5 Questions to Ask Before You Buy Anything

posted by Andrea | 10/5/2018

Over the next few months, we will all be inundated with the pressure to BUY, BUY, BUY — whether we actually need something or not.

The back-to-school sales just finally wrapped up, the Halloween candy/costume deals are going full-force, Black Friday ads will be coming out before you know it, and holiday shopping is just around the corner.

If you love deal-shopping, the next 8-12 weeks could be pretty rough on your budget AND home (all that stuff needs to be stored somewhere!)

As a gental reminder before you get too wrapped up (pun intended) in all the “great holiday deals”, I’d encourage you to read through the 5 questions below… think about them for a few minutes right now… and then ask yourself these questions BEFORE you buy anything!

1. Will I Use It?

I don’t care if something is 100% completely free… I don’t even care if you’ll make a few cents on it… if you aren’t going to use it or gift it in the VERY NEAR FUTURE, don’t “buy” it.

There is no point in bringing something into your home or life if you don’t have a use for it. Period!

And honestly, when you’re contemplating giving various gifts this holiday season, please keep this question in mind! Just because you find an amazing deal does not mean everyone on your list will want a brightly colored throw blanket, a humongous set of tea, a giant tin of popcorn, or various scented lotions/candles/soaps.

If you’re not sure the person has a use for it, go with a gift card instead!

2. Do I Have a Place to Store It?

Even if you have a use for something, find a really great deal on something, and really really really want something, if you have no place to store it, that item will continually sit out, be in the way, attract more clutter, etc. etc.

If you don’t have a place to store the item, you can either pass it up and move on, or you can purge something else to make room for it — 2 simple choices, but you should think through this and consider which option you’ll choose BEFORE you make any additional purchases.

3. Do I Want to Clean and/or Maintain It?

Anything and everything you bring into your home WILL require some sort of cleaning, maintenance, upkeep, etc. — often more than you think.

Remember that time Dave and I ALMOST got a “free” puppy? Yeah, THIS question right here is what stopped us from following through with that plan!

This question is also what stops me from buying various gifts for others — if the gift will require extensive maintenance or extra care from the user, I don’t want to burden someone else with that unless I’m 100% positive they want it.

4. Could I Better-Use My Money Somewhere Else?

I love using this question with my children in particular. They don’t fully grasp the concept yet, but talking about, and thinking through, the best ways to use their hard-earned money always gets the wheels turning in their brains!

They don’t always make the choices I would make, or the choices I want them to make, but it’s SUCH a good question to think through (children AND adults) whenever we’re buying something — especially big-ticket items.

I honestly catch myself doing this even on little purchase (like groceries). I’ll hem and haw over something that’s not on my list, thinking about the fact that I could buy _____ with my money instead.

Dave often jokes about anything in the $5 – $10 price range saying, “I could buy a meal at Culver’s instead of that!” — and you know how much that man loves his Culver’s!

5. Will I Still Want It In 24 Hours?

Online shopping has exponentially increased the ease of impulse shopping — we want it NOW, and thanks to our ever-present smart phones, we can usually have it NOW (or at least order it NOW and enjoy it soon with 2-day shipping!)

I love online shopping as much as anyone, but the saving power of waiting 24 hours is a VERY REAL THING!

If you want something, put it in your Amazon cart… and then close that browser window. Come back the next day (or in a couple days) to actually make the purchase… this is, IF you still want the item after waiting and thinking about it.

I do this all the time, and I’m always amazed how much easier it is to decline a purchase I really didn’t “need”, or a deal that really wasn’t as great as I initially thought it was, after waiting a day or so.

Oh, and all those one-day sales with high-pressure ads… they oftentimes aren’t THAT amazing of deals, but they sell out because of the time-sensitive pressure. People are afraid to miss out, so instead of waiting and thinking clearly, they jump on a purchase they might not really even want or need.

If you’re feeling pressured to “buy now” that’s usually a red flag to turn away.


I completely realize these 5 questions won’t apply to every single purchase you make… but they have proven VERY EFFECTIVE in my own life, preventing me from making many dumb, silly, needless, wasteful purchases over the years.

Just think how many Culver’s meals I could buy Dave with the money I’ve saved! 

What could YOU do with the money you save?


Filed under: LifeFrugal Living

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  1. Michelle



    I just wanted to let you know I (and maybe others) am having a lot of trouble with your site. When loading your page my computer goes to a white page with a warning stating there’s trouble with the site I am attempting to view. I had a hard time getting here to leave you a message.

    Hopefully the problem can be resolved easily so I can continue to enjoy reading your posts.



    Michelle Reply:

    This is the actual message I keep getting:

    This page is having a problem loading
    We tried to load this page for you a few times, but there is still a problem with this site. We know you have better things to do than to watch this page reload over and over again so try coming back to this page later.


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks for letting me know — that would explain why I haven’t gotten any comments or emails about today’s post yet!

    It’s loading just fine for me, but I’ll pass this information along to my tech people to see if they can spot an issue.

    Thanks again!