Buying Stuff: My Newly Refined Mental Process!

We all buy a lot of stuff. From food and clothes to iPhones and cars. With the relentless and extremely overwhelming marketing these days it's no wonder why most people don't have a savings account at all in this country. Rants aside, I have refined my process for how I decide if I want to buy something or not. This doesn't apply to everything but works in most situations I face.

Steps in my buying process:

  • Why am I buying this item?
  • Is this a need or want? (Needs get priority)
  • Is their an item I can sell/trash/donate for it to replace (my anti-clutter tactic: something must go for new to come in!)
  • Do I have the money available to spend? (and can I used a gift card I have to cover it?)
  • Are there alternatives? What do they cost and are the rated better?
  • Does buying this item interfere with other goals or needs?
  • Does buying this item reduce costs somewhere else?
  • For wants: I put on a 30 day calendar reminder to revisit if I still want it. This gives me time to fairly evaluate and budget if need be.
  • Do I still want/need the item? Y/N
  • If above is "Y" then buy item from cheapest vendor (usually online!)
As you can see I put myself through multiple ways to say "No" before buying stuff. I am forced to reduce clutter and check my budget before running out and buying something. I also bargain shop and examine alternatives. This will block a lot of my impulses. The 30 day wait is also very good. I have yet to buy something on the 30 day wait list!