, identify what’s changed that requires you to buy this thing now.

* Can I borrow this from a friend? This applies to books and movies, which you’ll usually experience one time before sticking on a shelf for years. The same goes for expensive tools you plan to use on a one-time project.

7 Smart Questions To Ask Before Buying Anything [Mocha Money]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Coffee says:

    * Does the store have security cameras? Does the cashier look fat and slow?

  2. shepd says:

    Can I mooch this from a friend?


  3. Fast Eddie Eats Bagels says:

    I should have followed these step before purchasing my wife.

  4. SkokieGuy says:

    Will it cause women to overlook my undesirability and shortcomings?

    If yes, purchase!

    [Applies to everything from Ferraris to beer to Axe grooming products]

  5. Dr. Ned - This underwear is Sofa King Comfortable! says:

    Also, these questions:

    * Why am I lying in the middle of the highway?

    * Where are my pants?

    • MJDickPhoto says:

      Some other things to ask yourself may be….
      Well…How did I get here?
      How do I work this?
      Where is that large automobile?
      What is that beautiful house?
      Where does that highway go?
      Am I right?…Am I wrong?

      Sorry, happy Friday, just feeling good.

    • The Porkchop Express says:

      How long before that body starts to smell?
      Where is my shovel?
      Did I do a good clean up job?

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Followed by “Where are my kidneys?”

    • tborodarc says:

      I told you I’ll shoot, but you didn’t believe me. Why didn’t you believe me?

  6. SporadicBlah says:

    I find borrowing/lending movies annoying. Purchasing a dvd for $15 bucks and having a great movie night at home is a lot cheaper than $20 cinema tickets, a bushel of popcorn and a bucket of soda.

    • Firethorn says:

      Borrow the movie from a friend, rent from redbox, netflix, or the ilk and the movie costs even less than $15.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I disagree. I hate keeping around movies I’ll only watch once or twice. We only buy movies we know we’ll want to watch often. On the other hand, I hate borrowing from friends. We’d rather just rent from netflix or redbox.

    • Yorick says:

      Libraries lend DVDs for free …

  7. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    Can I borrow this from a friend?

    If the answer is yes, and your friend is kind enough to lend you said item, you should ask yourself a second question before borrowing: “Do I have enough money to buy a new item or repair this one should it break while I’m using it?”

  8. framitz says:

    Can I afford it, Can I return it?

  9. Cyniconvention says:

    *Will I use it?

  10. ponycyndi says:

    I usually ask myself, in this order:

    1. Where could I get it for free? (Thank you, internet gods!)
    2. Where can I get it used? (craigslist, or thrift shop)
    3. How long can I live with the one I have now, while I look for a deal?

    • Firethorn says:

      #3 is a big one. I lasted nearly a year before replacing my cordless drill.
      Drill #1 – Makita NiMH 18V, burned out doing stuff I shouldn’t have been doing after a relatively long life.
      Drill #2 – Cheap ass no-name. An 18V drill turned out to have less torque than my 3V cordless screwdriver. Caused an incident when I needed a heavier drill to get some bolts out – due to placement, wrenches weren’t an option. :(
      Drill #3 – Milwalkee 18V LiIon, bought on special during black friday. Currently sneers at any tasks I’ve given it.

  11. Rexy on a rampage says:

    Will it help me in my quest for world domination?

    If the answer is no, I probably don’t need it.

  12. gglockner says:

    Can I resell it at a good price when I’m finished with it? Works well for something that I may need for a few weeks or months such as a specialized tool.

  13. Outrun1986 says:

    Borrowing depends, over here we have libraries that have an amazing amount of materials available. However that also comes with due dates, so you have to be able to make the due dates or you get fined. If the library isn’t close by then it might be very inconvienient to borrow from it. It might be cheaper to buy that $5 DVD online and watch it than a trip to the library to rent it, and a trip back to return it. Or you could rent from Redbox if you have one near you.

  14. bitslammer says:

    I’m down to 1 question: Do I want it? Done.

  15. crispyduck13 says:

    I always sleep on purchases over $50. That way if I’m still thinking about it in the morning I know I really want/need it.

  16. unsunder says:

    • Where will I put it?

