With credit cards so easy to get your hands on and companies queueing up to offer you a loan, these days making big purchases is easier than ever for people in all kinds of financial situations. Unfortunately, that makes it very easy to get yourself into debt very quickly. Impulse buying is rarely a good idea (though it may feel good at the time!) and the majority of the time you end up regretting your decision in the long run. Before you make any big purchases, you should stop and ask yourself a few questions.
How Much Do I Need the Product?
Of course, it is very unlikely that you will have a desperate need for whatever you are buying ahead of paying the bills, but you should work out how buying the new product will affect your life. It may be that you need a new car because your old one has broken down or a new laptop because you work from home. These are obviously more pressing needs than buying a new digital camera because you are going on holiday soon! It may be the case that you still want to buy the item, but further down the line. If it’s a brand new product, there’s every chance that it will drop in price if you decide to buy it further down the line. It all depends whether or not you can get by without it for a long period of time.
Do I Have the Cash to Pay For It?
This may seem like an obvious one, but many people make a purchase first and worry about it later! Work out whether you will be able to pay for it up front or whether it will deplete your emergency savings too much. If you are planning to pay for it in installments, calculate how it will affect your monthly budget. If you’re already in debt, it’s not a good idea to pile further pressure onto your bank balance. It will end up catching up with you at some point. You’ll be in a much stronger situation if you plan everything out carefully before buying anything.
Can I Buy It Second Hand?
With so many online selling platforms out there these days, it just makes sense to check whether you can get the product second hand to see if you can get it cheaper. If you are looking for a new car for example, you can save thousands by buying it from someone else. All you need to do is go to give it a test drive beforehand to make sure everything is working well. When it comes to electronic products, these often have a shorter shelf life so it’s worth checking how much the item has been used and what sort of condition it is in. Furniture is a good one to buy second hand, especially if it’s been made with high quality wood. Again, it is all about doing your research. When you are buying second hand, you also have the opportunity to negotiate with the seller to try to get further discounts.
Can I Rent or Borrow the Item?
If you are able to borrow the item from someone else and only need it on a short term basis, it makes sense to do this. Alternatively, there are sharing platforms available online so you can rent items from other people. Tools are a common thing that people buy but only use for a very short amount of time. If you’re not going to use something on a regular basis, there is probably no point buying it.
Is It Worth Investing More in a High Quality Product?
Sometimes, products are cheap for a reason. Depending on what you are buying, it may be worth paying a little extra to get a higher quality product. If you purchase something cheap and it breaks within a couple of months, you will end up spending more having to get it repaired or replaced. The advantage of buying a new product is that you often get a certain period of warranty to protect yourself if it stops working within a certain amount of time.
Have I Done My Research?
The internet has opened up so many opportunities to review products. Make sure you read through as many of these as you can so you get a good idea of what you are getting before you actually spend your money. As well as individual people offering reviews, there are also dedicated sites like ebestpicks which can give you a good overview of a wide range of products. With so much advice available, you should be able to get a decent idea of what you are buying and be able to weigh up all the pros and cons. Before taking the plunge and actually buying the item, it is worth looking online and in stores to get the best price. Some places will also throw in some added extras to encourage you to buy the item from them.
When Does the Item Go On Sale?
There are times of the year when certain products are significantly cheaper, so it may well be worth waiting if you can. For example, if you need to buy a lawnmower, the best time to buy it is around October or November as this is the time of year when stores are clearing out these items out for winter. The same rule applies for buying anything out of season.
Asking yourself these few questions will help you when it comes to making any big purchases, and make it less likely for you to suffer from the dreaded buyer’s remorse! Ultimately, it’s all about taking the time to make a plan and making sure that you can afford the product. As well as this, if you do your research you will have a much better idea of what you are buying before you actually buy it.