Let’s face it – When we shop, rarely do we stop to ask ourselves a slew of questions about the affordability of the product. We’re either shopping for fun or shopping on impulse, and neither one of those occasions really calls for a run down of financial questions.
However, I’ve found that with a few easy steps and a simple pause before each purchase, you can make sure that everything you bring into your home is something you actually want and can afford.
Here are some examples:
1. How Many Hours Of Work Does This Cost?
Instead of thinking about the price of an item, think about the work input. Maybe that purse will cost you 20 hours of work, and in that case, you really have to ask yourself if 20 hours of your time is really worth that shiny, pretty bag.
I actually ask myself, “How many posts is this dress?” As in, how many blog posts will I have to write to equal the price of that dress? Usually this makes me step slowly away from the store, but sometimes it’s worth it to me, and I realize that I’m happy to work hard to be able to buy something I want.
Ultimately, getting into the habit of asking this question trains you to think about your purchases in relation to your income and helps you make more informed decisions.
2. What Is The Price Per Use?
You know those sassy snakeskin heels you bought? Oh yeah, you know the ones. When are you ever going to wear those? That’s what I have to ask myself all the time.
I might see a really fun gadget or great cookbook or pretty piece of furniture, and I have to ask myself how many times it will get used. That usually helps me to decide if it’s worth it or not.
I’d rather spend more money on items that will get used a lot, like a pair of sneakers if you’re a runner or a nice oven if you’re a chef. One of the most expensive things I own is my computer but I use it about 10 hours a day, so the cost per use is pretty excellent. These are usually the products that are worth their high prices.
3. Do I Need This Right Now?
Sometimes I fall into the habit of buying something because it’s a really good deal, like buying winter boots in the spring. While it might be a great deal, nothing is a good deal if it causes you to break your budget.
Asking yourself if you need it right now is a great way to stop yourself from impulse spending. Chances are, you can find that product later for a good price on a sale website or by trying to find it on eBay when your budget allows it. Don’t just buy something because of the rewards you’ll get according to the Aeroplan reward chart.
I’m sure these aren’t the only questions you can ask yourself to help you stay on track with your spending. If you have any other suggestions, please leave them in the comment section below.