The previous post dealt with The First 5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying Anything. Here we’ll primarily address what to do if you haven’t convinced yourself not to purchase a particular item, or you don’t know how to get it for free. Before you open your wallet, ask the following:
1. Can I borrow it?
With the exception of money, to the extent a friend, family member or neighbor is willing to loan you something that won’t result in the transmission of a contagious infection, then I’m all for it.
There are two big upsides to borrowing: 1) it usually doesn’t cost anything and 2) you don’t have to store the item when you’re done with. Personally, I have a tendency to destroy things, so I try to shy away from borrowing stuff that’s prone to breakage.
2. Should I rent it?
Depending on your lifestyle, there are certain items that are more cost effective and more convenient to rent. It’s hard to find a justifiable reason to blow a lot of money on something needed for a specific occasion. Sites like Zilok and Rent the Runway provide the perfect marketplaces for renting that pressure washer or party dress you’ll only use a time or two.
3. Can I exchange something I don’t want for it?
You probably got plenty of valuable junk lying around that you can give up in return for something useful. With websites like SwapTree, Swapstyle.com, U-Exchange, and BarterBee.com, you can make room for possessions you’ll likely use in return for some mess you’ll never use.
4. Can I buy it for less than full price?
We’ve already touched on how to save money by consuming a modest dosage of patience in The First 5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying Anything. But let’s say you either can’t or aren’t willing to wait. Here are a few tactics you can apply to get the best deals along with websites that make saving money easier.
If all else fails, conduct a Twitter or Google search using the name of the product or retailer you’re looking for plus either or all of the three search terms: coupon code, discount code, or promo code.
5. Can I afford it?
Ah, this is one of my favorites. If you get to the point where you are shamefully willing to pay full price (I’ve been there) for a product or service, a “no” answer to this question should put the breaks on any spending.
Here’s the quick and dirty test to determine whether you can afford something or not. If you can’t pay cash for it (whatever it is), then it’s not within your means. I’ll leave you to read into that statement what you will.
*If you’re a smartphone user, don’t be afraid to flash the cashier a store coupon on your mobile device. A few days ago, I saved 15% by redeeming an unprinted Kohl’s coupon I found on RetailMeNot using my iPhone. And yes, I conducted the last minute on-line coupon search in the dressing room.
Are there any questions you ask yourself before making a purchase decision? What resources do you find helpful in answering any of the questions above?