The path to purposeful living is not always easy. Especially when advertising and social pressure are constantly pushing us to buy.
To regain control of our resources (and lives), it’s important to take a step back and ask some tough questions before reaching for your wallet.
To help you do that, here are 15 questions to help you guide your buying decisions and live more purposefully.
1. Is this really necessary?
The most basic question. By separating what you want from what you need, you can significantly reduce unnecessary purchases.
2. Do you own anything else that could be used for the same purpose?
Sometimes we simply forget what we already have that can serve the same purpose.
3. Are you buying this mainly because it’s on sale?
A bargain is only a bargain if you needed the item in the first place.
4. Do you actually use it regularly?
Items that you only use once or twice may not be worth the investment.
5. Can I borrow this from someone instead of buying it?
For items you don’t use often, renting is a smart and economical choice.
6. What else can I do with this money?
Opportunity cost should always be an important factor in decision making.
7. Does it add value to my life or help me achieve my goals?
If the answer is no, it probably isn’t worth it.
8. How many hours of work is this purchase equivalent to?
Considering purchases in terms of working hours gives a sober perspective.
9. Does it need maintenance?
Maintenance costs can be enormous, both in terms of money and time.
10. Am I buying this for myself or am I influenced by the opinions and desires of others?
Sometimes we shop to impress people or to fit in with our surroundings. Always base your purchases on your own needs and not on external influences.
11. Can you wait for this purchase?
If you are not in a hurry, please give me some time. You may find that you can get by without it. This point cannot be overemphasized.
12. What is my mental state?
Buying things when you’re stressed, bored, or frustrated can lead to purchases you regret.
13. Is this an impulse buy?
If it wasn’t on your list or plan, stop and reconsider.
14. What if I don’t buy this?
If the answer is “not much”, you may not need to buy.
15. Will this purchase lead to more purchases?
Beware of the Diderot Effect, the spiral where one purchase leads to another. Make sure what you buy doesn’t require additional spending.
Making intentional purchasing decisions can help align your actions with your values, avoid unnecessary confusion, and live a more fulfilling life.
Ask yourself any (or all) of these questions the next time you’re thinking about buying.