  17. MickeyG says:

    When I worked at a store, I remember someone wanting to “price match” our price to Walmart’s (which was across the street). Walmart’s price was like $1 different, and 10% of that difference is what boys and girls?
    He was so freakin’ mad at me, swearing like crazy that it wasn’t worth him driving across the street for that amount of savings.
    Yeesh. Not my fault you don’t understand it’s 10% the difference of the prices and not 10% off the full price.
    In that kind of case, it is NOT worth it to waste all that gas. Please, research at home and don’t yell at the minimum wage monkeys.

  18. C. Ogle says:

    – Will I need to lie to my spouse about having bought it? Will I need to hide it from the children? Could it be used against me in trial later?

  19. DariusC says:

    2 Tips: You don’t need it new and you don’t need it now (unless you really do NEED it now).

  20. Traveller says:

    Interesting choice of photo for this article.

  21. J says:

    We have tool libraries in Portland, OR. They are freakin awesome!

    just wanted to brag a bit.

  22. Kamrom says:

    I never return things. It hasnt even come to my mind once. I will never understand people who sell used video games.If I buy a game, I’m going to play the hell out of it. If I get a game I dont like, which is rare, I give it away to a friend whos more intereseted.

    (Ikaruga, you can go straight to hell. Itd be bad enough with jsut a thousands instakill dots in the air, but its worse because there are two kinds that only dont destroy you in certian states. Screw that game.)

  23. Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

    Can I buy this in an unopened box from a guy with a van at the parking lot?

    • bukkler says:

      Yup. You can borrow everything from a crescent wrench to a floor buffer, bench grinder or lawnmower. Very awesome stuff!

  24. balthisar says:

    I don’t ask if I really need something any more. Unless it’s expensive to me.

    And I always counter “is it cheaper somewhere else?” with “is it worth the trouble and time to go somewhere that I’m not otherwise planning to go to?”

  25. IgnoramusEtIgnorabimus says:

    what is the average speed of a…. nevermind

  26. Landru says:

    “Is there someway I can get it cheaper, while it taking longer, and it might be wrong or broken yet ensures a race to the absolute bottom, both in price and in job killing?”

  27. openbox says:

    My Brother in Law has a pretty good policy that he lives by. If he buys something new, he has to give up something in return. So like if he wants to buy a new pair of shoes, he has to donate or throw away a pair of shoes when he gets home.

  28. Draw2much says:

    I’ve been holding off on a smartphone because of how much extra it’ll cost me every month. I sometimes have to tell my husband to look me in the eye and say “No, you can’t have it. NO!” because I need an emotional boost to do the right thing and NOT buy a smartphone. D:

  29. Razor512 says:

    The issue is very few people actually think critically about their spending.

    For example, many people will pay reoccurring fees to have someone perform a service that only takes a few minutes to do, when for less than the cost of hiring someone the first time, you can buy the tools and do it your self every time.
    For example, The house I live in has a older heating system. When the thermal sensor failed, my parents wanted to hire someone to repair it and that person wanted $120. I was able to talk them out of it and change it for $3 (the cost of the replacement part) and in less than 3 minutes the heating was fixed.

    The store near my house charges more than twice as much as stores such as walmart but people continue to shop there simply because it is close by and they don’t feel the need to head out around 1 mile to a store where just about everything will be less than half the price.

    some people fail to do basic math in order to compare prices for food items (getting the cost per gram of all of the food you buy can save you a ton of money.
    (proper comparison shopping will literally cut your food expenses in half)

    Some people rely on a sales person to choose for them instead of doing their own research. (easily noticed by people spending a ton of money for other crap that has a higher price margin. Eg when I went to a best buy to look at a few items that I was planning to buy from amazon, I notices sales people “helping” customers to find a new computer. Instead what they did was direct them to buy up older systems that were way overpriced. They would say things like “this computer has a faster CPU, it is 3.1GHz while this other one is only 2.8GHz”
    (When in reality the 2.8GHz core i5 would perform nearly twice as fast as the Phenom II system, though the AMD system costed nearly $300 more for the same memory, hard drive size and pretty much everything else but the onboard video (both were onboard)