5 Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Buy Anything
There is no doubt about it: intentional shopping is a key component of whether or not a person is able to Live Simply. What you buy is the stuff that will fill your space and compose the load you carry in life.
None of us is or will ever be the perfect shopper. Most of us can’t see into the future, and thus, can’t guarantee how an item we’re about to purchase will or will not find application in our lives. We are all bound to make mistakes, make purchases that don’t pan out in the end, make impulsive decisions that we later on realize weren’t grounded in genuine need and desire, but in the fear of missing out, of being swayed by price, and so on.
So there’s that.
And yet, each of us can attempt to be more intentional about every purchase we make. Each of us can make it a habit to find a secluded corner of a store before we head to check out, let those items linger in our virtual cart for a minute or a day, and call upon ourselves to actually think the purchase through.
So, here’s what you ask yourself:
1. Why’m I buying this again?
The primary reason you buy anything must be because you are genuinely excited by that item and you believe it fills a legitimate need in your life.
It can be incredibly difficult to decipher (really, much harder than would logically figure) why you’re actually buying something. The powers of marketing, retail merchandising, and branding be strong, oh boy. But if you really hold yourself accountable to giving a truthful answer, you know deep down why you’re most motivated to make the purchase. If that reason is the deal you believe you’re getting, or a feeling of obligation to test out whether a type of item has application in your life–without any evidence up until this point that is does–or any other reason than that you love it and believe you have a need for it, put that thing down, and slowly walk away.
2. How and when am I going to use this?
If you believe that your wanting to purchase something is first about your love of that item and your ability to see it being used in your daily life, take a moment to prove it to yourself or to whomever you’re shopping with.
You’d be amazed by how the act of talking through a decision can validate or invalidate it.
If it’s a piece of clothing, take a moment to consider when and where you will wear it. And I don’t mean sometime; when and where are you going to don that frock this week or this month?
If it’s an entertaining piece, when and how are you going to use it? What dinner party are you hosting this week or this month that you need it for? What are you going to serve on it? (Please, you know what you make for these things. Everyone has their bag of tricks.)
3. Will it mesh well?
If you’re still on the up and up and you haven’t yet been disqualified, the next question to ask yourself is how the item you’re about to procure pairs with what you already own. (This is kind of a chicken and the egg, since this is why it’s so important that you Live Simply, so that you have an intimate and clear knowledge of what you own.)
Do you believe it will mesh well with you already have going on? Will it clash? Is it the same or vastly different from what you own, and in a good or bad way?
Can it blend seamlessly into the existing structure of your wardrobe, your kitchen dinnerware, etc., and be used alongside already-owned pieces? Is it so similar to something that you already have that it’s redundant? And is it so starkly contrasting to what you own that you’d have to start from scratch in terms of what would go with it?
All these questions can help clarify whether or not a purchase seems a wise decision.
4. What’s my track record?
Besides how an item in question will or will not mesh with what you already own, another layer of accountability is to ask yourself how this would-be purchase compares to other purchases you’ve made in the past.
Maybe there’s a certain store whose wares always seem like a great idea at the time that you’ve never been able to put to use in the end. Maybe you happen to fall into trouble with sound decision-making in the presence of a certain type of item. Maybe, when you think about it, you’ve had a tendency in the past to always assume you were in need of more fill in the blank, when it turned out that you were never at a shortage of them.
Ask yourself: have I been more satisfied or disappointed with purchases like this made in the past? Have purchases from this store proven to serve me well? And so on.
5. What’s their return policy?
Image credits: Regally Blonde, Aila Images, unknown (Worst crediting job ever in the history of this blog. I hang my head in shame. Please to accept my apology.)
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