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Should I Buy This?

Do you ever have buyer’s remorse? Using a decision map can be a way to think through your purchases before you buy. When you’re tempted to make a purchase you might not need, pull up the Should I Buy This? decision map to assess the pros and cons.

Decision tree to help guide purchasing decisions

  • Can you comfortably afford it? If the answer is no, all hope is not lost. There are other options such as borrowing the item from a friend, putting it on layaway until you can afford it, or saving up to buy it at a future date.
  • Do you have an immediate use for this item? If not, you might want to wait until you truly need it and make a plan to save up for it.
  • Do you own something that serves the same purpose? If so, the Should I Buy This? decision map suggests rethinking this purchase.
  • Do you have cash to buy it instead of using a credit card? Cash is best, as it will help you avoid paying interest.
  • Have you looked for sales, coupons or generic versions? There’s no point in paying more than you have to. Taking the time to research also can prevent impulse purchases that you may regret. However, a sale price isn’t always a reason to buy now. The discount might not be worth it if the purchase will throw off your spending plan or put you in debt.
  • Could your money be better spend on meeting an immediate need? Buying stuff you want isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of something you truly need today.

Sometimes You Should Buy It

Believe it or not, there are occasions when it is OK to spend money — even on things you want, but don’t necessarily need. It’s not about guilt; it’s about making mindful decisions before parting with the money you have worked so hard to earn.

Bring the Should I Buy This? decision map with you or pull it up on your phone the next time you go shopping and start retraining your brain to think about every purchase before you make it. With simple yes/no answers to every question, you’ll be able to work through spending decisions with ease.

[Any reference to a specific company, commercial product, process or service does not constitute or imply an endorsement or recommendation by National Endowment for Financial Education.]